This is a guest post by Amanda Lee.

The translation is an easy way of delivering the required information, let it be for B2B or B2C. Some categories are easier to translate in target languages, like travel documents. But what about financial translation? It is not easy to translate the financial information as compared to the popular belief. After all, numbers and mathematical concepts are universal languages, but international financial practices vary from one country to another.

To meet the required standard for financial translation, you need to be an expert in the regarded domain. The reason is simple; terms and expressions vary, which makes the translation otherwise incompetent.

Financial translation does not revolve around the numbers only.

Take a look at mathematics; you will notice a stark difference in words and units, the underlying principles and concepts. Despite their similarities, businesses tend to use financial information differently from one another. Especially if you need a translation from English to Chinese or French to Spanish, the terms and values may show a lot of variation.

Language changes the meanings and information. So translation cannot be literal; information will variate from source to target language. This is just one of the many challenges translators face during a financial translation. Down below are some of the severe challenges translators usually face.

1. Variety of resource materials

During a business deal, what sort of information is shared? It is common practice to share your accounting books with the respective partner company. It also includes invoices, price sheets, income statements, business plans, etc.

To translate such documents correctly, a translator must have strong knowledge and the necessary core skill to translate the documents. The translator needs a good grasp over the language to translate the information in a suitable format. For instance, if they put the number in the wrong columns, the document’s accuracy will be compromised.

Just because you have completed a few financial projects in the past doesn’t make you an expert in financial translation. Every financial domain is different, especially with the language counting as a significant factor.

2. Financial terms, concepts, and units

Financial guidelines differ not only because of language differences but also due to differences in formatting and numbering. The translator needs to use the financial terminology that can be best explained in the target language. For instance, the word “common stock” is a financial term in the U.S, but in the UK, the term “Called-Up Share Capital” is commonly used.

Likewise, there are similar terms that vary a lot. Financial business documents can cause confusion in such terminologies. Basic fluency will not be enough to complete the task responsibly. The use of equivalent terms for financial documents must not vary either. Focus on the precision of the document that will assist in the translation accuracy.

3. Potential for severe errors

The burden to translate the financial documents is high as compared to other niches. The severity of mistakes in financial translation can raise several questions that can cause the loss of the client’s business.

Even a wrongfully added decimal point can increase or decrease the value of the amount, which leads to the severity of the mistake. Even if it doesn’t cause any severe error in the document, it can easily lead to confusion, defeating the purpose of financial translation.

Decimal misplacement is one of the most common mistakes that a translator can make in a financial document, so it’s necessary to proofread it during the translation. The same goes for the imperial and metric units. The conversion of centimeters into feet and inches and so on must be carefully translated to avoid any deep confusion.

4. Time constraints

Translators at most times are asked to translate financial documents at the eleventh hour. It may be doable, depending on the nature of the document. However, financial documents must be delivered promptly. When a financial document is translated, the thick volume of information can take longer than the original estimation.

Therefore, if a translator is quick and efficient in his work, he can complete the translation speedily. At most times, translation tools come handy to speed up the translation process. Usually, a financial translator is burdened even with a single project. The lengthy soft copies are eye-wearying, and sifting through the information takes a lot of time.

5. Financial confidentiality

How important is a financial document? It’s the bare soul of a business. Familiarizing yourself with the financial documents becomes necessary because you need to ensure speed, accuracy, and efficiency in translation.

So this makes security an additional responsibility. Before a financial document is handed over for translation, the translation agency must strictly adhere to the service-level agreements (SLAs) or other sorts of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). It’s important to sign these documents to assure the clients that sensitive information is being handled carefully.

Imagine if the financial translation reveals some misused information? This would create a lot of trouble, or it could happen that the translation agency otherwise could be blamed as a culprit. So to avoid any unnecessary blame, documents need to be handled carefully.

6. Market culture

Financial rules and regulations are complicated because of their intricate nature. In each country, the standard financial format is different. This makes translation trickier. Linguists should be aware that financial terms and formats can also be different region wise within the same country. So you don’t want to run into any legal complications.

Such differences become more prominent when one regulation is legal in a market turns out to be in commissionable in the other. For instance, in China, Bitcoin is banned. So does that mean you won’t be able to provide the Chinese translation? Some countries deal with different aspects. So as per market requirement, the requirement of financial translation keeps changing.


Translation fails can lead to the failure of the translation agency. Therefore, translators need to work with higher efficiency to interpret the document correctly. Overcoming these challenges is possible with the help of machine translation. Consequently, the right practice matters a lot.

Amanda Lee is an enthusiastic and self-reliant creative writer at marstranslation. Her passion for writing and effective communication skills add to her credibility as a writer. In addition to writing for multiple foreign corporations, she enjoys writing poems on current social issues.