The financial sector is one of the few industries that have players and customers from each and every country in the world. You will find insurance companies, banks, real estate agencies, tax authorities, stock exchange firms, among other financial entities everywhere you go. Some of these institutions are locally-based, while others are multinationals. For the latter, a financial translator is a critical aspect of a business because they have to avail their content in multiple languages to effectively communicate with their diverse target market.
Although English is the most common language in the world of business (financial transactions in most economies are done in English), customers tend to trust institutions that communicate to them in their mother tongue. The translation and localization of financial documents is also a requirement of international trade rules and regulations. Even for local financial institutions that only operate in the U.S. market, the law requires them to translate their content in favor of citizens that have limited English proficiency (LEP citizens).
Having established the relevance of financial translation, let’s focus on how to find a good translation agency that will provide you with outstanding language solutions. Please note that financial translation is more of a skilled art than a test of language proficiency. It involves the translation of both numerical and semantic terms, which requires financial expertise and impeccable linguistic ability. That is why a good financial translator specializes in advanced fields within the wider financial field such as banking, accounting, and tax. They have expert knowledge and experience in specific areas ranging from billing and invoicing to tax returns. Specialization helps them to reach the highest standards of quality.
Before trusting a financial translation company with your important documents, it is advisable that you pay close attention to its specialty, ability, and reputation. Here are 7 traits that set good financial translators apart from the general practitioners.
1. They have human translators specializing in specific financial documents
A good financial translation agency should have a team of specialist native linguists who know precisely how a given document ought to be translated. Document translation involves a range of texts including tax reports, auditor’s reports, income statements, market study reports, annual reports and balance sheets. Each of these has a unique and strict formatting and filing guidelines that can only be understood by experienced specialists. Such specialists understand not only the general jargon used in the financial sector, but precisely the language used in the documents they specialize in.
Specialist translators are subject-matter experts. They are professionals who, on top of having college degrees in the field of finance, they have hands-on experience working in top-notch financial institutions; preparing and handling documents similar to the ones they now translate. A former accountant, for example, is very unlikely to make a mistake when translating a balance sheet.
Note that the margin of error for financial institutions is zero, and one simple translation mistake can tint the credibility of an entire organization or precipitate legal issues and hefty penalties.
2. They have advanced technology for quality assurance checks
Financial documents have tons of numerical elements that range from currency formats, remuneration figures, dates, percentages, rates of payments, deductibles, you name it! It is essential that these elements be translated accurately and with strict conformity to all laws that govern the target market’s financial landscape.
Financial data can be too bulky and overwhelming for a human expert to check for consistency and correctness. For example, it is extremely hard for an editor to notice a calculation error that a translator made when converting the original currency format to the target market’s format. That is why a good financial translator must have a computer-assisted quality assurance system that checks all numerical elements after a document is translated.
3. They follow security and confidentiality best practices
Confidential project files and their translated versions must never be accessed by unauthorized parties. A reputable translator employs foolproof confidentiality measures to ensure that information such as employee and customer data is protected from third-party access. Such a translator will destroy any translation memories and bilingual glossaries after a given project is over, not unless the client requests them otherwise. That eliminates the chance of the data landing in the wrong hands.
Due to the increasing cases of data theft, cybersecurity best practices are also vital for a good financial translator. These practices include not using pirated software, using licensed and up-to-date antivirus software, as well as keeping computer OS updated at all times. Industry-leading translation companies actually invest in encrypted VPN and data security experts just to ensure that not a shred of confidential financial data leaks during the translation process.
4. They have impeccable language skills
In addition to numerical elements, financial documents also have written words that must be localized correctly and fluently. The translation service needs to have human translators who on top of having outstanding financial credentials are impeccably skilled in both the language used in the source document and the target language. A financial translator dealing with the translation of a market study report from English into French, for example, must have impeccable knowledge of the target language and culture to avoid any potential ambiguities or misunderstandings. Additional knowledge in the field of legal translation is also a given for qualified financial translators, and crucial for an accurate and informed rendition of your source documents.
Pro-tip: For best results, the translators need to be native speakers of the target language, with the original document’s language being their second language. Not the other way around.
5. They have an in-depth knowledge of the local financial environment
As we have already mentioned, financial translations must comply with local financial regulations, failure to which serious legal issues could ensue. Every jurisdiction has its own unique financial environment that sets it apart from other jurisdictions. In some Western European countries, for example, decimals are separated by a comma (e.g. 10,5 instead of 10.5) while in other places, such as Switzerland and the US, commas are used to separate the thousands (e.g. 1,000,000 for one million). A good translator understands these small but very relevant details.
6. They can handle urgent translation requests
A reliable translation agency has the capacity to extend beyond standard working hours whenever they get urgent translation requests. In most cases, the agency will have a pool of in-house and remote translators drawn from different time zones to ensure that their operations run smoothly for 24 hours.
If your work schedule demands that a translation be done from English into German within half the normal time, for example, your preferred agency should have qualified translators on standby to help expedite the translation process. On top of meeting your deadline, a good translator should also be able to save enough time for proofreading and quality assurance, no matter how tight the deadline is.
7. They keep up with emerging financial terms and trends
New financial jargon, concepts, tools, and innovations are introduced into the industry almost on a daily basis. This can be overwhelming for an unprepared, disorganized translator. Financial translators are supposed to be early tech adopters. They also make efforts to keep up with new trends. Professional linguists take regular refresher courses in order to remain at the top of their game.
Finding the right financial translation agency is arguably the hardest part of your localization plan. There are thousands of options out there, but only a few are legitimate. It is, therefore, important to take your time and to consider the 7 defining traits above before settling on a translator.
BeTranslated is a certified online translation agency specializing in financial and business translations. Looking for a professional M&A document translation into Thai? Need an annual report localized into Indonesian? Our specialized financial translators work in a wide variety of languages and our dedicated project managers are happy to tailor your translation project to your budget and timeframe, selecting the specialist linguist best suited to your needs. Get in touch today for a free quote!