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Speaking the Language of Financial Institutions

Nov 07, 2017

Financial institutions take their partnerships with language services providers (LSPs) very seriously. They have to. For banks, brokerages, insurance companies, or trust companies, there is no room for errors. Turnaround times in the industry are short, transactions are often international, and accuracy is always absolutely vital – all of which require top translation companies to have a deep understanding of industry expectations, terminology and concepts.

As part of one of the largest industries worldwide, financial institutions have seen a growing need for translation services over the past decade. Between 2010 and 2011 alone, according to Common Sense Advisory, financial institutions increased their average annual translation spend by 26%. And notably, while cost is always a consideration when conducting business, in financial services it takes a back seat to other, even more pressing, requirements.


Security before everything

A 2012 report from Common Sense reveals that the single most important thing a financial institution scrutinizes when considering a translation agency is its ability to provide iron-clad security for its data. This means bullet-proof protection against online threats, including data theft and hacking. It also means that the translation service must be able to safeguard their data against natural disasters and man-made calamities. These expectations extend to any contractors or third parties working with the LSP because security must be completely air-tight at every stage of the workflow.


Accuracy has two meanings in finance

“Buyers consistently report that quality matters more to them than factors such as price,” reports Common Sense Advisory. In the context of finance, quality translations are accurate translations – and accuracy has two meanings:

  • On one hand, it’s about the actual content in the source document – To translate financial content accurately, a translation company must employ linguists who are experts in finance, financial products and the financial industry style – which means being comfortable with the requisite legalese. (Note: Evidence shows that financial institutions often invest their own time to further train translators in the particulars of their own business language. It’s not uncommon for relationships to form with individual translators upon whom institutions come to rely.)
  • On the other hand, it’s about the comprehension of the target audience –Financial institutions need to effectively communicate with a wide range of customers and potential customers of varying socioeconomic classes, levels of education, and familiarity with financial products and services. For international marketing materials, the goal is to make a connection with, and appeal to, customers in another culture — and this depends on the translator’s grasp of what will resonate with those people. Of course, translated materials must also comply 100% with all relevant local and regional regulations.


Interpretation is needed as much as translation

The financial industry’s dependence on language services extends beyond document translation. Live, real-time interpretation is every bit as important in an industry in which so much business is conducted face-to-face, on the phone, and in video conferences. Effective customer service — over the phone, or during loan interviews — often requires robust multilingual support as well.

Interpreters must be just as qualified as translators, being in total command of the languages spoken and equally fluent in finance. This safeguards the parties from costly, even disruptive miscommunications, especially during sensitive negotiations. In addition to linguistic mastery, an interpreter must have the deep cultural knowledge that allows the faithful rendering of each spoken nuance.


Challenges exist to be met

In today’s globalized economy, every financial institution – regardless of its size – needs to communicate effectively with speakers of other languages, locally and across the world. Finding the right language service provider to assist with that is a big decision. At Morningside Translations, we guarantee iron-clad security and reliable accuracy with an expansive worldwide network of expert linguists versed both in the intricacies of finance and in the local cultures they serve.


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