February 21, 2024

Capital gain. Liabilities. Due diligence. How many of these words can you translate into a non-English language you speak? Not many, right? 

That’s the thing about financial concepts – they’re complex and often heavily regulated.

So, they must be appropriately localised into another language to maintain accuracy and meaning. 

However, many businesses overlook the importance of accurate financial localisation when expanding to new markets.

Fortunately, the assistance of a professional translation agency can help you avoid this problem. 

To better understand professional translations and the processes involved in producing translated documents, we spoke with an expert translator from TS24, the UK’s leading translation agency based in London, specialising in translation services and language interpreting. TS24 has kindly shared their expert insight with us.

So, let’s look at the errors companies make in financial localisation. We will follow these problems up with solutions, too. Let’s dive in. 

Common Errors in Financial Localisation and How to Avoid Them

In a CSA survey, 60% of respondents said they do not buy from English-only websites. Interestingly, financial and automotive services are the two industries where consumers are least likely to buy from an English-only site. 

The figure should be enough to prove the positive impact of localisation on sales and revenue generation. But you can’t expect to see impressive results if you make the following mistakes. 

  1. Translating Ambiguously

Ford, the American car company, started a campaign called “Every Car Has a High-Quality Body.” The executives thought it would be great to expand to the Belgian market and translate the slogan into Dutch. 

However, the translation ended up being ambiguous, saying, “Every Car Has a High-Quality Corpse.” You wouldn’t want to buy a car from a company that uses such terminology, would you? The Dutch consumers thought the same. 

Translating financial terminology and concepts often results in similar ambiguity, especially when the language has a different grammar structure and cultural background. 

Let’s say you want to localise a business plan for your South African investors. Even a single ambiguous term can make the whole section incomprehensible. Similarly, not accounting for the context could result in the business plan coming across as opposite or different from the way it was intended.

How to Avoid?

The best way to avoid ambiguity in financial localisation is to hire a financial translation service agency. Localisation is a lot more than mere translation. It also involves proofreading and validating the content.

Moreover, financial localisation requires the translator to have a thorough understanding of financial jargon. A financial translation service agency will have finance experts who speak the language natively to ensure accurate localisation. 

  • Making Punctuation Errors

Grammar experts have pointed out 11 punctuation mistakes that irritate people the most. Now, imagine making these errors in financial reports and documents. That’s nothing less than a corporate nightmare. 

You cannot afford to make even the slightest punctuation error when localising financial documents to your clients’, investors’, or customers’ language. 

Suppose you’re submitting a pitch for your European investors. Many European countries use a comma to separate the decimal part from the integral part. For example, 5 euros and 20 cents are written as 5,20. In English-speaking countries, a decimal point is used. So, the figure would be written as 5.20. 

You have to account for this difference when you submit your pitch. After all, you want the investor to see you’ve catered to their preferences. 

The same applies to customers, too. They judge your credibility by how you showcase financial information on your marketing material or website. 

How to Avoid?

Again, a financial translation service comes in handy in this case. Finance professionals are familiar with the nuances and cultural differences of different countries. 

They know which punctuation mark to use in a particular document and how to phrase financial terms in the target language. 

  • Ignoring Regional Regulations

Translation of financial documents also comes with some legal implications. For example, UAE’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act requires financial reports to follow specific rules and formats. 

Failure to comply with these guidelines can cause sour relations with your UAE clients or even legal trouble for your business in the country. 

How to Avoid?

You might think a native speaker is a solution for your financial localisation woes. While they may speak the conversational language, they won’t know the intricacies of financial jargon and compliance regulations surrounding the finance sector. 

However, a financial translation service expert would be up to the mark in this regard. You can count on their experts to translate a financial document according to the target country’s laws. 

  • Getting Formatting Wrong

Most financial templates companies develop or find online are designed for English. They follow the English left-to-right writing style and have spacing options based on the average length of English words. 

When you translate these documents into another language, they might not fit the page correctly. The content may also have to be written right-to-left. 

A common mistake many companies use is simply translating the English document into another language without formatting changes. 

How to Avoid?

It helps to work with a financial translation service provider with professionals who can offer insight into proper localisation. You may also need a web developer in the picture. They could design a new template for your documents. 

For example, French and Spanish texts are about 1/5 to 1/4 times longer than their English translation. On the other hand, Hebrew takes up 1/3 times less space than English. The web developer can size the sections or boxes in the template accordingly. 

Suppose the content is for an online platform. In that case, the web developer can design a plugin or code that automatically adjusts according to the target language’s direction, spacing, layout, and fonts for a smoother experience. 

Whether you’re translating your fintech website to a new language or want to translate a financial document for international clients, proper localisation is vital. Mistakes like ambiguous translations, poor formatting, and not considering cultural differences can cause reputational and financial loss for your company. 

Being diligent and attentive in your translations can help avoid these mistakes. How do you do this? By hiring a professional financial translation service provider. 

You can work with these professionals to ensure your financial documents accurately reflect the source language and cater to the readers’ cultural backgrounds. 

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