The profile of the ideal financial translator

Published on 30/03/2021

Translators specialized in economics are professionals with various hats. Although some have reached this stage without following the traditional curriculum, the typical profile continues to require a strong background in translation as well as finance.

José Gambín, one of the founders of the translation agency AbroadLink Translations, states in a article on the particularities of financial translation that the translation business is very demanding: it requires rigour and total involvement.


The ideal training for financial translation

The ideal training for financial translation

It is possible to distinguish between two types of suitable profiles for financial translators: those with financial training in language studies and those with dual training in languages and economics.

In the first category, we have applied foreign language courses with a focus on economics and business, complemented by a master's degree in specialized translation or a master's degree in economic and financial translation. We can find further information in depth in this article of Elena Alcalde: «Twin specialization in legal and financial translation: links and training needs in Spain».

Financial translation and the requirement to master English

Financial translation and the requirement to master English

In the second category of ideal courses to work in financial translation, we can include training in business schools. Keep in mind that to access these centres you must take an English translation test, which students can take in preparatory classes in economics and commerce.

Whatever they are the working languages of a financial translator, a command of English is essential, the finance language par excellence. Many English financial terms are not translated, but are used as is.

The economic skills of the ideal financial translator

The economic skills of the ideal financial translator

A good financial translator must be able to understand and analyse economic documents from fields as diverse as international trade and micro or macroeconomics.

So you need to know:

Accounting principles

  • The terms used to prepare budgets, balance sheets, cash registers, etc.
  • How taxation works
  • The terminology used in financial and tax audit reports
  • The operation of the Stock Exchange and exchanges in international markets

A demanding financial world for translators

A demanding financial world for translators

A economic and financial translator, whether you work in a financial translation agency as if you do it as a freelancer, you have to live with the times. You need to be interest in the world of finance and keep up to date with financial news.

If you have to translate blog or press articles, you may be required to be familiar with modern financial products and official translations into the target language (when the English term is not commonly used).

Finance is a field that has evolved a lot with the rise of information technologies and the emergence of new financial systems and assets.

For example:

  • Algorithmic trading
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Derivatives like binary options
  • Finance and electronic banking
  • Structured products: ABS (asset-backed securities), CDO (collateralised debt obligation), CDS (credit default swap)

Economic and financial translation is a complex and difficult task: a challenge for the freelance translator. Sanjiv R. Das's article: «Text and Context: Language Analytics in Finance» provides an in-depth analysis of this reality. That is why we recommend that you always go to a professional translation agency to carry out your translations in this sector.

Here we present you a detailed profile of the ideal financial translator. It is clear that many excellent translators in the business world do not have the same training, which does not prevent them from being the best in their field.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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