The Translation of Financial Texts

We have mentioned before that it is highly important to work professionally and strictly on translating and revising texts, not only to offer a product that contains the highest quality and is 100% equivalent to the original text, but also to avoid potential problems related to an error-ridden translation, which can, especially when dealing with financial or commercial texts, be highly important since the quality of the translation can affect the signing of contracts worth millions of dollars or even cause a company to lose millions of dollars as the result of an error.

I would like to take this time to make a brief summary on some of the main aspects to consider when working on an financial or commercial translation:


It is immediately apparent that this is one of the fundamental aspects that must be considered very carefully. It is essential that no number is added, eliminated, changed, or moved. Also to be considered is the punctuation and annotation system in the target country, since the period/decimal system changes between the English-speaking world and the Spanish-speaking world.

False cognates

Another important problem are the “false friends” that can lead us to believe that we are doing an accurate translation when in reality we are translating something incorrectly. Some of the most common examples in English for a Spanish audience would be:

Controller: the literal translation would be “controlador”, but the correct translation is “supervisor financiero (de una empresa)”.

Hedge fund: the literal translation would be “fondo defensivo”, whereas the correct translation is “fondo de inversión de alto riesgo”.


This is possibly the most common problem for financial and commercial text translations, since new terms are created at a dizzying rate and language professionals do not have time to create a standard translation that applies to all individual markets. Thus, the translator must make the decision on his or her own and decide on a word or phrase that is adequate for the document and the target language and country.


It is quite common to see abbreviations in these sorts of texts and, quite often, they are extremely rare and known only in the sphere of financial experts. It is therefore recommended that all translators take classes in the field in order to become completely familiar with all of the acronyms used in the profession as well as the proper translations.

Other typical issues with this type of document are:

  • Figures of speech such as “bull” or “bear” (alcista and bajista)
  • Puns
  • Currency abbreviations
  • Polysemes

It is thus very important to underscore the importance of relying on professional translators to perform financial translations who offer high-quality services and understand the significant ramifications that poor quality or incorrect translations can have for a company or institution.

(Spanish version: