What To Know About Financial Document Translation - Speak Your Language | Australia

GET a Quote




Live Chat

What To Know About Financial Document Translation

Posted on: May 22, 2023 by admin

 What Is Financial Translation?

Financial translation is the process of converting financial documents from one language to another. It is commonly used for international business purposes. This can involve translating the balance sheets, shareholder summaries, expense reports, investment summaries, financial forecasts, statements, tax documents, financial reports and audit reports.

Common Errors In Financial Translations

Financial documents are unique in their format and content as they often contain industry-specific vocabulary. The most common errors seen in financial translations include:

Incorrect punctuation

Incorrect punctuation on most documents often leads to small misunderstandings however, errors in a financial document can have major consequences. As different languages use punctuation in different ways when it comes to conveying numbers, the translator must have incredible attention to detail when translating words and numbers. For example, in English 1,700 means one thousand seven hundred and 1.700 means one point seven. In French, 1,700 means one point seven and 1.700 means one thousand seven hundred. A mix-up between the way numbers are conveyed in the two languages can lead to very large issues.

Confusion between number scales

Different countries also use different scales to convey large numbers, so it’s important that the translator is familiar with the scales used by the original and target country in order to avoid numerical errors.

Formatting errors

Every country has its own way of formatting financial documents (e.g. balance sheets and bank statements) and correct formatting is essential to ensuring a financial document is clear and accurate. Errors in formatting can mean entire swathes of information are misinterpreted. The translator should be familiar with the formatting norms of both languages and the country in which the financial document will be presented.

Language mistakes

The language used in financial documents carries precise meanings, which can lead to serious issues if not properly translated. An incorrect translation of a column header on a tax document can lead to incorrect reporting. Financial terms can be extremely complicated and difficult to translate, so mistakes are not uncommon in financial translations.

Unclear briefs

Although specialised financial translators are usually highly skilled experts, they still require a clear brief to work with in order to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings. Your translator will need to have a clear brief and understanding of your requirements in order to ensure they translate and produce an appropriate document.


The Challenges of Translating Financial Documents

Translating financial documents can be uniquely challenging for two main reasons. Firstly, a small error in translation can have extremely serious financial implications and secondly, financial terms are particularly difficult to translate. It is common for each country to have its own unique financial terms and in some cases, a source document may use a term that has no direct translation. This can make translation challenging for financial translators as they would need to convey the term as accurately as possible.

An additional challenge associated with financial translation is the issue of data security. Financial documents are often highly confidential and it is imperative that the translator is trustworthy.


How To Improve Financial Documents Translation Accuracy?

When it comes to producing translations, accuracy is always important. Here are some ways to ensure that your financial documents are translated as accurately as possible.

Focus on providing a clear brief

While it may be tempting to simply hand over a document for a translator to “do their magic”, investing time in preparing a detailed brief can increase the quality and translation speed. Some ideas for creating a useful brief include:

  • Creating a glossary of terms with their accompanying definitions for the translator to refer to and use throughout the translation process
  • Outlining how you intend to use the translated document. (e.g. internal use only or intend to circulate the document)
  • Specify the file type and format you require
  • Add any background or clarifying information your translator may need to know in order to contextualise the document.

Engage a specialist

Financial translation is uniquely challenging and a good financial translator will need to be highly experienced in both languages and have a good understanding of the vocabulary used in the financial industry. One way to ensure you’re engaging the right person for the job is to go through an agency. A quality translation agency can pair you up with the right translator based on your needs.


Financial translation is a uniquely challenging process and any errors in a translated document can have serious ramifications for your business. This is why it’s always worthwhile using a qualified translator. If you are looking for a financial document translator, contact Speak Your Language today for a FREE quote.