The Top 10 Language Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Financial Document Translations (Tricky Terminology).
There are a number of ways you can translate a financial document. However, financial document translation is a tedious process that requires extensive research and an in-depth understanding of both the source and target languages.
Financial terminology is difficult enough to translate, let alone numbers, units, conversions, and the surrounding non-financial language of the documents, as well. If you’re going to engage in any kind of financial document translation, make sure you avoid these ten common mistakes.
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes you can make in your financial translation documents is to incorrectly convert units. Sometimes you can do this with language alone. Many terms exist that sound similar to what you want to say, but in another language, they mean completely different things.
Wrong Unit Name
Another problem that can occur is to use the wrong unit name. If you’re using an improper unit name, whether it’s for an amount of money or the size of a product, you can wind up in some pretty embarrassing and potentially costly situations.
Mistaking the Order of Words
Word order is crucial when it comes to translating documents, especially financial documents. If you’re going to translate a phrase, make sure your adjectives, nouns, and verbs are in the right order for the target language. Messing up the order can result in everything from comical errors to extremely detrimental misstatements.
Naming Digits Instead of Numbers
“Two seven” and “twenty-seven” might look the same, or similar, when written numerically. However, they can result in vastly different values if you write them out incorrectly in your source language. Visit our blog.
Failing to Consider the Context
Without considering the context, you can wind up in a situation where you’re saying one thing but meaning quite another. Ask anyone who played Street Fighter II in 1992 and spent months trying to find a nonexistent character just because of a translation error that ignored context. Humorous when applied to a game, this same mistake applied to your financial documents could end in disaster.
Homophones That Aren’t: Not Knowing the Difference
Don’t assume all homophones actually mean what they sound like. For instance, the Spanish word intoxicado sounds like the English word intoxicated, or drunk. But it actually refers to poisoning.
Ignoring Cultural Meaning
Not only do you have to consider the linguistic context of your document, you also have to consider the cultural context. Many phrases and words only mean what you want them to mean if used in certain cultural situations. It’s important to understand the culture of the language you’re translating into.
Not Understanding Formality
You might be used to speaking very formally to your audience, but in another country formality might be seen as rude. Make sure you pay attention to the tone of your documents so you’re not offending your audience.
Ignoring Multiple Meanings
Many languages, particularly those which are character-based like Chinese, have multiple meanings for the same characters or character sets. It’s very important to understand that before attempting to literally translate your financial documents.
Ignoring Your Audience
A lot of translation is understanding your audience. It’s important to know what to highlight and what to minimize when drafting your financial documents.
Consulting with a transcreation company who can connect with local, linguistic, and cultural experts in the location of your target language can help you draft flawless financial documents that have the same meaning, effectiveness, and enforceability as the original document.
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