Challenges in Financial Content Translation

ThinkstockPhotos-126455505Financial content translation requires managing many types of  specialized materials that are very different from other standard business and marketing content types. These include financial statements, such as annual and interim financial reports, corporate communications, merger and acquisition (M&A), compliance and regulatory documents, legal agreements and transfer pricing documents — just to name a few. Each document has its own peculiarity and all of them pose some common challenges from the translation project management point of view. In particular, timing, budget and confidentiality.

Translating financial documents means high volumes of content with very tight deadlines. For example, the European Banking Supervision Authority, aiming at enhancing the stability of the Euro area banking system, is currently requiring banks to publish periodical disclosures on credit risk management. It also fixed certain dates for publishing and submitting financial statements (annual and interim reports). This requires national entities to translate official reporting into English for their international stakeholders.  For parent companies, this also means translating a high number of rules, bulletins and informative documents from English into the target languages of their subsidiaries and local branches. Most frequently, this also means content needs to be translated in a rush to meet very strict deadlines.

Working with a trusted and experienced language service provider (LSP) that has extensive knowledge and expertise in financial industry subjects is crucial, in order to obtain the best quality within the most demanding deadlines.

Our project managers are always aware of the financial calendars of their clients. This helps to adequately prepare and schedule for on-time delivery of translated investor relations (IR) documents and booking in advance the same translators from previous clients’ translations, in order to guarantee a consistent pool of resources dedicated to any single client.

At times it is necessary to divide the work of a large document, especially if it entails thousands of pages to be translated in a few days. Experienced project managers and the dedicated translation team will often split it according to the document’s characteristics and inner composition, assigning its different parts to the more suitable resources according to the peculiarities of the text itself. For example, financial statements will require translation of explanatory notes, which requires high terminological and analytical skills. Whereas a more descriptive section like a report on operations, requires some terminological expertise and ‘flavor’ for language and style.

Translating high volumes of content within very short deadlines also significantly affects budgeting. Turning to the same trusted LSP, year-after-year, will help clients contain costs. Experienced client project managers, familiar with the client and terminology requirements, will be able to issue the most competitive pricing. This is due in part to leveraging existing terminology management and translation memories, along with tech-enabled tools for translation utilized for the client’s content in the past.

Experienced financial translations project managers will identify in advance any critical issues that could possibly affect deadlines and budget. Examples of this include:

  • Tables Management: Are the tables included in the Word document editable or are they pasted in the document as images? When a client sends in an Excel file, are these files linked to the document or can they be managed separately?
  • Desktop Publishing (DTP): The source file may come in different formats, such as Word, PDF or InDesign and each one of these content types must be processed differently in order to be translated correctly.
  • Delivery Requirements: Do the clients need a final delivery of the entire document or do they need the different chapters or content types as soon as they are ready? This may be a requirement for working in coordination with an external auditor or internal financial reviewer.

It is critical to find an LSP that is knowledgeable and  who can provide translation advice to the client. Dealing with international banks and global and public entities, it often happens that translations are required by procurement people, who are not experts on the specific material contained within the translation request. When this happens, it is essential the project manager ask the right questions and collect all the information (implicit and explicit) to properly service the client. This includes even suggesting the questions procurement may need address to their internal stakeholders in order to identify and fulfill their respective needs and requirements. These characteristics are what qualifies your LSP as your real partner, a trusted partner that works with you to help you achieve the best business outcomes.

Confidentiality is also crucial in financial translations. Financial reports, prospectuses and IPOs that need to be translated before they are published are often highly confidential. All LSPs handling financial translations should require their translators to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and service level agreements (SLAs) that tie them to the highest confidentiality. LSP security protocols are critical and should be available for any client to review at any time.

Documents should always be uploaded and downloaded via secure FTP. Translation memories (TMs) can be set in such a way that does not allow external resources to use them after the translation’s delivery. Confidential translations may be managed through CAT (computer-aided translation) tools in server configuration, so that the resources have to work online, connecting to the LSP’s server and cannot download documents, TMs and glossaries on their computers.

Choosing a language service provider with specialized financial translation experience, knowledge and references is a good first step to overcoming many of these challenges. Building a long-term trusted partnership will also help you dramatically reduce risks in meeting your deadlines and ensuring your content is translated at the highest quality, within your budget.  Welocalize’s project managers working with financial translations are skilled and experienced. They will always suggest the best workflow for translations, according to the level of confidentiality requested by our clients.

Emilia Cotrone, Language Quality Assurance

Emilia is based in Milan, Italy, having joined Welocalize through the acquisition of Agostini. Learn more about the Welocalize Agostini Associati acquisition by clicking here.

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