Financial Translation

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There’s an old and well-known adage in Brazil: “The order of the factors does not change the product”. But this is not applicable to financial translation.

At first glance, translating a financial document may look simple, and many translation firms readily take on such an assignment. But you could pay a high price for this. Financial texts are replete with specific terms and jargon, so financial translation requires a skilled and specialized translator who must have full command of financial terminology, of both the source text and target text, since many words and terms used in financial documents are not found in general dictionaries; they can only be properly translated and interpreted by experienced and up-to-date language professionals.

An inaccurate translation can lead to serious consequences for the company that engaged translation service, in addition to undermining the company’s good reputation. This is why the experience garnered by a translation company that understands the subtleties and nuances of financial documents is so important!

The solution to this problem is to hire a company that has been shown to be fully specialized in financial translation and has a team of skilled and qualified professionals, not only as translators, but as professionals who have worked directly in the financial market. BTS meets this criterion; for over 20 years we have been providing services to the largest financial institutions and audit firms in Brazil and around the world.

What is financial translation?

Financial translation is the specialized technical translation of documents that contain specific financial parlance and terminology, such as: Earnings Releases, Reference Forms, Initial Public Offers, Announcements to Shareholders, Press Releases, CVM/SEC Documents, Annual Reports, etc. This segment also includes accounting-related translation, including: Audit Reports, Financial Statements, Balance Sheets, and documents related to your company’s bookkeeping and auditing.

Whenever translating a financial document, it’s important to keep in mind the specific terms and area of ​​the document to be translated (for example, accounting, tax, audit, etc.) in order to select the appropriate translator or team of translators. Minor details can put everything in jeopardy, leading to differences in readers’ understanding of the translated text, and even financial losses. Therefore, it’s crucial to know and to identify any aspect that requires specific adaptation, considering that financial and tax systems usually differ significantly between countries, and some of these documents are reported to international regulatory agencies as well. 

A good financial translation agency must be able to overcome these obstacles; BTS can help you in this process. Our professionals are thoroughly familiar with the financial environment, and BTS offers this far-reaching knowledge in six languages. Aiming to ensure an accurate and high-quality translation, the documents are reviewed by professionals with in-depth knowledge of finance, providing a higher-quality and more reliable final translation.

What should a Financial Translation company offer?

There have been innumerable situations caused by a translation error that can have an awful outcome, especially when it comes to financial documents, balance sheets, financial statements, contracts, and any number of other documents that convey companies’ precious corporate information and figures. If you don’t want this to happen, you have to take some precautions by seeking answers to the following questions: 

– Does the translation agency have suitable experience? Since this is an emerging and rapidly growing market, we see new translation companies popping up daily. Plus, there are thousands of freelance translators who appear on internet search pages. However, quantity is not synonymous with quality. So you must make sure that the translation agency you hire has proven experience on the market, and has been in business for several years. Also, check out who its main clients are, and even analyze the cases of success. It’s undeniable that an experienced translation agency is able to project confidence in what it does, and guarantee a job well done. 

– Is it a specialized translation company? A lot of agencies guarantee they specialize in several areas and, when receiving a request for a price quote, they don’t even bother to analyze it before they say yes. But is it really that easy? Look for a translation agency that truly specializes in the area related to ​the document that you need to get translated. Financial documents encompass important issues, with their own lingo that a non-specialized translator will not be able to translate using the proper terminology. 

– Does the translation company have any certification? There are several certifications that can help translation agencies demonstrate their expertise and guarantee their work parameters. BTS is a member of the American Translators Association (ATA), which is aimed at raising professional standards in the field, improving individual performance, and recognizing translators who have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality translation.

– How does the company handle confidentiality of information? At any serious translation agency, the client usually has the option of entering into a non-disclosure agreement. Also, professional translation companies, like BTS, use tools such as information tracking and blocking programs, which do not allow any improper copying of documents. 

– What about translating numbers and amounts? Particularly in financial translation, there are some details that make a world of difference! For instance, if you have a contract with an amount of one thousand reais (which is rendered in Portuguese as “R$ 1.000”) and the translator fails to change the point to a comma when translating the text into English, the native English speaker reading the translation will likely interpret this amount as R$ 1! That’s right: one real instead of one thousand reais. To avoid this kind of mistake, a good financial translation agency uses software that automatically performs this conversion when dealing with amounts ​ (​as well as date formats, etc.), thereby avoiding any type of human error.

