Financial texts are characterized by particular detail and accuracy. Not only do they seek precision in language but they also need swift transmission of the information. It is important that translation does not waste the economic brevity which is indeed the main attribute that makes these texts especially interesting and useful.
It is essential not to omit, add or change anything regarding the values or the underlying words and phrases. Texts containing a lot of numbers have to be localized according to the annotation and punctuation requirements in the target country. A good example of this is date format – date/month/year. One can’t help but notice just how different it is in Bulgaria compared to certain English-speaking countries…
Another important thing is to bear in mind the various standards in countries with decimal and non-decimal based number systems.
The translator not only has to convert inches into centimeters but also has to be familiar with the formatting rules for texts consisting both of words and numbers.
Here are some of the most common mistakes when translating financial texts:
Choice of words according to their similarity in appearance and not according to their meaning. This type of mistake is quite risky as many of the terms in both languages are of Greek and Latin or of French origin. Take, for example, the English word “line” which in many cases would be translated in its literal sense. This is not the case in Bulgarian where this word has the same meaning as the English “ruler”. “Line” can also mean “a sequence of letters and numbers”, translated as “series” in Bulgarian.
Unnecessary use of borrowings despite the existence of Bulgarian equivalents. Unfortunately, this has been a common problem not only among translators. Let’s take the word “attach” by way of example. Almost everybody would rather say “атачвам” which is “attach + the Bulgarian suffix вам” instead of its Bulgarian translation “прикрепям”, or as the case is with “delete”: “дилийтвам“ (“delete + the Bulgarian suffix вам“) instead of the Bulgarian “унищожавам“. In such cases we adapt the English words to the Bulgarian language using suffixes, instead of making use of our beautiful language. But we should not be relieved by the fact that this is not a Bulgarian phenomenon only.
In this sense, the translator’s engagement is very responsible, as negligence of similar issues would lead to redundancy.
In Part 2, we will continue discussing common mistakes when translating financial texts.