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What are the Best Practices in Financial Translation?

What are the Best Practices in Financial Translation?
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Banking and finance are rapidly changing industries where new products, concepts and terminology are constantly introduced. The language used in this sector is complex and demanding, which makes the job of a financial translation agency challenging. Even the slightest mistake can have serious consequences for a company, so it’s vital that best practices are followed to ensure translations are carried out with complete precision. 

Here are some of the challenges facing financial translation and the best practices that should be used.

The Challenges of Financial Translation

Financial translation requires knowledge on both a macro and micro level: a wide ranging understanding of the industry as a whole and specific detail of the terminology of a particular subject or area. A good financial translator should have an awareness of the following:

Changes in Financial Terminology

Financial terminology is constantly being updated and many countries have jargon that is unique to their language. Some countries are behind others in terms of updating their financial dictionaries, which makes it hard for financial translators to find equivalent terms that are accurate. This is where in-depth knowledge of the finance sector is necessary because when equivalent terms are missing the translator will need to rely on their own expertise in the field to find the word or phrase that works.

Formatting Differences

Financial translators will deal with a wide range of documents covering areas including accountancy, insurance, property, investing, banking and taxes. The way various documents are formatted varies from country to country, so, for example, a VAT return in the UK will look very different to a VAT return in Spain. The translator needs extensive knowledge of the formatting requirements of each country and the language they specialise in to ensure their translations are accurate. They should also be experts in localisation, so that all dates, times and currencies are formatted correctly.

Best Practices in Financial Translation

Financial translation is a specialised discipline which requires translators to be subject matter experts as well as highly skilled linguists. The following best practices will help translators achieve excellent results for every client:

Background Knowledge and Experience of Finance

Financial translators should have extensive hands-on experience of the finance and banking industries. They should have studied or worked in the particular niche they will be translating for, and know the specific related financial terms, as well as have background knowledge of the wider world of finance. Financial translators must be adaptable to an ever changing industry and aware of changes in terminology. Even small mistakes can lose money or cause serious legal issues, as well as damaging the reputation of a company.

Expert Analysis of Key Documents

Financial document translation involves a wide range of texts including in depth financial websites, financial commentary, whitepapers, annual reports, KIID texts and much more. Each type of document has a unique and strict set of formatting and filing guidelines that must be fully understood by the translator. This understanding needs to be accompanied by a complete analysis of the document’s content before translation begins to ensure any potential issues are flagged ahead of time. For example, the translator may need to understand the wider context of the source document to accurately relay the information it contains, which would require additional research. 

Taking time to assess and properly understand a document helps to avoid delays, and more crucially errors, in the translation process.

Continuing Professional Development

The financial sector innovates and develops constantly and financial translators must keep up with the changes. Ideally, they should already have an academic qualification in finance or economics and should continue researching and studying to keep up with the latest trends and technology. This might look like attaining formal qualifications, completing short courses, on-the-job training or attending conferences, workshops and seminars. Not moving with the industry and keeping abreast of new terminology will lead to mistakes being made.

Confidentiality and Data Security

Financial translators invariably work with sensitive company data. All of the documents and information they have eyes on must be held securely, as any form of breach could create losses or lawsuits, and ruin the reputation of both the client and the translator. This is why it’s crucial to use a professional translation agency with fully vetted translators and insist non-disclosure agreements are attached to every job. 

A professional agency will have a solid reputation for confidentiality, and be happy to supply all necessary information to clients about how they secure workflows and safely store the data and information they are given. High data security should be on a par with expertise when choosing a financial translator.

Excellent Attention to Detail

All translation requires excellent attention to detail but, due to the complex nature of the information involved, financial translators need to go a step further. Information such as terms and conditions, dates, contact details, policy numbers and cash amounts must be completely correct. 

Not only must all the information be accurately translated from one language to another, but it must also be translated into the specific format that the country requires. A good translator understands that even the smallest detail is relevant, and neglecting to translate everything perfectly can cause problems.

Finding the right financial translation agency is crucial, so it’s important to know that the one you choose follows best practice. Employing the services of an experienced professional agency like Brightlines will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your business is in safe hands. We can provide your company with the high-quality financial translations you need.