More companies than ever—both large corporations and small to mid-sized businesses—are trading goods with and providing services in foreign countries. In 2022, the US imported and exported $758.4 billion worth of goods to and from China alone.
How do these companies keep multinational partners in the loop despite language barriers while dealing with massive sums of money? The answer is financial translation, which is increasingly sought by localization managers to translate various documents, communications, and other financial materials. These include the following:
- Large corporations: Annual reports, balance sheets, shareholder reports
- Tax and accounting: Invoices, tax reports, income statements, tax clearance documents
- Insurance: Financial reports, terms and conditions, insurance policies, regulatory documents
- Real estate: Income statements, real estate listings, contracts
- Investment: Documents reporting mutual funds, bonds, prospectuses, equities
If you’re among the many looking into professional financial translation services, the information to follow will aid in your evaluation.
5 commonly used financial translation service providers
Which are some of the more popular providers of financial document translation, and how do they compare to one another? Here’s an overview.
Smartling helps customers take advantage of the powerful combination of professional translation services and AI translation technology, with a workspace built for content translation at scale. This results in time and cost savings, while also allowing our customers to achieve and maintain exceptional translation quality.
However, the complexity of certain projects sometimes demands 100% human translation. In such cases, our linguists are also equipped to take financial translations from start to finish, capturing all the nuances of the original text accurately.
- All of our translators are 100% native speakers, which is one of many reasons we’re able to offer a 100% quality guarantee.
- We offer a full suite of translation services, including specialized translation. This means we’ll link you with thoroughly vetted translators who have the domain expertise needed to deliver accurate translations of financial documents.
- Smartling helps you to develop and maintain linguistic assets like glossaries and translation memories to keep terminology and brand details consistent and deliver cost savings over time.
- We do linguistic quality assurance and localization testing to ensure accuracy and consistency across translations and appropriateness for the target locale.
- Our managed services take everything from project to content to resource management off your hands, so you can focus on higher-leverage tasks.
- Smartling doesn’t currently offer optional notarization services alongside certified translation as some providers do.
Stepes services banking institutions, accounting firms, insurance companies, investment firms, and stock brokerages. It offers translation of SEC filing materials, shareholder briefs, investor newsletters, DeFi translation, and more.
- Besides services, Stepes combines financial terminology management solutions with proprietary agile translation technology to help customers overcome linguistic and cultural barriers.
- Stepes supports over 100 languages.
- Bespoke multilingual financial solutions are available to optimize your financial services operations.
- Stepes’s services can be more expensive than some alternatives, so it may not be ideal for high-volume, enterprise-scale translation efforts. (Source: TranslationReport)
GTS Translation Services
GTS Translation provides translation services for a wide range of financial institutions worldwide. The company specializes in translating financial and business documents in over 80 languages, including certified translation of annual reports, prospectuses, sales brochures, economic reports, bank statements, insurance documents, and more. Pros:
- GTS Translation has over 20 years of experience and a track record of working with well-known international corporations and institutions.
- Many of this company’s linguists are accountants and economists with training and experience in the financial industry.
- Customers have positive things to say about the company’s fast turnarounds and overall responsiveness during translation projects.
- GTS supports fewer languages and language pairs than some other service providers, making it less flexible than providers like Smartling.
BLEND does financial document translation for both personal and business use cases. The company can translate a variety of text from fintech website copy and RFPs to audit reports and investor information. More than 120 languages are supported for a total of over 3,200 language pairs.
- To produce accurate translations that meet reader expectations, the company employs translators familiar with local guidelines and commercial standards.
- The BLEND Wizard allows you to provide a brief for your translation project, get a cost estimate, and be matched with an appropriate translator.
- Two plans are available, one of which includes review and proofreading by a second translator with financial expertise.
- Some customers have encountered issues with payments ranging from lack of clarity on what was billed to double-billing. (Source: G2)
Rush Translate is a popular choice for the translation of documents like mortgage applications, tax returns, bank statements, and more. Both standard and certified translations are available.
- Rush Translate offers a fast 24-hour turnaround.
