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Why Financial Translation Is About More Than Just Numbers

There’s no denying that the world’s economies are becoming increasingly reliant on international customers, which is easier than ever thanks to digital innovations. And while that is good news, it also means that more money is being transferred around the world, making each country’s financial workings even more integrated. Having the right financial translation service for this is crucial to ensuring the right deals are formed between businesses and countries, and making sure that no one misses out.

Finance is an international business

The financial industry is inherently international, requiring fluid communication between world banks in order to keep the global economy as stable as possible. Core elements of the banking industry are now being set up in India, thanks to a skilled local workforce handling elements like statistics, data management, and cloud-based operations. The country is starting to make a name for itself as a hub of international banking, with Goldman Sachs investing more than $250 million in its new Bengaluru office, which opened in May 2019. With global financial corporations choosing to set up shop in India—or, indeed, anywhere in the world—being able to effectively communicate with international branches, banks, and businesses is crucial.

There are different types of financial translation

Having the right type of translation service is important. Financial translators should understand the industry inside out, and be aware of new developments in the sector, as well as being fluent in the target language. This includes an understanding of cultural differences within the target audience, and any ongoing changes in law and practices. Securing the right translator also depends on the nature of your business—banks or insurance.

Translation for banks, for example, would need to be able to target local markets around the world, whether this is for promotional material or localising websites. However, insurance translation requires knowledge of the insurance industry, as well as the laws relating to insurance in each target country. For example, a business offering car insurance will need to specify whether the policy covers driving abroad as well as the various laws in the covered country. Many global companies also rely on insurance to protect them against data breaches and fraudulent activity. Dedicated translators understand legal requirements in each country, allowing them to understand any technical jargon and offer the appropriate translation.

Financial translation mistakes can be costly

Any mistakes in financial translation can cause huge damages to businesses, and even the wider global economy, so it’s critical that the right type of translation is used by a skilled translator. History is littered with examples of where inaccurate translations have caused huge costs. For example, when HSBC—known as “The World’s Private Bank”—launched its “Assume Nothing” campaign in 2009, it failed to check the translations properly. Instead, non-English speaking countries launched the campaign with the translation as “Do Nothing”, a mistake that took $10 million to eventually solve.

Furthermore, the differences in punctuation should be considered between languages. For example, in English, 1,500 means “one thousand and five hundred”, while in German and French, it translates to a number one thousand times smaller. Having the right translation service is crucial to ensuring minimal mistakes, which could save businesses thousands.

Get in touch with our team of expert linguists for completely accurate financial translations, available in over 150 languages.

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