Financial translation is a highly specialised undertaking that requires excellent language abilities and a well-rounded understanding of financial concepts and terms. It covers a number of different texts such as annual reports, balance sheets, tax statements, press releases and financial news items.
For many professionals within the sector, financial translation might seem like a relatively routine task: after all, financial reports often consist largely of numbers, and numbers don’t change much across languages.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that conventions vary greatly across languages and currencies, and seemingly insignificant details can cause massive confusion. In Spanish, for example, “1.000” means “one thousand” while in English, the exact same piece of text indicates the much, much smaller figure of “one point zero”. Failing to make these kinds of punctuation changes can cause uncertainty and result in readers doubting the veracity or trustworthiness of what they are reading.
ANNUAL REPORTS – NOT JUST NUMBERS
Beyond that, it’s not just the numbers that matter when it comes to translating documents such as financial statements. Annual reports are a reflection of your company – they tell the world who you are, and more importantly, how well you’re doing. Information about your company’s development therefore needs to be presented neatly and clearly, and the numbers need to be presented in their proper context. It’s important that your achievements are stated clearly and not buried under heaps of droll and clunky text.
Financial translators also need to possess an acute awareness of financial terminology and norms in both the source and target contexts. They need to be familiar with IFRS accounting standards and their common terminologies, as well as how these terminologies have been translated in the target context, and how they relate to local alternatives.
In Sweden, for example, the national supervisory authority Finansinspektionen puts out its own standards and takes decisions regarding how the international IFRS standards should be applied domestically. These decisions impact how translation should be approached and they need to be taken into account when producing texts for the Swedish market.
SMALL MISTAKES CAN CAUSE HUGE PROBLEMS
Finally, tone and nuance are also of grave importance, particularly when it comes to press releases and news items. The potential impact of mistakes in this area became all too clear back in 2005, when the mistranslation of an article by Chinese journalist Guan Xiangdong caused chaos on the markets. The original article presented its figures as speculation, but the tone of the English translation suggested that they represented concrete decisions taken by the Chinese government. The result was massive panic and disruption across the board.
In an area so vulnerable to speculation, misinformation and rumour, it is crucial that these kinds of mistakes are avoided, and that original nuance is preserved. That is why here at COMUNICA we use specialised mother-tongue translators who are highly skilled at conveying subtleties in the source text clearly and naturally in the target.
GLOSSARIES AND TMS SAVE TIME AND ENSURE CONSISTENCY
We use specialised computer-aided translation solutions in order to improve the quality of our work. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to the translation of annual reports, as it means we can recycle translations from previous editions, resulting in faster turnaround times and unparalleled accuracy. We can also incorporate your own glossaries and word lists into our tools in order to ensure that the translations we produce are consistent with existing documents on your website or elsewhere.
Give us a call today for more information about how we can help you.