Understanding Financial Translations

If you’re curious to learn about financial translation or require a document that you must translate, then you’ve come to the right spot. We’ll inform you about the issues that come with dealing with these kinds of translations, as well to highlight the most frequent errors. We’ll offer our opinion today: it’s advised to make use of financial translation services to ensure a correct financial translation. This can save your company many headaches. 

Defining financial translation

It is possible to say that there are four types of translation: literary, commercial, specialized, and certified. In the context of these classifications, financial translating is a specialization in the area of finance and economics. Finance translation is a specific field with concepts and vocabulary that require specific understanding. People often believe that business translation services also provide financial translation services. And that is true in most cases. 

The increasing significance of financial translation

The need for financial translators has been rising due to globalization. It’s also not restricted to big multinationals. Today, it’s normal for a Spanish SME (Small or Medium Enterprises) to market its goods in China, South Africa, or India. In this situation, it is important to create contracts that both parties can understand in their native languages.

Acquisitions and mergers are leading to a rise in the need for translations of financial information. For instance, if you are contemplating purchasing a competitor from the United States, it helps to have all the financial data translated into German for the proper choice.

The two examples above represent just a portion of the huge need for financial translation. Financial disclosures or institutional communications audit reports as well as insurance policies, contracts, or prospectuses to investors are a few of the numerous documents that require specialist translation.

The most significant challenges faced during financial translation

Mathematics is universal and since financial documents are made up of numbers, translating them ought to be a breeze should it not?

The reverse is the situation. Financial translation is, in a way, an art and requires the expertise of a specialist because there are numerous obstacles to be overcome.

  • The rules for financial reporting differ from country to country. For instance, in the European Union, legislators have uniformized accounting and financial regulations by implementing standards known as IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standard). However, these standards are utilized predominantly by large corporations and not often utilized by SMEs.
  • In the same way, a financial term could refer to something different in one nation and another in a different nation. In English, the word “stocks” may refer to stocks of components or goods as well as shares of the capital of the company per the geographical location of the individual.
  • Because translation gives some room for the use of a term or synonym in the language of the target, it is essential to ensure consistency in the terms employed. Otherwise, the user could be confused if they are incapable of distinguishing concepts between one and the other. The most effective solution is to work in conjunction with the same translator, or when this isn’t feasible then to make a terminological database ( Termbase) accessible.
  • Regulations are always changing and financial translators need to stay up-to-date so that they can provide the correct and exact financial translation.
  • Financial documents are usually extremely private. It’s not an issue with translations in and of itself, but it is highly recommended for the business to employ an interpreter who adheres to rules of confidentiality and adheres to the ethics of the business.

The most frequently-repeated errors in financial translations are:

  • Too much simplifying or wrongly interpreting a subtle nuance.
  • There are errors in numbers. 
  • The balance sheet does not take into account cultural factors. 

The characteristics of a great financial translation

  • The work is performed by an expert in finance who comprehends the concepts that he is translating. The financial industry is so huge that the translator is specialized in a particular area or type of document.
  • To make sure that the outcome is uniform, a different professional will examine your translation, especially for documents that are the most important. This is why it’s important to incorporate an editing phase during the process.
  • A good translator isn’t pretentious. If he needs to ask a question, he consults with his colleagues. A random decision might be correct, but it could also lead to an error in translation.


As you’ve probably guessed when dealing with numbers, it is important to pay attention to the details. A comma placed in the wrong place or even one more zero can alter everything. This is also true with financial language. A small variation in meaning could have a major impact on the business. Hence, do not make the mistake of translating financial documents on your own. Take assistance from a financial translation company.

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