August 18, 2021 | News
With the increasing convergence of finance and technology (fintech), financial translations have never been in greater demand. Carving out a niche as a financial translator can be extremely lucrative, as well as help to ensure that you have a constant stream of work coming in.
Financial translations are required in all sectors, not just the traditional or emerging financial fields. All companies have accounting reports, balance sheets, and finance-based presentations whether they operate in real estate or retail. And many of them require specialist translators to ensure that these key documents are accurately interpreted by their global stakeholders.
The financial translation field is enormous and new opportunities are arising all the time. The types of documents that most often require financial translation are white papers and business plans, tax reports, such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) documents, cash flow statements, economic studies, and presentations, depending on your area of expertise.
Delivering flawless financial translations is not easy, however. Finance is a complex area that requires plenty of hard work and dedication to perfect. You’ll also need to build up a solid portfolio of work that creates trust in future clients and demonstrates your skills. If you think you want to explore this fascinating niche a little more, check out these top tips for providing flawless financial translations.
If you decide that you’re up for the challenge, be sure to find out about the skills you will need, as well as the areas that interest you the most. The new and growing field of cryptocurrencies, for example, where regulation is less extensive than in traditional finance, may not require specialist qualifications.
It will, however, require specialist knowledge. So if you want to offer translations in this industry, get ready to put in the work. If you’re going to be translating tax returns and accounting reports, you will need specific knowledge in these areas beyond just proficiency in the source and target languages.
Most financial translators will need to be Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and prospective clients may require proof of your certifications. After all, any errors in their reporting can lead to issues of credibility and even legislation. So, within this niche, if you want to provide flawless financial translations, you’ll need to really narrow your focus.
Providing financial translations also varies from country to country as different laws and requirements apply. Be sure to find out what guidelines (if any) you need to follow when it comes to translating key documents, such as tax reports, balance sheets, or regulatory papers.
You’ll also need to stay up to date with financial markets and any events that occur in your client’s sector. Also, familiarize yourself with the terminology or jargon used. For example, simple terms such as “cost,” “price,” and “value” may have different meanings in the financial sector.
While the financial sector has been relatively slow to move with the times (when compared to retail, energy, or transport, for example), innovation is coming. Large banks and investment funds are slowly beginning to embrace new technologies such as blockchain, AI, and IoT.
In fact, no matter what sector your client works in, your financial translations are likely to be influenced by technology, so an interest in this growing area is a huge plus. Even if you want to stick to tax returns, there are very different requirements for filing, say, cryptocurrency gains and they change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Keeping up with the latest technology will also help you manage your translation business as you can incorporate new CAT tools more easily, adapt to your client’s preferred format of delivery, and work faster and smarter as well.
As you build up your experience and portfolio of work, be sure to keep a translation glossary of all the terminology used in this niche. Financial translations will often require the same specific terms to be used over and over and having a glossary at hand will help. Moreover, you can keep track of any new buzzwords and concepts that you come across and be sure that you are up to date.
You might find that some English financial terms are so new that no standard translation word has been agreed upon in your target language. “Blockchain”, for example, is most usually referred to by the same term in Latin America. In Spain, however, it is not uncommon for people to translate it literally “cadena de bloques” (chain of blocks). In this case, it’s best to check with your client to keep consistency throughout your materials.
Adding these nuances and key information from different markets to your translation glossary will be vital to help keep your financial translations to a high quality. It will also help speed up future projects. Invest in a Translation Memory that can automatically suggest and insert words and terms from past to future projects for you. This will help you work faster and smarter while being able to command a higher rate.
When you’re not working on a client’s translations, spend some time reading up on industry news and updates from online sites such as Money or Forbes. There is also a wealth of free content available on platforms such as YouTube, Telegram, Reddit, TradingView, and many other social platforms that can help you perfect your knowledge and understand how professionals in the industry speak–and what the most salient issues are.
Of course, being able to name-drop can often help you win big contracts. However, be sure that you have permission from your client before you do this. Oftentimes, you will be working with highly sensitive data and you may not be able to disclose any details of the translation work you did. Breaking a confidentiality agreement will also break trust and may result in a penalty, so make sure you keep this in mind.
As important as confidentiality is respecting local laws and regulations. Be sure you know what is required from the receiving body, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States (SEC) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
Also, don’t forget that different countries have different formats for displaying numbers. In the US and UK, for example, a comma is used as a decimal separator whereas, in most European countries, they use periods. Getting this wrong could lead to major misunderstandings and even disastrous outcomes. Be sure to be meticulous.
Financial translation can be extremely rewarding and very flexible, giving you access to regular work and a wide variety of clients. But it is not something that you can provide without preparation, dedication, training, and continuing education. Are you ready for the challenge?