Three Reasons Financial Translation Can Be Tricky

January 19, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

financial translationFirst of all, what is financial translation exactly? It is the translation of anything and everything related to banking, finances, and the economy. That being said, it encompasses a wide variety of topics and an even greater number of types of documents and reports. An experienced translator is a necessity when it comes to these kinds of translations, as even a highly trained translator could find themselves in a sea of unknowns if they don’t have any specific training in the area.

Machine translation is completely out of the question for financial documents, as they don’t take into account a huge number of things. The only people who should handle such projects are experienced financial translators, and even then, they will face some challenges. Here are just a few:

1. Financial terminology is always changing

Most financial terminology these days is in English, with many other languages lagging behind in adding equivalent terms to their dictionaries. A good example would be Russian, which simply lacks some of the newer financial terms we use all the time in English. That brings us to the issue of the ever-changing terminology used when discussing finances in English. If we can only barely stay on top of new financial terms in English, imagine what it must be like to try to figure out how to translate a brand new English financial term into a language where that term doesn’t exist. A lot of financial dictionaries are necessary for translators, as well as thinking up clever but understandable ways to explain a term if there is no word or phrase that could serve as its equivalent. In order to do all of this, one must be an extremely experienced financial translator.

2. Financial documents are formatted differently in different languages

This may seem like a rather mundane detail, but it makes a huge difference in the end. Each country, and maybe even each company within a country, has a different way of formatting certain documents. A pay stub in France may not look the same as one from England, and if you are dealing with translating said pay stub from French to English, you have to be familiar with where to find all of the important information on each pay stub. A translator working on a project involving these kinds of documents needs to have an intimate knowledge of how they are formatted in each language in order to deliver a final product that not only is in the target language, but makes sense to the client because the information is where they expect it to be

3. Currency exchange rates and economies can differ from country to country

Another factor that goes into financial translation is the little issue of currency exchange rates. As anyone with a bit of knowledge about world economies knows, these rates can fluctuate a great deal depending on the economic situations of the countries using the currency. This has to be factored in when translating, so that the final product doesn’t include amounts that are inaccurate according to the current exchange rate. A comprehensive knowledge of finance as well as translation is needed to get these kinds of projects done properly.

For an overview of our translation expertise, visit our financial translation page

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