Finance & Financial Translation: Tips for Market Expansion, Challenges + Costs

Money, financial documents, pen, calculator

Financial translation can help you overcome barriers to understanding and help you communicate effectively with potential customers, partners, and investors in other countries, while finance translation brings you closer to end-customers with marketing in mind.

Financial translation is the process of translating financial documents, such as financial statements, reports, and contracts, into another language. This can be a complex and challenging task, as financial documents often contain technical terminology and concepts that can be difficult to translate accurately.

On the other hand, finance translation is what we refer to when thinking about translating B2C content for brands like banks, insurers, lenders and so on – the goal here is about ensuring financial products are marketed correctly at multilingual scale – while abiding by regulations.

As these terms are often confused or used interchangeably, we’ll take a look both types of translation one by one and highlight key similarities and differences.

Why is Financial Translation Important?

Financial translation is especially important for businesses that want to expand responsibly into new markets and present their credentials in the right way.

By translating your financial documents into the language of the target market, you can ensure that your potential customers, regulators, partners, and investors understand your financial situation and can make informed decisions about your business. 

This is often a legal and fiduciary responsibility – and implications can be serious if documents are not correctly localised. 

At ICS, we specialise in highly regulated and highly competitive sectors and have been approached by all manner of companies where seemingly small errors in financial translations have caused major issues for companies, which our teams have been able to correct.

What Financial Documents are often Translated?

There are many different types of financial documents that may need to be translated, depending on your business. Some common examples include:

  • Financial statements: Translating balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements is key for transparency and robust decision-making in global firms.
  • Company reports: Annual reports, quarterly reports, and investor presentations can’t have major discrepancies between languages.
  • Regulatory filings: For example, SEC filings, financial disclosures, and tax returns – an incorrect phrase here and there can have big implications.

A study by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants found that financial errors in translated documents can cost US businesses up to $1 million per year – a sum that seems conservative.

Finance Translation in Focus

As an industry, finance continues to be defined by a mixture of innovation and tradition.

Banking, saving, mortgage, loan, fintech and investment products hitting the market at pace, while major institutions with hundreds of years of heritage still occupy top positions in the industry.

This mixture of modernity and heritage has implications for how finance brands promote their services nationally and internationally, and the role translation professionals will play in this growth.

With the global financial translation market is expected to reach $12.6 billion by 2025, linguists will be helping to shape localised product descriptions, app translation projects, international UX and more – to say nothing of advertising and PR campaigns.

If you are a business that operates in multiple countries, or if you are planning to expand into new markets, then you should consider using financial translation services that will be focused on communication, but also on building trust with new audiences. 

The goal is to engage customers, reduce risk, and expand your business in a safe and scalable way.

Challenges of Financial and Finance Translation

Intriguingly, financial translation and finance translation share some similar challenges:

  • Technical terminology: Financial documents often contain technical terminology that can be difficult to translate accurately.
  • Cultural differences: Different cultures have different financial practices and conventions, which can make it difficult to translate financial documents accurately.
  • Accuracy: Financial translation requires a high level of accuracy, as even small errors can have a significant impact on the meaning of the document.
  • Cost: Financial translation can be expensive, especially for complex documents.

How to Choose a Financial Translation Agency

When choosing a financial or finance translation service, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Sector experience: The company should have proven experience translating financial documents and capacity to deliver at scale without sacrificing quality.
  • Finance industry expertise: The company should have translators with expertise in the specific financial topics that you need translated. An understanding of user experience, cultural norms and digital channels is also helpful.
  • Translation accuracy: The company should have a documented track record of accuracy and easily explained workflows that showcase how scope for errors is minimised.
  • Translation cost: The cost of the service should be proportional to the importance of the project – going for a cheap translation agency when risks of fines/misfiring finance campaigns is so high would be a mistake. 

The cost of financial translation will vary depending on the complexity of the document, the length of the document, the target language, and the experience of the linguists and so on – but avoid ‘fatal half measures.

  • Customer service and translation account management: The company should have approachable customer service to handle questions and address problems. Once again, given the high stakes in the finance world, a responsive team of translators who understand the subject matter is key.

Benefits of using Translation Agencies with Regulated Industry Specialism

As you might imagine, at ICS-translate we feel that there are many benefits to using specialists in financial and finance translation services, with linguists who truly understand the importance of accuracy in such highly regulated sectors.

These benefits can include:

  • Increased accuracy and speed: Subject matter expert translators can help you to ensure that your financial documents are translated accurately, which can help to reduce the risk of financial errors. 

Getting translation right first time means you can hit your marketing, campaign, product release and reporting deadlines.

  • Effective communication: Subject matter specialists can speak your language in more than one way; understanding the sector means you don’t need to defined terms or explain industry norms as experts are already highly familiar with finance and financial terms.
  • Compliance and peace of mind: Industry expert translation helps you to ensure that your financial documents are compliant with the laws of the target market, and the finance products are marketed engagingly. 

This gives additional peace of mind, knowing that in addition to accurate translation, the content will actually be clear, persuasive and perform its function for target audiences.

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