Financial Translation: The Language of Money

Table of Contents

Translation services are essential for organisations across business domains, irrespective of their product and service offerings. If you want your financial product/services company to have a thriving global footprint, you must localise for the target market, which means you must translate your business messaging and information into the language spoken by the local population (your audience, employees, and customers).

Markets Divided by Languages

The global financial market is huge and growing fast, with banks and financial services companies trying to get a foothold in newer markets to explore more lucrative growth options. It is the inherent profitability of the finance market that makes it an attractive option for investment. Furthermore, companies who have set up offices in countries other than their home ground need to standardise their processes and systems to achieve a degree of consistency across their offices located around the world. At the same time, they must meet all the rules and regulations of their local markets, making language translation and localisation crucial to achieving global success.

In a political and economic union like the EU, there are 28 member states and 24 official languages. Think of a Dutch financial services company, opening an office in Bulgaria. The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian, and the company must ensure all the information regarding its products/services is available in Bulgarian. But, that’s not all; it is imperative that all internal communication and messaging also happen in the local language.

Now, it is common knowledge that English is the global language of business, and by association, finance as well. However, the world of finance cannot get along purely in English. For example, a massive 60% of Spaniards cannot read, write or speak English.  You will find such language issues across the EU and the world. So a UK based financial services company will have to work with a Spanish translation service provider, to conduct business in Spain.

Meeting Data Compliance Needs

In many cases, translation is also necessary to meet the rules, regulations and compliance requirements of a specific country or region. Take, for example, the case of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Without going into the regulation’s details, it is essential to understand that as a part of the GDPR compliance process, a global financial business with a presence in EU will be required to make a wide variety of critical financial documentation available in the local languages of the EU.

While GDPR will be enforced across the EU, there might be other country-specific policies that will make financial document translation mandatory for financial companies.

Considering the challenges of financial translations and the fact that even one mistranslated word or phrase can result in catastrophic consequences for your business, it’s recommended you work with only the most reputed translation provider. You just can’t take a chance!

Here are a few aspects you must take note of before you partner with a translation company for your financial translation needs:

Proficiency in Understanding Financial Documentation

Compared to other industries, financial documents can be a demanding read because of the complex terms and the use of numbers and calculations. Therefore, a translator should have a rare interest in pursuing all types of financial documentation like financial statements, end of year reports, tax documentation, income statements, insurance reports, and many others. There is a reason we have used the word ‘interest’ here because it is easy to get bored of poring through seemingly endless financial jargon shouting at you from each and every financial document. If translators get bored or tired of going through that material, it can result in significant translation errors.

Expertise (not awareness) of the Financial Domain

A good translator always wears two hats. The person should be a language expert and also a domain expert. So, when it comes to financial translations, the translator must have subject matter expertise in specific financial domains. This is important because the meaning of financial terms, even something as simple as a ‘comma’ between numbers, may vary from one country to another, and it is necessary to get the nuances right every single time. So, if the translation project involves the translation of taxation documents, the translator put to work must have expertise in taxation of both countries – the country in whose language the original document exists and the country in whose language the document is translated.

An experienced translation services provider should also be aware of various regulations such as the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and their standardised Financial Reporting Standards, commonly known as IFRS.

Certified Linguists with Impeccable Language Qualifications

The best translation provider would have a team of only the best language translators whose language qualifications will be on par with international standards. The linguists working on your translations project should have an in-depth understanding of the original language as well as the language in which the translation is required. It’s not just about language; it’s also about understanding how the local population speaks the language, its cultural nuances and having a fantastic handle on language grammar.

Work with a translation provider, that offers to do a small translation task free of cost, for you to gauge their expertise in a particular language and business domain.

Proven Experience in Financial Translations

Look at the clientele. Work with only those translation service providers who have a proven track record of successfully delivering translation projects for varied clients across the business spectrum. You can also ask for some references; a reputed translation firm will have no problem in providing client references.


Would the translation service provider be able to scale services to meet the growing needs of your business? It doesn’t make sense to work with a company that can handle a limited amount of projects and cannot keep pace with the growing translation demands of your business. Instead, work with a translation company with a strong team of translators who can work on projects of any size and have a habit of delivering them on time.

Offering Varied Financial Translation Services

Your chosen translation service provider must provide a gamut of financial translation services that includes translating:

Endnote: Be Cautious

Take your time while choosing a translations provider for your financial business. Look around, evaluate all your options, check which provider offers services within your budget and only then make your choice. Remember, a mistake here can have long-term costs for your business.

Mahi Baid

Mahi Baid

Mahi Baid is the former Senior Growth Manager at Translate By Humans. She is also a seasoned project manager, very well versed with every stage of our service cycle, and an expert when it comes to the Financial Translation Industry. Mahi is an advocate of healthy, organic living. She is a trained chef and can make an absolutely unforgettable Thai curry!
Mahi Baid

Mahi Baid

Mahi Baid is the former Senior Growth Manager at Translate By Humans. She is also a seasoned project manager, very well versed with every stage of our service cycle, and an expert when it comes to the Financial Translation Industry. Mahi is an advocate of healthy, organic living. She is a trained chef and can make an absolutely unforgettable Thai curry!

comment-text Leave a Comment