14 February 2023

How to translate a financial text

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Only a professional translator knows how to translate a financial text. This may sound like a haughty statement, but it is the fact of the matter.

Financial translation is no easy task. Relying on DIY, a native speaker acquaintance or Google Translate is not the right choice to protect your business.

A superficial or inaccurate translation of a financial text can have serious economic and legal repercussions. Choosing one term over another can misrepresent the meaning of a sentence and, consequently, influence the decisions resulting from consultation of the document.

For a flawless translation of a financial text, two requirements are needed: perfect knowledge of both the languages and specialized sector-specific terms.

Way2Global: your answer for translating a financial text. We have been supporting major industry players with our financial translations for over 30 years.
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Language proficiency

Language proficiency is an essential prerequisite for any kind of translation.

Naturally, translating a text as complex and sensitive, as a financial document requires a very high level of linguistic expertise. So how do we measure language proficiency levels?

The answer can be found in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, also known as the CEFR, which identifies six different levels of language proficiency:

  • A1 – Beginner;
  • A2 – Elementary;
  • B1 – Intermediate;
  • B2 – Intermediate/high;
  • C1 – Advanced;
  • C2 – Expert.

It goes without saying that you need to be an expert to translate a financial text and must therefore have the highest level of language proficiency.

It should also be noted that it is a well-established ethical norm in the translation world to only assign professional translators with translations into their native language. This means that a native Italian translator with a C2 level of English can only translate texts from English into Italian, and not vice versa.

This is a good practice aimed at ensuring the quality of the final result. Indeed, it is well known that people possess a far higher linguistic sensitivity, mastery and ability to express themselves in their native language than in other languages.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), it is not enough to have mastered a language in order to translate a financial text; you must also be able to transpose the source text in a way that makes it fluent, reliable, and perfectly understandable to end users. This result can only be achieved by a professional with extensive training and translation experience.

degree in translation provides the knowledge and techniques needed to work adequately with one or more languages, but it is only through experience that you can increase and consolidate your ability to expertly translate intentions conveyed by words.

At this point, we might consider whether these requirements are sufficient to translate a financial text. The answer is no, they are not sufficient. A financial translation also requires mastery of the specialized jargon used in the industry, a skill possessed by only a small pool of professionals.

The importance of sector-specific terms

Every specialized field is replete with industry terms that form part of a specific technical jargon used by insiders and often unknown to laypeople. The financial sector also has its own specialized vocabulary, so translating a financial document requires in-depth knowledge and familiarity with sector-specific terminology, principles, and accounting and tax regulations, first and foremost international standards such as the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

Translating a financial text therefore necessitates use of a specialized professional translator with training in the financial sector and proven experience in translating documents of this type. It is also essential that these professionals keep abreast of the latest developments in the field.

Financial texts are rife with concepts and technical terms that cannot always be transposed into another language in an immediate or unambiguous way. Since English is the quintessential language of finance, Anglicisms are often kept unchanged in translation because they do not yet have an official equivalent in other languages.

In other cases, periphrases may be used to express the same concept, however the choice varies in each case depending on a complex set of factors, including the presence of any space constraints.

All these considerations clearly demonstrate that translating a financial text is a delicate task that should not be left to chance. To avert risks, it is definitely safer to turn to professional translators.

Professional translators

Only professional translators know how to translate a financial text in the most appropriate and effective way for its intended purpose.

Indeed, professional translators possess all the characteristics to do the job proficiently:

  • C2 level in two or more working languages;
  • Degree in translation or similar;
  • Master’s or graduate courses in finance;
  • Field experience as financial translators.

Many of them have also had a previous career in the financial sector. For example, at Way2Global we work with translators who are former financial analysts and are therefore very familiar with the subject matter of the translations they produce.

Last but not least, it should be noted that while the training and experience of professional translators ensures high-quality financial translation, the use of the digital frontier tools made available by the language industry also cuts down on the time it takes to translate and deliver the final product. A perfect combination to meet the quality and urgency needs of financial operators.

At Way2Global we have everything it takes to provide a fast, high-quality financial translation service. We work with a team of native-speaker translators who specialize in the financial sector and meet all the above requirements. We use state-of-the-art technological tools and very efficient internal organization to rapidly produce financial translations responding to the urgent requests that often come from the financial world.

To learn more about our services or to request a quote, please fill out the contact form. We will be delighted to work with you.

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    Laura Gori is the Founder and CEO of Way2Global, a women-led translation agency startup with a Benefit ethos. After 30 years at the helm of a small multinational localization company, Laura decided to make a fresh start and founded Way2Global to conduct business in a way that benefits society and the environment, while promoting corporate growth. A fervent advocate of Benefit Corporations and women’s empowerment, Laura takes every opportunity to spread awareness on these issues and contribute to a fairer, more egalitarian and sustainable economy for all.
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