Guest post: The lesson I learned as a financial translator 1

Today’s guest blog post features ProZ.com professional trainer and conference speaker Francesca Airaghi, who was kind enough to share some words of wisdom on her experience as a financial translator and entrepreneur. Francesca provides specialized English-Italian translations to financial companies, asset management companies, investment funds, banks, financial communication companies, law firms and international corporations.

You can find Francesca on the web at http://www.francescaairaghi.it/, or on Twitter @FranAiraghi


Francesca AiraghiYou probably all know somebody who lost his job, could not pay her mortgage any longer, or lost one big client in the wake of the GFC, the notorious Global Financial Crisis. Many companies were affected by the credit crunch and the economic slowdown in numerous countries. However, some used the financial and debt crisis as an excuse not to invest in innovation, not to pay suppliers, or to stand still.

If there is something I have learned in more than 20 years as a financial translator and entrepreneur, and also in my personal life, is that crises may be hard, but they offer the great opportunity to think about what we wish and want to do in the future. If we are able to change, as an individual and as entrepreneurs, we will succeed. Crises convert into opportunities to innovate, to learn new skills, to open new doors. Companies that are ready to change – adapt, innovate, and look forward – succeed. Those that stand still are poised to struggle.

In business, and specifically in the financial and banking industry, international regulators and national governments set new rules to reduce risk and increase transparency, minimise future bail-outs, make financial systems more stable and resilient. New regulations were introduced affecting banks, companies, taxes, markets. Grexit, Brexit and Quantitative Easing are common expressions in the news we read every day.Quote_Guest_Post

New rules and developments brought about an increase in translation volumes. Companies go global in order not to succumb. They translate websites, leaflets, annual reports, press releases. Consequently, translation volumes in the financial sector increased a lot. Financial statements have also doubled in length over the past 16 years, according to Deloitte. People want to read information in their native language before buying a product, especially if it is an expensive product or services, like investment funds or insurance policies (Don’t speak my language? I won’t buy your financial services).

Financial translation is a profitable specialisation, though it often scares many colleagues. People usually believe it is too complex and abstract. On the contrary, it is down-to-earth, and financial translators must keep constantly informed and up-to-date.

In fact, financial translation is a very wide subject and comprises so many sectors and sub-sectors affecting all our lives. Finance includes investments of course, but also annual reports on the company’s results, as well as economic news, and press releases on the launch of a new product or a new CEO. Risk management, conflict of interest, letters to shareholders, market commentaries and outlook belong to the financial translator’s daily agenda. Moreover, corporate law is strictly connected with many financial documents.

I would say that the 3 key areas of financial translation are:

  1. Economics: regarding production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services
  2. Accounting: communicating the company’s performance to shareholders and the public
  3. Finance: investment funds, capital markets, Stock Exchanges, asset management

Good financial translating requires good understanding of financial concepts. Though this is not enough. The language of finance is a special language, informative and emotional at the same time. You need to move from theory to practice and learn how to write financial news and market reports.

Unfortunately, there is lack of professional training in financial translation, especially in some language combinations. People attending my webinars often confirm that training provided at schools and institutions is often academic, not at all practical. They find it difficult to start as financial translators. Some have a financial background but lack the basics of translation, some studied translation but lack the basics of finance. From the mentoring requests I have received in the last couple of years, newbies report the lack of practical advice to become a financial translator, as for organisation (time management and project management), planning (jobs are always urgent in this niche), and reliable resources (the Internet is full of fluff), while the best way to learn is through exercise and practice.

I believe that expert colleagues should share their “practical” real-life knowledge regarding specialisation, rates and client management, to the benefit of translators’ visibility and the entire community of professional translators. Why choosing conflict and isolation when we can collaborate, share, respect and learn from each other?prozcom_training

If you wish to become more confident in translating finance and economics, you can join me in October and November at my webinar series on ProZ.com!

Join me at the Financial Translation Hub page I have just started on Facebook to develop a community of financial translators addicted to continuous learning.


Many thanks to Francesca for sharing this guest post with us!

If you’re interested in learning more about financial translation, Francesca offers a number of valuable on-demand and live sessions on the subject in both English and Italian: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/trainers/1184/courses

Francesca will also be a speaker at the upcoming ProZ.com 2015 regional conference in Modena, Italy, with a session on market trends towards “real time” translations. You can learn more about this event and register to attend here: http://www.proz.com/conference/661

As always, questions, feedback, and suggestions for future posts are welcome. Just post in the comments section below or get in touch via Twitter @ProZcom

One comment

  1. Pingback: The Sorrows of Young Financial Translator | Francesca Airaghi

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