- Pricing for standard translation starts at just $0.10 per word.
- Optional notarization is available should you need verification of the identity of the translator of your documents.
- Customers have mentioned occasional delays that extend turnaround time beyond the 24-hour window. (Source: Trustpilot)
3 hallmarks of the best financial translation companies
You’ve gotten an overview of some of the top providers. Now, you need to know the top things to look for in a translation partner so you can make an informed choice. After all, they’ll likely be handling documents that not only demand total accuracy but also require fast turnarounds.
1. Compliance and enterprise-grade security Confidentiality is paramount when translating sensitive business information. This is especially so when it concerns income, bank account information, audit reports, insurance documents, and other private documents. If translators fail to adhere to cybersecurity best practices or use tools that do not prioritize data security, data breaches are not just a possibility. They are inevitable. You can’t settle for anything less than a service provider who has extensive measures in place to protect your information. Smartling, for example, has industry-leading security and is in compliance with PCI, SOC 2, HIPAA, and GDPR standards. Not to mention ISO 17100, ISO 13485, and ISO 9001:2015 for language services.
2. Understanding of locale-related differences As with all types of translation, the local culture and regulations play a significant role in financial translation. Both usually demand a level of localization—in other words, translating not just the individual words but the entire reading experience. Therefore, it’s important to consider differences in customs, financial terminology, and commonly used words and their meanings. For example, where UK financial statements would read “Creditors,” US statements would read “Accounts Payable.” Similarly, for non-English speaking countries, direct transliterations of financial terminology will likely be insufficient.
As translators work, they often also need to take into account differences in currency, units, and even variations in formatting.
3. Quality assurance measuresTranslation errors in general can damage the reputations of all involved—both translators and stakeholders. And there are many types that can make their way into financial translations. So, strong quality assurance processes are needed to catch them before they turn into bigger problems after publishing. What are just a handful of issues a good financial translation service provider will have measures in place to prevent?
1. Inconsistent terminology: Most words in the English language have interchangeable synonyms, but that may not be the case in your target language(s). For example, while “bank statement” and “account statement” mean the same thing in English, it may be confusing for a translator if both terms are used interchangeably without explanation. In this case, it would be best to stick to using either “bank statement” or “account statement” or have a terminology database (or use translation memories) with agreed-upon terms.
2. Number inaccuracies: For a translator, it can be easy to mix up numbers after a long day of translating and staring at the screen. Regional differences in the way numbers are rendered can add another challenge. For example, most English-speaking countries separate thousands with a comma and decimals with a period. But many other countries like Germany use a period to separate thousands, and in Switzerland, an apostrophe separates the thousands. As you can imagine, that may be confusing for some translators.
3. Formatting differences: Besides the way numbers are written, basic formatting differences in financial documents can make errors more frequent. For example, bank statements and balance sheets in Europe may be formatted differently or have different categories from their American counterparts. Translators would need to be aware of this nuance to work effectively.
4. Tone of voice inconsistency: Although financial translations are often largely number-based, some financial documents, such as audit reports, are text-based. These may need to be presented to global stakeholders and typically adhere to a specific tone of voice. When translating such financial reports, linguists must ensure that the company’s desired tone is rendered similarly in the target language while also keeping cultural norms in mind.
When considering financial translators, it’s worth having a conversation about how they consistently and efficiently spot and correct issues like these. For instance, our translations undergo a monthly quality check consisting of external, third-party auditing and real-time AI-powered quality assessment. This enables us to deliver accurate, on-brand translations and maintain a multidimensional quality metrics (MQM) score of 98—surpassing the industry average of 95.
Financial document translation with a 100% quality guarantee Translating financial documents into different languages is a weighty responsibility. When hiring a translation company, it’s crucial to choose one with financial services expertise. It’s also wise to select one that offers reliable translation software that produces accurate translations, decreases time to publish, and reduces your translation costs.
With Smartling, you get access to all of the above. Check out our top-rated translation management system, as well as our full suite of translation services—both of which are backed by a 100% quality guarantee.