1- Financial Translation Requires Background Knowledge: Financial translators should choose an area they know well either because they have studied or worked in that particular niche. A general diploma doesn’t help when having to handle specific financial terms.
Without background knowledge, the translator can’t understand a source document that includes complicated language and specific terms, rarely known by people who don’t work in the industry.
Financial translators should be subject matter experts (SMEs), with experience in the specific field the documents come from. For financial companies, translation mistakes don’t only ruin the credibility of the institution, but can also invite legal issues and penalties.
Even fully-trained economists end up focusing on a narrow niche, so they can lack up-to-date knowledge in a lot of other fields. A translator specializing in foreign trade, for example, may have hard times translating income statements and tax reports.
2- Translators Should Be Aware of Their Real Abilities: When hiring a financial translator, most companies make sure that the specialist knows precisely what types of documents he or she can translate. Some countries have specific rules about formatting and filing financial records, so translators shouldn’t sell skills that they can’t deliver. A financial translator who can’t tell for sure what he or she can translate and what is out of his or her reach is not a good fit for translating key documents, such as balance sheets, tax reports, regulatory papers, or auditor’s reports. Furthermore, financial translators should become familiar with the jargon used in the client’s sector, particularly when it comes to financial transactions. Price, cost, and value, for example, may seem like the same to most people, but they have entirely different meanings in the world of finance.
3- Formal Education in a Related Field Is Vital: Few industries have seen so much innovation as the financial system in the past 30 years. From financial services companies going global to implementing blockchain technology, the financial markets across the globe handle many new changes every day.
In this light, financial translators can’t keep up with their clients’ needs without continuous research. Language specialists who operate in this industry should continue to study economics or any other related field along with their careers. This will enrich their knowledge and improve their skills.
4- Keeping up with New Financial Terms: The financial industry goes hand in hand with technology and innovation, which leads to new financial instruments, and innovative concepts entering the market almost every day. This also means a lot of new buzz words to add to an already overwhelming glossary of specific terms and expressions.
Financial translators should try to keep up with the trends and learn as much as they can about the latest technology in their niche. Magazines like Forbes, Money, news websites, or trading apps are all excellent resources when looking to find our how world finance experts speak (both in the original and the target language).
5- Translation Memory (TM) Increases Translators’ Productivity: Many English financial terms are so new that they may not yet have an exact translation in other languages. Such words don’t show up in dictionaries and are hard to translate without a good knowledge of the local market.
A smart and cost-effective way to counter this challenge is a translation memory (Database that stores sentences, paragraphs or segments of text). This tool allows you to store all data from previous translation projects and reuse it for similar projects. Based on this data, a financial translator can identify the right terminology to describe financial products and services that haven’t yet received a local name.
When translators can rely on relevant data, they work better and provide consistent translations. They can speed up the translation process, without affecting the quality of the content.
6- Confidentiality Is as Valuable as Expertise: In financial translation, language experts often work with sensitive company data, such as details about products still not launched in the local market or clients’ financial information.
Confidentiality (NDA) or Non Disclosure Agreement is vital for keeping an impeccable reputation for professionals working in this industry.
7- Compliance with Local Regulations: Financial translations must be exact and precise. There’s no room for errors or interpretation in documents that can decide a person’s future or a brand’s compliance with local rules.
In financial documents, many details can change the entire sense of the translation, such as the number formats. In most European countries, for instance, commas are decimal separators, while in places like South Africa, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the point is the decimal separator and an apostrophe separates the thousands. A sharp eye for details and in-depth knowledge of the local financial environment can save translations from failure. Translators should maintain communication channels with their clients while translating to ensure that nothing is ambiguous.