Financial translation is a real challenge! The financial sector is constantly evolving and has undergone many upheavals in recent years. This is partly due to new emerging technologies; for example, fintechs and blockchain.
To better understand these two examples, here are some definitions for the aforementioned terms. Fintech refers to small companies that provide financial services through innovative solutions; this can relate to various fields: mobile payments, insurance and credit, online financial advice, etc. Blockchain, on the other hand, refers to technology that makes it easier to keep track of transactions; for example, it allows network users to validate financial transactions remotely without the intervention of third parties.
As it covers many different areas, financial translations can be extremely complex. Finance is a field made up of complex concepts and vocabulary, which continue to develop and evolve over time. Financial translations can include many things: financial reports, business-related documents, balance sheets, financial and stock market analyses, as well as many other procedures. In order to have the full capacity to understand documents that clients wish to have translated, financial translators must stay informed of developments related to the financial domain.
Financial translation is a very complex operation, since it requires translators to master certain techniques. Compared to the specificities related to the translation of other documents, financial translation encompasses particularities which are specific to the domain and which require translators to be professional in the field.
The need of specific skills for financial translation
Translators engaged in this type of work must have skills specific to the field of activity in which they wish to work in; However, in this case, simply knowing the language of finance is not enough.
In-depth skills in the financial domain are all the more important; it is absolutely essential for the translator to understand the documents they are about to translate.
The documents, as well as the content to be translated, are wide and varied: it includes activity reports, stock market analyses, bank files, audit reports, etc. Moreover, it should be noted that in addition to varied financial content, the themes addressed are just as varied, resulting in a highly complex task.
In addition to being experts in the financial field, translators should also be specialised in the topics covered by the documents to be translated. One of the glaring peculiarities of the finance domain is the language used. Finance has many multilingual elements, which require translators to be versatile in several languages. English terms are particularly common. As a result, it is necessary to know how to interpret and adapt them to the French financial system, which must be respected to ensure the translated document does not lose its coherence and spirit.
Thus, these multilingual elements may require translators either to adapt the source language to the target language or, if this is not possible, leave them untouched in the translated document. It is therefore absolutely essential that translators have a thorough knowledge of the financial lexical field as a whole, as well as its current contextual use.
Translators must also take into account the intended audience of the translated document. For example, the translation of a basic financial message intended for an individual and a professional will not be the same. This is due to the possible misunderstanding by one of them concerning one or several subjects relating to finance. The use and understanding of stock market terms will not be the same and translators must ensure that the translation intended for individuals is adapted.
Consequently, in order to offer the most relevant and accurate translations for the financial sector of the country for which they are translating, translators must perfectly master definitions as well as the application of financial terms. However, please note, that this very specific terminology may sometimes depend largely on current local legislation in the target country; it is impossible for translators to work around existing legal rules.
In addition, it is essential for translators to provide correct translations, especially when dealing with figures. For example, if we were considering a document from a French company showing figures in euros, the translator would need to think about transposing the currency to the destination country; in this instance, if the company wishes to establish itself in the United States for example, it would be necessary to convert these figures into dollars.
Very often, the writing of dates, figures, and numbers vary according to the language and the country. Translators must therefore take care to adapt translations to the country of their interlocutor so as not to create any misunderstandings. For example, when writing numbers, the separation of thousands differs between countries; the same applies to the writing of dates, which are often not written in the same way.
The need to stay constantly informed of developments in the field:
Any field of activity, whatever it might be, is constantly evolving and undergoing many changes. However, developments are sometimes slower or faster depending on the area or even one specificity to another.
For its part, the financial sector is evolving rapidly. Translators must therefore be constantly on the lookout to keep themselves informed and up to date with developments. Financial translation requires keeping up to date with economic and financial developments, but also legal developments.
Disinformation and failure to monitor developments in the financial markets can lead to completely erroneous and unusable translations. As a result, these can have significant and sometimes even irreversible consequences, causing the translated document to lose all legal value.
The need to respect strict rules of confidentiality:
Financial translation deals with a particularly sensitive domain and related specificities and translators must strictly respect any confidentiality regulations.
This is why it is not uncommon for translators working for translation agencies to be subject to confidentiality clauses or reinforced computer security.
The need to respect rigorous measures specific to financial translation:
Financial translation requires respecting rigorous measures from which it is not possible to deviate. In addition to complying strictly with the content to be translated, translators must take care to respect certain imposed standards of presentation and ergonomics. These will be dependent on the document to be translated.
As a result, editing and publishing tool skills are paramount; translators therefore need this to be part of their professional profile.
The need for financial translators to wear two hats:
In order to keep in line with the global requirements of document translation, financial translators need to wear two hats.
On the one hand, this entails understanding and knowing how to analyse the financial domain in order to carry out an error-free translation using discretion and discipline. On the other hand, it requires being able to master tools specific to the translation itself.
The diversity of documents to be translated:
The financial field is vast and encompasses a varied range of documents. Businesses, and even individuals, can often be faced with a need for financial translation in their daily lives. Whether the documents relate to the stock market, accounting, or banks, it is sometimes necessary and essential to call on a financial translator in order to be able to understand this demanding field. Many documents can be translated by financial translators:
Company annual / half-yearly reports;
- Financial notices;
- Balance sheets;
- Minutes from General Meetings;
- Articles of Association;
- K-bis (commercial registry) extracts;
- Notices to shareholders;
- Investment contracts;
- Accounting transfer documents; etc.
There are several viable solutions to obtain an accurate and compliant financial translation. First of all, it is obvious that the translation of financial documents should be entrusted to translators specialised in the finance domain. But they should also specialise in the precise theme to which the document to be translated refers.
Additionally, it is highly recommended to choose a native translator from the target country, that is to say the country for which the document is being translated. This obviously has several advantages: the translator will be translating into their mother tongue, which avoids many errors, but they also have considerable skills in terms of terminology. These skills are paramount for producing a translation that complies with the relevant legal and financial systems in force.
Finally, it may be wise to have your financial translation proofread by a third party who will be able to correct any translation errors that may have been made. Proofreading is therefore recommended before sending final work to the client