Financial translation: more than just numbers



Global businesses require financial translations

One of the main goals of financial translations is to create business relationships and bonds between different companies, and between these companies and their customers in every part of the world, to contribute towards successful operations, international expansion and increased profits.

Globalization has highlighted the need to translate documents in the area of finance. These days, multinationals are not the only ones needing to translate documents into various languages: it is pretty standard for a Portuguese or Spanish company to sell its products in places like Asia or Africa. In this context, bilingual marketing agreements and contracts must be provided, e.g., so that both parties understand what has been decided.

Financial translation is also essential for companies listed on the stock market. They must provide their annual financial reports in English to inform shareholders and stakeholders worldwide.

Mergers and acquisitions also require the translation of many documents. For instance, if a French company acquires a Portuguese start-up, all financial information for due diligence must be translated into French (financial reports, auditors’ assessments, performance analyses, records, insurance, contracts, etc.), together with documentation over the entire course of the acquisition process.


No margin for approximation

Financial translation has concepts and terminology which are highly unique, requiring specialized in-depth knowledge, where any errors may undermine a company’s business. Some of these errors include:

Misinterpretations of an idea or term: when unsure about how to interpret a concept or term, even a highly experienced translator should consult a colleague or specialist in the area. Many of us have already heard of mistranslations that have negatively impacted financial markets or the image of a company.

Misplaced punctuation: in English-speaking countries, a period is used for decimals, while a comma is used for thousands. All it takes is one misplaced number or comma for the risk of financial damages to occur.

Simplification of concepts: In finance, there are certain complex concepts that, if simplified or changed, may result in inaccuracies in the text or confusion among readers.

Disregard for cultural aspects: although this may seem a minor detail, it is essential to consider cultural nuances and subtleties, even in more technical documents. Did you know that, in Europe, the corporate balance sheet structure is usually backward compared to the United States? Suppose this order is not followed according to the target region. In that case, it will lead to confusion among readers, who will immediately know that they are reading an (unprofessional) translation of a document, with negative consequences for the image and reputation of the company in question.


A highly specialized form of communication

Financial translation is, in fact, fundamental these days. There are many challenges in creating and translating content in the area of finance, given the area’s complexity and the risks involved:

Terminology: the same financial term in the same language can have different meanings according to the country. Take, for example, the word “stocks”, which can mean “inventories” or “shares in a company”, depending on the region. The translator is responsible for choosing the right translation for a given term, according to the context, regulations and target region.

Consistency: translating a term in the same way throughout a document, and in all of a company’s communications, is essential to avoid any type of confusion on the part of readers and customers. Using a glossary and translation memory will help decisively so that the result is a consistent, accurate translation without room for different interpretations.

Confidentiality and security: this is another critical aspect that must be ensured within the scope of financial translation. Since sharing confidential information and data is an ever-growing concern, choosing a translation partner who offers this security is always a good strategy.

Regulations and financial standards: financial standards and rules vary considerably from country to country. For example, European Union member countries share harmonized legislation in the financial domain, which differs from legislation and standards in the United States. A good translation must reflect these differences. Furthermore, financial standards and rules are constantly being updated, making it truly important for the translator to understand the regulatory and normative framework in force. Suppose the translator does not keep in close tune with these updates. In that case, there is a risk of producing an inaccurate translation which may jeopardize certain financial operations or decisions at the company.

Deadlines: much like other areas (e.g. legal), the translation of financial documentation has deadlines that must be met without fail. Often, these deadlines are even more of a challenge because they are so short, bearing in mind the amount of text to be translated. Technology resources exist which can make all the difference: the use of previously created translation memories to guarantee consistent terminology and streamline the translation process (by suggesting previously translated terms); the use of translation software that allows the translator(s) and the reviewer to work almost simultaneously (with significant time savings); or even the use of neural machine translation engines with post-editing by a human translator (which can be an ideal solution for certain types of financial content, with high volumes and short deadlines).

Technology: these days, most companies in this sector have a strong technology component. FinTechs , Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have added several levels to the sector’s technology scope, forcing translation agencies to keep pace with these trends. When choosing a partner to translate your content, it is crucial to consider questions such as experience in the area, as well as integrations offered and even support for different document formats, to create a multilingual content management process that is agile, integrated and smooth.

Whether dealing with asset management, mergers and acquisitions, financial consulting, investments or financial marketing, be sure not to put your multilingual communication on the back burner. Translation can contribute directly to your company’s efficiency and profitability.


L10N has a team of translators, reviewers and copywriters who specialize in finance and a certified process to guarantee the utmost quality. With a range of supplementary solutions in more than 100 languages, we help your company communicate in all regions, channels and to all audiences in a relevant and precise manner. Contact us and make your business grow globally.

Related news

L10N Chat
I would like to know more about L10N's services
This site uses cookies to enhance your experience. When you continue to browse, you are accepting You are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience.