Overcoming the Challenges of Financial Translation

Overcoming the Challenges of Financial Translation

Translated text must be precise and accurate, and this is even more so for financial translation. This is because even a minor mistake can lead to major problems. As such, financial translation requires much expertise and experience.

Financial documents that usually require translation include:

  • Balance sheets
  • Budgets
  • Income statements
  • Contracts
  • Tax returns
  • Bank records
  • Insurance documents
  • Bank guarantees
  • Annual reports
  • Cash flow statements

If you are looking for a translator, look for a subject matter expert and do not entrust your financial translation to someone who only handles standard translation work. The key aspects of financial translation that require professional handling are as follows.

Financial Translation

Translate correctly

Precision and accuracy are very important in financial translation. Financial translators must not only be careful about the choice of words but also handle numerical figures with care. The use of financial punctuations differs from country to country. For instance, a comma is used as a separator in American English, as in 1,500. In some parts of Europe however, 1,500 could be read as 1.5. In the United States, it is common to use “one billion”. In the United Kingdom, however, it is usually termed as “1,000 million”. As such, the translator must pay close attention to detail. Any mistakes can have a huge impact on the translation of the financial document. Badly translated articles may even send the stock market diving. Be aware of the potential risks that translation mistakes make.

Financial Translation


Financial documents need to be kept confidential and secure since they can reveal the financial health of a company. As such, handing them over to a third party does pose a risk. Professional language services providers usually require their translators to sign non-disclosure contracts. If translation memory tools are used, the service provider must ensure that the confidential files cannot be accessed by external parties. This is to provide clients the assurance that their confidential financial information will not be fraudulently used, tampered with or leaked. It is thus important that you look for a translator who is professional, responsible and trustworthy.

Financial Translation

Financial concepts and terms

Financial concepts and terms vary from country to country. Besides different financial guidelines for formatting and numbering, the translator has to use the right terminology for the right target audience and target language. For instance, ‘common stock’ in the United States is termed ‘called-up share capital’ in the United Kingdom. The ‘share of stock’ is called ‘action’ in France, while ‘capital’ is termed ‘share capital’ in Russia. It is thus not ideal to directly translate the financial terminology used.

Financial Translation

Compliance with local regulations

If your company wishes to collaborate with partners in another country, your financial documents must meet certain regulatory compliances as set out by that country. For example, if you wish to establish a branch in the United Kingdom, you must submit financial statements that comply with local regulations.

The rules and regulations governing the financial sector therefore vary from country to country. As such, financial translators must be familiar with the intricacies of local rules and regulations of both the source and target countries and be aware of nuances that could affect the accurate translation of a financial document. For instance, some disclaimers or clauses are only applicable in some countries. This may further complicate translation.

Financial Translation

Engage an experienced financial translator

While there are several challenges involved in financial translation, the combination of the right skills and experience can ensure a successful outcome. A good language services provider will recognise that turnaround is vital in the financial industry since translations must be completed quickly to ensure that deals can be efficiently clinched. However, this doesn’t mean that quality can be overlooked, since misunderstandings can lead to drastic problems. Besides strong dexterity of the target languages, a skilled translator must also be familiar with the nuances and technicalities of financial translation to allow for seamless business expansion across borders.

elionetwork is a certified translation company, we provide 2-step quality assurance process that ensures all insurance documents are checked twice

At elionetwork, we deliver high-quality, accurate financial translations and handle your documents with the utmost confidentiality and privacy. To find out more about the process and requirements of financial translation, reach out to us as early as possible so that we can build a custom workflow for your financial translation project.