For every company, the start of a new year inevitably means the task of drawing up the financial statements for the year that has just ended. And we all know how complex these documents are and how much care and precision goes into their drafting. If your financial statements need translating, first and foremost use a professional service that assures you top class skills and absolute precision.
This said, there are other important factors you should not underestimate….
5 useful hints for optimising the translation of your financial statements.
- Only editable files
Make sure that all parts of the documents for translation can be modified, including the tables! It is very important to enter Balance Sheet, Profit And Loss Account and Note data in file formats and not as images. This allows the translator to overwrite all the original texts with the translation. This means that once the translation is complete, the layout of the file produced will be immaculate, with no more work required!
- Authentication and legalisation: allow enough time!
Often financial statements have to be not only translated but also authenticated (or sworn) and sometimes legalised as well, for participation in foreign tenders. These procedures take several days more than translation alone. Check at once whether the country of destination requires not only the authentication of the translation but also legalisation, meaning certification of the authenticity of the Clerk of the Court’s signature on the authentication affidavit.
And don’t forget: before authentication, the translator also has to check that the file you sent for translation corresponds in every detail to the original, paper document he will be swearing at the Law Court. Minor differences are common (the final document may include extra pages – a cover, a declaration, a receipt for stamp duty and taxes, etc.). This check and any additions to the translation increase costs and take time. Bear this in mind if you have deadlines to meet!
- No changes
Make sure the document you send for translation is the complete, definitive text. Once the job has been started, making changes is expensive in terms of both time and money.
- Numbers: clear instructions
And now we come to the numbers. Financial statements contain whole columns of them. But in the world’s various languages, numbers are not always written in the same way … In Italy, we are all used to using a dot to separate thousands and a comma for decimals. And in the other languages?
In English, and most Asia and Middle Eastern languages (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, etc.), thousands are separated with a comma and decimals by a decimal point. In French, a space is used to separate thousands. The same applies in Russian, but only for numbers with 5 or more figures (so 3000 but 10 000). In Switzerland, thousands are also separated with an apostrophe (e.g.. 1’000.-). In Arabic, it is also preferable to use Arabic numerals. And so on.
There is yet another complicating factor: separators cannot be replaced if the financial statements have been drawn up in Excel, because the program automatically adapts the numbers to the language set for the operating system. To avoid confusion and misunderstandings, it can be better to leave the numbers column unchanged in the translation. For all these reasons, it is essential always to give the translator clear instructions on how to proceed.
- Original currency or dual currency
Always specify whether you want to maintain the original currency or indicate some values in two currencies (e.g. EUR/USD, EUR/GBP, etc.). In the latter case, the currency exchange rate to be used for the conversion should also be stated.
The above are just a few simple tips, but within the economics of a complex operation like translation of a set of financial statements, they really make a huge difference!
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