Four Common Errors in Finance Localization

Four Common Errors in Finance Localization

As more financial companies are trying to attract international customers, their need to localize their products and services is rapidly growing. As a result, financial translation services are in high demand.

When businesses consider their options for financial localization, it is critical for them to seek a translation company that can meet all their requirements. Just as financial products and documents are specific in their setup and purpose, the translation and localization for each type of product will inevitably vary.

Because of the complexities involved with financial localization, there are some common mistakes that are made during the localization process. Here is a look at four of the most frequent errors and ways to avoid them.

1. Errors in Terminology

While every industry has its own set of terminology, some fields have more specialized jargon than others; the financial sector is one of those areas. As such, it can be easy for linguists to make mistakes during the financial translation process. These errors can happen primarily because:

  • Translators might not stay updated with new terms as the financial industry changes and grows. With companies frequently launching or updating products and improving their services, it is essential for translators to follow new terms and trends.
  • Although different countries speak the same language, their word choices often vary. Because of this, some translators will have issues choosing words that convey the same meaning in other languages. As an example, the term “creditors” refers to financial statements in the United Kingdom, while the United States refers to such statements as “accounts payable.” When this is applied to non-English speaking countries, it is unlikely that a direct translation of financial terminology will be sufficient.
  • Translators with experience in one area of finance are tasked with translating a document in a different sector. For instance, if a translator’s expertise is in commercial banking, but they are required to translate a document in the insurance field, there is a greater chance that mistakes will be made.
  • From one region to another, the specific financial processes are widely different, meaning that the terminology nuances are far more complicated. This is particularly an issue for a finance localization company solely relying on machine translation since the technology could easily choose the wrong word.

How to avoid it: The first step in avoiding terminology mistakes is through proofreading and editing. All localized financial products should go through a rigorous review by editors to make sure that all jargon is correct. Another way to help ensure consistency within the documentation is by creating glossaries and translation memories. Reputable translation agencies have this tool available to ensure that the same translations, style, tone, and quality are achieved across a client’s products.

2. Number Inaccuracies

Another very common mistake made in financial translation involves number inaccuracies. While seemingly easy enough, translating numbers can be a difficult process with plenty of room for error. A slight differentiation in a number can snowball into a much bigger problem. In fact, a tiny mistake will be reflected in the document’s outcome; even an error as small as the punctuation of a number will have an unfortunate effect.

As an example of this, in English, the meaning of 2,500 is two thousand and five hundred, and to contrast, 2.500 means two and a half. However, these numbers mean entirely different things in other countries, such as Vietnam, France, or Germany. It is essentially flipped; 2,500 is equivalent to two and a half, and 2.500 is two thousand and five hundred.

In addition, when documents are translated from English to Spanish, it is quite easy for $100,000 to become $100.

How to avoid it: To avoid value and number confusion, it is beneficial to partner with a language services provider (LSP) that explicitly works with native translators who are also experts in their industry. They should fully understand the number system, as well as be able to verify that number separators are accurate.

Additionally, make certain that the financial localization company uses post-editing to discover and correct any number mistakes made by a machine translator.

3. Not Focusing on Regulation Compliance

While this mistake does not directly involve errors in the final output, it does affect whether the localized product will even be allowed to move forward in the country. A finance company attempting to expand to new markets must comply with local laws. In every country, there tends to be a large amount of financial and product regulations, some of which involve tax, employment, and labor.

However, the rules are not the same everywhere. In some places, such as London and Switzerland London, regulations are becoming easier to manage for financial technology companies. Despite this, many regions still maintain tight provisions when it comes to entering the market.

In addition, translating a financial document can be especially challenging in a country if regulation is applicable in one local market but not another one.

Finally, it is also essential to consider that when corporations attempt to list in local securities and exchange markets, all the documents must be submitted in the region’s language. Along with this, businesses often will have to provide legal documents to get business permits in the local language. Because these processes are quite detailed, even one mistake can cause lengthy delays.

How to avoid it: When choosing a financial translation company to work with, ensure they are highly knowledgeable in the governmental regulations in your target market. Additionally, linguists should be carefully selected so that you are only working with those translators who are extensively experienced in your financial sector. Translators who are experts in your field should be able to adapt easily to various legal requirements.

4. Not Implementing Strict Confidentiality Guidelines 

Finally, the fourth prevalent mistake made during localization involves privacy and confidentiality. When it comes to sensitive data, financial services companies are responsible for ensuring with utmost certainty that the data will stay entirely private and secure; a security breach will directly lead to costly lawsuits and will create tremendous financial losses. If the translation agency does not have a clear data security plan, that could result in enormous problems for the financial company.

How to avoid it: By contracting with a highly experienced financial translation agency, you can feel confident that the company understands the importance of ensuring privacy and confidentiality. As you seek a localization company, inquire about how they will secure these sensitive documents.  The agency’s security process should include data encryption, a translation management system, a secure infrastructure, and secure remote access. Additionally, make certain that the company is willing to sign non-disclosure agreements as an added layer of confidentiality.

Deciding to localize your products is a big step in your plan to bring your financial products to new markets. Avoid some of the most common mistakes by seeking a financial translation agency specializing in all sectors of the financial industry and having an excellent quality assurance process.


Financial localization can be challenging, mainly because there is a myriad of highly specialized sectors. As such, several mistakes can occur during the localization process. Here are four of the most common mistakes, along with ways to avoid them from occurring.

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