Financial Translation: Why Localise?

Posted on 15. Dec, 2009 by in Blog

The market for translation and localisation services is expected to touch GBP 8 billion by the end of 2011, and the reasons are not hard to understand.

The accelerating trend towards globalisation in recent years has resulted in creating more work for those working in the area of finance: accountants, financial controllers, and CFO’s of companies with headquarters located elsewhere on the globe. Not only do they have to generate reports and analytical statements for their local managements, but also for their overseas principals. Accounting practices are quite far different in different regions and this kind of ‘double’ reporting requires a level of acumen and sensitivity that far exceeds the demands of doing business within the confines of a single country or region.

Financial documents

There is an array of financial documents that have to be translated when multi-national corporations from different language-regions engage in collaborative ventures: annual reports, business plans, financial statements, sales projections, fact sheets, audit reports, policy documents, shareholder communications, public offering prospectuses, fact sheets, and press releases are just a few samples of financial documents.

Regulatory requirements

Foreign companies dealing with U.S. organizations have to file their information with various U.S. regulatory organizations such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This would involve having to translate a number of forms with data and translating them to English – a task that can be effectively done only by a language service provider who is familiar with the industry and the regulations governing them.

Financial terminology

It is well known that in the world of finance, just as in any other sphere of activity – medical, engineering, information technology – the accounting methods and terminology varies with each country. The subject is complex and calls for a certain degree of familiarity with the terms in use. The following terms will clearly illustrate this:

societe anonyme (French): limited company, public company, public limited company
societe en commandite (French): limited partnership, public limited partnership, master limited partnership
societe a responsabilité limitée (French): private limited company, incorporated company, limited liability company, private company, private limited company, private sector company, public limited company

The usage of these terms again varies between American English and British English. It is clear, therefore, that translators entrusted with financial translations have to be very adept at their work.

Checklist for financial translation services:

A good provider of financial translation services should be mindful of these important requirements:

Financial translation service providers must be up to date with the current regulations relating to the financial services business.

They must hire translators having expertise in the financial services, with knowledge of the commonly used financial and legal terminology in the languages they are qualified in as translators.

They have to provide fast turnaround with accuracy, and be detail oriented. Some providers go the extra mile and even offer overnight and week-end services.

Financial translation professionals must adopt and uphold certain ethical standards that will enhance their own credibility and reputation.

Market expansion goes with responsibilities

With organizations increasingly veering towards global level operations, the market for language services is rapidly expanding. However, it becomes vital to identify a good service provider who is mindful of the high burden of responsibility that accompanies this task, and of the serious consequences that can result from faulty translation work rendered.

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