Your Bilingual Colleague Isn't a Translator

Picture this: you wouldn’t entrust the design of your company’s new headquarters to someone who ‘has a knack for drawing’, would you? Similarly, entrusting translation tasks to a bilingual colleague, simply because they can speak another language, might not be your best bet, especially in the intricate world of finance.

1. The Subtleties of Financial Translation

In financial translation, there’s an artistry that goes hand in hand with expertise. It’s not just about accurately translating financial terms but also crafting content that’s engaging and clear to the reader. This requires a blend of creative writing skills and deep financial knowledge. A professional translator doesn’t just convert words; they convey the essence of financial concepts in a way that’s both precise and enjoyable to read. It’s like a skilled chef who not only follows a recipe but also adds a unique flair to make a dish truly memorable.

2. Risks of Non-Professional Translation

The nuances of financial language can be treacherous when translated too literally. For instance, we encountered a scenario where the phrase “the value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and an investor may get back less than the amount invested” was translated into French as “you will not get your investment back.” Needless to say, this could alarm your potential French investors, highlighting the importance of nuanced and accurate financial translation.

3. Expertise of Professional Translators

Professional financial translators offer much more than bilingualism; they meld linguistic expertise with a deep understanding of finance. These translators are not only proficient in financial terminology and regulatory frameworks but also in conveying these complex concepts accurately across languages. This is a skill that goes beyond mere fluency or financial knowledge. Even if your bilingual colleague is a financial expert, they might not possess the nuanced understanding of linguistic subtleties required for precise translation. It’s like expecting someone adept at financial analysis to also excel in narrative storytelling – these are distinct skills, each requiring specific training and experience.

4. Specialisation within Financial Translation

The world of finance is not monolithic; it’s a mosaic of specialised fields, each with its unique lexicon and nuances. Translators often specialise in specific sectors like derivatives, banking, risk management, etc. To draw a parallel, it’s like the difference between a general practitioner and a specialist surgeon. You wouldn’t want a knee surgeon performing a heart operation, just as you wouldn’t assign the translation of a risk assessment report to someone whose expertise lies in retail banking.


In the intricately detailed and regulation-heavy world of finance, professional translation is not just a service but a necessity. Recognising the specialised nature of each financial sector, it becomes clear that entrusting translations to an expert in the relevant field is imperative for accuracy and compliance.

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