What can financial translation services bring to your business?
As globalization continues to make great strides, the financial sector increasingly resorts to premium translations in order to inform international stakeholders about the performance of their investment.
It is crucial for financial businesses to realize the importance of forming a close relationship with a specialized translator. This is especially true in the realm of businesses that operate in English and French-speaking countries. Here, financial translation services will be a real asset.
First, as a technical field, finance heavily relies on complex jargon and abstract frameworks which are only truly understood by specialized practitioners.
In addition, cultural and regulatory idiosyncrasies are highly notable and should be adequately accounted for when translating from English to French.
Translations that aren’t undertaken by professionals might allow the reader to get the gist of your message, but they will not precisely convey its originally intended meaning.
Distorted communication can have a devastating effect on your future viability if it diminishes your stakeholders’ trust and causes your operations to fall short of expectations.
Industry knowledge: a must for financial translation services
As you review your yearly balance sheet, you may wonder who else might be able to distinguish between accruals and realized profits or understand why prepayments are classified as liabilities.
Most people would agree that translating a document that appears completely unfamiliar is incredibly daunting and has the potential to generate significant mistakes.
An anecdote going around financial translating circles recently caught my attention: a financial company that had decided to delegate their balance sheet translation to an unspecialized translator was surprised to notice that “stock” had been erroneously translated into “shares” in French as opposed to “inventories”.
The truth is that such a discrediting mistake could be easily avoided if your translator had undertaken rigorous training, either academic or professional, in the financial sector.
A professional translator from French to English must also be aware of the guidelines regarding formatting, numbering, and terms in both countries. Indeed, most English-speaking countries follow the rules given by GAAP or IFRS whereas most French-speaking countries adhere to the Plan de Comptabilité General (ICG).
The reason that this matters is that certain English technical notions have no French counterpart, such as EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization). Therefore, a professional translator must undertake a contextual analysis in order to find the French equivalent; in this case, it could be BAIIA or EBT.
Also, from an editorial perspective, certain financial documents such as investor reports tend to obey different modes of expression as they cater to readerships with distinctive cultural expectations.
Ideally, to address all the above risks, you should rely on a professional translator who has had experience working and/or studying in both a French- and an English-speaking country.
“A cheap option can easily turn into an expensive mistake”
Here’s a short list of financial documents which often land on a financial translator’s desk:
- Key investor information documents (KIID)
- Investment fund reports
- Investor reports
- Balance sheets
- Income statements
- Financial reporting guidelines
- Bank documents
- Information memorandums
- Investigation papers
- Risk management and asset management documents
- Audit reports
All the above share one characteristic: they carry considerable weight in terms of their amount of information and the business stakes they entail. It is crucial to treat the translation of these documents with great caution to avoid the dramatic consequences that may ensue.
Low-quality French translations often result in a higher total cost for your operations as you inevitably end up calling upon a professional to clear up any mistakes. Additionally, severe delays may occur if your financial presentations (info memos) fail to accurately convey the shape of your projects. Finally, your company may suffer in the long run from a loss of reputation in French-speaking countries or incur lawsuits following the rejection of your proposals by the local regulatory bodies.
It is important for your translation partner to measure these risks appropriately. Oftentimes, specialized translators address these by employing advanced technologies to manage terminology accuracy and include post-translation checks and proofreading in their services.
Finding the ideal translation agency for a long-term relationship
Building a long-term relationship with your financial translator ensures that your firm’s preferences are known, therefore limiting the number of possible mischaracterizations of your identity as a business.
The longer you work alongside a translation agency the higher the quality of your French documents will ultimately become.
To determine whether your partner is suitable, consider its degree of financial specialization shown by the level of studies or the experience of its financial translators.
Also, make sure that your translation agency has a robust terminological base, and can adapt to your preferences if need be. Finally, make sure that the communication between your firm and your language services provider is clear and honest to avoid costly mistakes and ensure your stakeholders ultimately remain perfectly informed; this will only benefit your business in the long run.