Financial Translation Techniques

By Chiara Grassilli
In Financial Translation
Aug 17th, 2015

Financial Translation Techniques

Due to the phenomenon of globalization, companies and banks have headquarters and offices all over the world. Being characterized by bureaucracy, the institutions need to translate their documents in numerous languages.

Although most of the meetings and conferences in this case take place in in English, there are cases where translation and interpretation are needed. What we observe is that even in the financial sector, where numbers are the main actors, translation plays an important role.

Like in the other fields, there are some specific rules and techniques that translators use in order to successfully deliver their services to banks or different types of companies. This article will remind some of these tips that could be extremely useful for those who are aiming at this type of career.

Financial Translation Techniques

Financial Background Knowledge

In the case of international banks, it is obvious that they will need to deal with the target countries specific set of rules, which mean that they will need plenty of legal paperwork translated accurately. But what they mostly require from translation companies is to have marketing materials and legal documents translated for the diverse local population.

This means that the translator must have a bit of experience in the financial sector in order to understand the original document. Of course this might be written in complicated terms, which are unsuitable for the masses. The difficult task of the translator in this case is to adapt the language to all types of people in order to make sure they understand exactly what the bank proposes.

This is very tricky because mistakes can diminish the credibility of a certain bank.  Translators must pay attention to details like numbers and small words that in the banking sector could make a huge difference. Take the example of a leaflet that explains the conditions required for obtaining a loan. It’s easy to imagine why a zero could mislead people and give the impression they are dealing with an unserious institution.

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Analysis of the document

The first difficulty in the sector of finance is the terminology and usually translators must have a background in this particular field in order to be hired. If we think about financial translators techniques the first thing to do when translating a financial document is to understand it properly and to be aware of the issues surrounding it. Often, you need to place the subject into a context that started somewhere in the past, so you must do some research. This is not the case all the time, but in international banks and companies, you will usually come across this type of situations.

After understanding very well the document, it is advisable to locate its ambiguities and try to understand them. It is important not to leave this at the end, as it may cause delays, which are not appreciated by those who pay you to do the job. If you don’t manage to find relevant information about what confuses you, it is absolutely necessary to contact your boss and discuss with him in order to obtain clarifications on the matter. Afterwards, you can go on with your work, which will be delivered on time because you tacked with the issue in advance.


Avoid mistakes

The institution that nowadays needs the highest number of financial translator is the European Central Bank. With no less than 18 countries in the Eurozone, it is easy to imagine how high the request for translation and interpretation is. Although English is the official language in this institution, many countries prefer to keep their own language for documents and conferences for reasons of mistrust.

This decision was based on legal advice and a desire to be certain that terms and concepts were being used correctly. This decision also meant that any potential errors in translation would be the country’s bank responsibility. The tip for the translators that aim to work at this high level is simple: no mistakes are allowed! This type of job requires perfection in terms of work. Extended knowledge in international finance and banking, organisational skills and attention to details are vital for a translator that wants to survive in an elitist environment. Of course, the remuneration and the prestige are also high, so it worth it. The same techniques apply when you’re a translator for the World Bank or the United Nations Federal Credit Unions, two other organisations that require services in financial translation.

Financial Translation

Attention to details

For international companies, the same rules apply, because we are usually talking about important brands that have headquarters all over the world. Take the example of a Chinese company that has headquarters in France. As an extremely bureaucratic country, France will require a lot of paperwork, which eventually will need translation. In this case as well, the lack of attention to details or a misunderstanding can cause confusions among the members of the company. The translator will have to be very professional and check his work carefully before submitting it. In this case as well, the pay check will be high, so the work must be done perfectly.

In conclusion, the most important translation techniques in the financial industry are the background knowledge, the attention to details and the ability to be organised. Communication with your employer is also important in certain cases such as ambiguities of the language.  The work of a translator in this sector is really difficult, but it is one of the fields that give you the certainty that the long hours of work will be paid off.

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About "" Has 117 Posts

Since an early age I have been passionate about languages. I hold a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting, and I have worked as a freelance translator for several years. I specialize in Marketing, Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media. I love blogging and I also run the blog

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