Think about this when choosing your next financial translation company

At BTS, all requests for financial translations are assigned to a team that handles your entire project, led by a project manager who, if necessary, forwards the documents for desktop publishing, supervises the work, and allocates the material to specific qualified and time-tested translators. Both the team and the project manager have expertise and experience in the financial area, some of them having worked as executives and professionals in finance. 

The world of finance is huge. Accordingly, the need to have a specific translation for financial documents is becoming increasingly indispensable. A segment that deals with such specific terminology and monetary values ​​shouldn’t have its documents and projects handled in a conventional way. Ideally, you send these types of projects to a company that specializes in financial translation. So don’t take any unnecessary risks! Place your projects in the hands of those who know what they’re talking about.

Where and how can I find a Financial Translation company?

We’re aware that migrating a company’s operations to an international setting can be an excellent move for the organization to expand its territory and increase its earnings. However, we also know that this can entail instability, and directly influence the company’s bottom line. To minimize such risks, there are several Brazilian agencies that govern international operations: the National Monetary Council (CMN) regulates these transactions, and the Central Bank of Brazil (Bacen) oversees them to ensure that there is no fraudulent activity and that such operations are compliant with the law.

To explain this briefly, operations involving amounts of up to R$ 3,000 do not require government authorization. However, for higher-value operations, Payment Orders are used. Regardless of how the operation will be carried out, you may need to submit documents that prove the source of the money and justify these funds; a translator is often necessary at this stage of the process. 

Where does the translator or interpreter come into play in this process? 

Now that you have an overall understanding of how international operations work, let’s delve a little deeper and explain the work of the translator/interpreter on such occasions. 

As we saw earlier, international financial operations are not restricted to wire transfers. Contracts, meetings, agreements, human resources and team management (among many other operations) may be involved when it comes to expanding the boundaries of your business. In all these possible scenarios, an intermediary is required, facilitating communication between client and contractor, employer and employee, and various other possible relationships. 

Whenever it’s necessary for someone to be present alongside a representative of a company from another country to translate the dialogues between the parties, we refer to this professional as an interpreter. For example, this professional will interpret the entire dialogue and convey it in the language of the other party, in order to fully comprehend everything that is being said.

On the other hand, when a company needs to understand what is written in a particular document, such as a contract, it uses a translator to provide this ‘bridge’ to its native language. 

Lastly, if an official document needs to be translated – such as powers-of-attorney, which needs to have legal validity in the country of the contracting company –, the work of a certified or sworn translator is required, who is authorized to officially attest to the accuracy of the translated text, according to local legislation.

How to hire a financial translation company

Whenever your company is in a situation in which it requires a financial translation company, you can easily get lost amid so many internet search results. Even worse: when the need to hire a translation agency arises, it’s usually because you need it urgently and your deadline is already tight. 

With some practical pointers, we’ll help you know how to hire a good financial translation company.

Where can you find a Financial Translation company?

As we mentioned before, when searching for a translation company on the internet, you’ll get hundreds or even thousands of hits. However, how do you know which is best for you, since most financial translation companies claim to offer basically the same thing?

It’s highly likely that the financial translation agency that will assist you will be on that list of results. Suffice it to evaluate the proper points, such as:

  • What clients are served by the translation company? 
  • Do these clients operate in your company’s business segment?
  • Is the cost of the translation within the average rate of the price quotes you received? Amounts that are too low or outside the average range may be a red flag in your search, because this usually indicates a lack of quality.
  • How is the company’s client service demeanor when contacting you? 
  • What are its references? 
  • Does it have success cases for you to evaluate?

These are some points of a quick evaluation, but they already allow for proper screening. BTS understands that transparency is a safety factor for anyone seeking a translation agency; this is why it includes clients’ testimonials on its website, which can demonstrate how this work is performed. 

Once this screening is done, hiring an agency is usually (in 95% of the cases) done online; this also helps get the project off to a quick start. BTS clients can use the WhatsApp instant messaging tool to facilitate this interaction, and can also request price quotes over the website, with the option of attaching/uploading their document(s) and making additional remarks regarding what they want. These details can be crucial for swift and efficient service. Even with online hiring, this doesn’t mean that the company cannot use telephone contact, and even in-person contact, depending on the size of the project. 

