The consequences of a bad financial translation

Nowadays, financial reports must be transparent and adapt to financial specifications, in each country, but a bad financial translation can be disastrous.

With globalization, companies must be more transparent in the way they present their financial reports, focusing as much on the content (sustainable development strategies) as on the form (more transparent and simplified writing of the financial aspect). Add to that the need to adapt to financial specifications in each country and understand the, sometimes disastrous, consequence, which a bad financial translation can produce.

Bad financial translations lead to a decline in international development

If marketing and financial professionals struggle to find translators with an understanding of financial issues and editorial expertise, it’s because the areas of finance, stock exchange, accounting and law have their own codes which keep evolving according to economic activity and the implementation of new laws.

A company´s image depends on its marketing communication but also its financial communication which must adapt to the local culture and legal specificities. A simple mistake by an inexperienced translator will lead to serious consequences on the message communicated by the company abroad, whose image and credibility will then be strongly and permanently damaged. It is difficult to establish your business in a new business in these conditions.

Misinterpretation and financial decision-making

Indeed, a financial translation which does not take into account the cultural context of the target language can lead to wrong meanings and misinterpretations, the destructive effects of which are directly reflected in decision making in the context of financial communication, publication of investment funds, economic research, audit reports, merger and acquisition documents, etc.

The European Union, for example, whose translation budget is quite large, sometimes misuses machine translation or inexperienced translators to save money. Some badly assimilated documents in a foreign language have led to wrong financial decisions with serious consequences for the Member States, as was the case for the Bundestag (Bank) Germany.

The Butterfly effect of a bad financial translation

In the insurance field, the quality of translations is crucial, especially for drafting contracts. Insurance documents contain not only information on the conditions and insurance details but also legal, financial and medical information.

A tiny mistake in terminology could not only prevent your company from finding new customers due to a misunderstanding of the proposed warranties and their respective fields of application, but also, the financial repercussions in terms of penalties, damages and interest, could prove disastrous for the company.

Now imagine the worst case scenario where numerous investors, as brilliant as they are, find themselves misled by incomprehensible financial products whose risks, deliberately or not, produce a crisis on a global scale, where financial institutions find themselves in deficit and thousands of companies are forced to close down. However, this catastrophic scenario is what we know today as the Subprime mortgage crisis of 2007.

Translation into English: Chloe Findlay

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