Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Specialising in Financial Translation

Guest post by Rebekka Wellmanns

If you’ve ever wanted to specialise in financial translation, then this two-part webinar series by Javier Gil, a highly specialised and experienced financial translator, is well worth listening to.

The first session covered:
  • What is financial translation
  • Features of financial language
  • Generic problems in financial translation
  • Types of texts
The second covered:
  • Specialisation
  • Reasons for specialising
  • How to specialise
  • The specialised market
  • Trends and prospects within the sector
  • Going freelance or in-house

Financial translation can be challenging yet rewarding. It is an often overlooked yet very lucrative field.

One of the defining characteristics of financial translation is that it is forward looking, and translators in this area  need an excellent knowledge of current affairs. Context is key as it is very closely linked to political, social and demographic affairs.

Financial translation not only involves a high degree of technicality but also shares many common features with everyday language. This means translators in this field need to be aware of the technical terms as well as the everyday use of words, metaphors and neologisms, etc.

What stood out for me was Javier’s description of the movement for the use of plain language in financial translation. This is one of the reasons why we, as translators, have to remember to work on improving on the source text where appropriate, for example if it contains unnecessarily verbose language.

Javier highlighted some of the generic problems involved in translating financial texts, and provided helpful strategies in dealing with these, and discussed some of the characteristics of certain types of financial texts and what to look out for.

Documents are increasingly specialised these days, and competing on price alone is not advisable. This is one of the main reasons for specialising in financial texts. There is a scarcity of good financial translators and recruitment by large financial institutions is ongoing.

Javier named a long list of companies which he knows recruit translators on a regular basis. He also provided a list of specialised boutique agencies which specialise in financial translations.

However, it can be difficult to specialise in this field  as there is a lack of training courses in the field of financial translation. Based on his considerable experience, Javier was able to share some great recommendations for training courses in this area.

Javier also addressed in detail some resources to help translators hone their specialisation, from relatively cheap (book recommendations, websites, forums and the press) to more expensive options (postgraduate university courses and CPD).

He also covered prospects and market trends in the industry, and the kind of things prospective financial translators needs to become familiar with, such as CAT tools.

Javier ended the webinar series with a matrix of the in-house versus freelancing paradigm, and the importance of professional indemnity insurance.

Originally broadcast in November 2010. Contact us for details on how to access the recordings of these webinars.


Our guest author is Rebekka Wellmanns, a Spanish to English translator with a background in music, linguistics and education. She is also the author of a widely-read translation blog, and tweets at @WellRebekka.