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  • Best practices for your next finance translation project

    You may not be aware of the myriad of requirements for financial documentation in your own country, let alone other jurisdictions. Yet how you present your company’s information can make the difference in your global success to tap into new markets. Localizing your materials with your target audience in mind is vital to building trust. Let’s go over some financial translation best practices to ensure you achieve your business objectives.

    Reviewing the latest standards

    According to PwC, companies must be “financially bilingual” to meet differing standards and reporting needs across borders. Directly comparing financial information prepared under different guidelines is challenging and can deter foreign investment. To effectively translate financial statements and other materials, you need to know how the latest rules vary.

    The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adopted by the European Union (EU) aren’t fully aligned with the United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Moreover, the EU’s endorsement process can also delay the latest IFRS being put into practice by several months. Before you begin translating, look into the current standards in your target market. 

    Fully catering to the local market

    Readers’ financial knowledge varies significantly across cultures and demographics. A study by the United Kingdom’s Post Office found that 7 out of 10 British adults are overwhelmed by financial jargon, and 44% feel confused when speaking to financial experts. Overcoming the additional barrier of a foreign language/culture involves carefully tailoring the source content to the new audience. Finance translations should cut through confusing concepts, including translating Anglicisms where appropriate. 

    The text could also require further changes to follow the target culture’s typical document structure and presentation rules. For example, under the US GAAP, current assets are listed before non-current assets in balance sheets, and reversals of inventory write-downs are prohibited. Native financial translators deliver your content in a way that’s familiar to locals and easy to understand. 

    Maintaining a style guide

    As you can see, finance translation involves much more than rendering numerical data in a new language. For consistent messaging across all channels, it’s best to draw up guidelines based on your research. This cost-effective measure answers many queries linguists have when translating financial documents. Defining how you address readers and localize financial elements (e.g., numerical formats, currency, order of information) saves time and prevents potential oversights. 

    Check out our guide to financial translations for more elements to consider.   

    Using technology only where it’s beneficial

    Since there are many tools and methods to boost productivity for your finance translations, you may feel inclined to automate as much as possible or even use artificial intelligence (AI). AI translation and machine translation (MT) tools return texts in seconds, unlike translating financial documents from scratch. However, it’s important to strike the right balance and use them to facilitate the overall localization process. Certain large language models (LLMs) and MT engines can only produce adequate results in a few languages. Consider whether the additional time for fact-checking, editing and maintaining consistency and quality makes it a worthwhile investment for your content. You should also think long-term. Any tech adopted must be agile enough to handle new requirements resulting from future industry developments. 

    A few questions to bear in mind with financial translations are:

    • How much preparation and maintenance are involved? 
    • Does it translate financial terms and concepts accurately? 
    • What checks are included to ensure quality? 
    • Can it save time when translating new documents, such as updates? 
    • How straightforward is it to replace old information and outdated terminology? 

    Whatever tools you incorporate, stick to an expert-led approach with linguists specialized in your field. 

    Considerations when choosing a financial translator

    Professional finance translators have unique skill sets to produce clear materials that meet local requirements and serve their purpose. As the field covers a wide scope of texts, finding those who are the right fit is key. Here are the factors behind successful finance translations: 

    Relevant experience

    Financial translators have acquired deep knowledge of the source and target cultures, plus a wealth of experience adapting similar content. Focus on looking for subject-matter experts who can handle the same text types in your domain or seek support for this crucial selection process. 

    Writing skills

    Something that is often overlooked is the need for exceptional command over the target language. While translating financial documents may not be as creative as adapting an advertising campaign, your translators shouldn’t forget about style. Communication must feel natural and accessible to readers. 

    Continuous training

    With constant changes in the sector, linguists have to maintain their skills through independent research, courses and other forms of CPD. They may also be qualified members of professional financial bodies, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. 

    An expert team

    Finance translation calls for collective effort, and it’s good practice to assign the translated materials to a second expert for review. Working with a dedicated project manager or language consultant helps pinpoint your strategy before you start your project and avoids common translation errors

    Find the right specialists for your financial translations

    Finance translation requires specialists and a localization strategy tailored specifically to this complex field. Attached has been translating financial content to the highest standards for over 20 years. We can pair you with expert translators, subtitlers and editors to assist your global expansion. Speak to us about your next project and receive a quote free of charge. 

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