The benefits of a company specializing in financial translation

Let’s suppose you have a luxury car. Would you take it to an economy-car mechanic, or would you prefer to leave it in the care of a mechanic specializing in luxury automobiles? Of course, a general-purpose mechanic could perform minor repairs and even provide you with a quick-fix in an emergency, but does he have the experience and in-depth knowledge to perform major interventions or specific maintenance? 

We can use that same example when speaking of financial translation. In the case of a financial document, a ‘generic’ translation might even be helpful if the purpose is just to get the gist of the text. However, if you need a professional translation, the lack of specialization in the financial market can put the entire project in jeopardy.

Those who know, know!

The world of finance is huge, and within it we also have several areas of specialization, such as: accounting, banking, corporate, financial institutions, foreign exchange, auditing, and so on. Each of these areas has its own lingo and uses unique vocabulary. So, allocating this type of translation to a translator who isn’t fully acquainted with the area would be unfair to the professional, because even his/her extensive research and goodwill may not be enough, since some knowledge is only gained after many years practice.

At an agency that specializes in financial translation, the translators know the jargon used in this field and have a strong command over the subject matter. They are able to meet the urgency of the deadlines because they’ve already experienced this routine, in addition to analyzing the material from the viewpoint of someone who has sat on the other side of the table. A generic and abstract translation fails to capture the technical language used, and many items may be translated too literally, missing the precise connotation of the terms. 

Another benefit of a translation company specializing in financial translation is that desktop publishing plays a primary role, because when receiving several (or all) of the documents and reports with information and numerical values, a non-professional translation may overlook certain types of formats that need to be changed to international standards, such as the use of commas instead of points, among others. Furthermore, many presentations have important graphics, which may end up being lost, or not translated at all. At a specialized translation agency, these details are handled during the desktop publishing stage; PowerPoint or PDF presentations are kept in the original formats; graphics and even images are translated as well. This is a detail that – aside from saving time – maintains the quality and standardization of the client’s documents.

How does the financial translation process work?

So, you found your financial translation agency, you liked the service, and you sent them your document to be translated. What happens next?

This process varies, depending on the agency you’ve chosen. Many agencies don’t have well-defined processes or even the necessary workforce. The entire process is concentrated in a single person, which can lead to flaws in translation as well as missed deadlines.

At BTS, we have specialized teams in several areas. Therefore, your document will be under the responsibility of a project manager. The project manager picks the best team to perform the translation, analyzes the need for desktop publishing, assigns an independent reviewer with knowledge of the area, sends the materials for translation, and receives the completed translations.

Below we list several other interesting points to consider when choosing your translation agency:

  • Does it have a sufficiently large and/or qualified team for your project?
  • The use of native translators can be a differentiating factor, but are these translators truly specialized and do they have the appropriate background in the field of the requested translation?
  • Does the translation agency offer desktop publishing, or will the file lose its formatting, leaving up to you to handle the publishing stage using another firm? 

Such an evaluation will save time and rework after receiving your translated document, and save you from possible headaches as well. 

One of our aims at BTS is to establish long-term relationships, so we don’t have mere “clients”, but rather “partners”. Accordingly, we invest in communication and in understanding the real needs for each project.

If there is any question about the translations, this matter will be dealt with on a technical basis, and the text will be reviewed and revised as many times as necessary to meet the client’s requirements. However, this situation is extremely rare, as BTS uses a database of time-tested translators, and has over 20 years’ experience on the market, so we can assure the quality of our translations. Plus, we have teams of translators segmented by areas of specialization (e.g. legal, financial, insurance, medical, etc.) that specifically handle your translation, in addition to using independent external reviewers and a desktop publishing team that guarantees your document will be delivered in the format you requested. 


Companies face intense competition for results, and financial translation performed by qualified professionals is crucial to support the decision-making process and ensure a company’s success on the domestic and international markets. After all, we’re talking about an area where there’s no room for error, and even minor mistakes in translation can end up making a major difference in the final product.

For the reasons expounded above, it’s essential that you choose a financial translation company with demonstrably solid experience in the field. But, even more so, a company that’s your partner in understanding your needs and meeting your deadlines.

Here at BTS, you’ll have exclusive and personalized client service, and the support of highly experienced professionals in the field, offering the best in financial translation for you and your company.

Do you need to translate a financial document? BTS can help you! Contact us and speak to our team of experts.