Investing overseas – at what point do you call in financial translation services?

Investing overseas isn’t for the faint-hearted. There’s plenty to consider, not least the potential language barriers. So, how much can you achieve on your own and at what point do you need to call in financial translation services to help you out? Let’s consider…


When don’t you need financial translation to invest overseas?

Whether you’re investing in stocks and shares or on the hunt for the perfect rental property, there are plenty of lucrative opportunities overseas property. As with any investment, it’s essential to do your due diligence and to speak to your financial advisor. However, there’s plenty of tasks that you can undertake to get started and that you won’t need a professional on hand to translate finance or legal documents for. 

With programmes such as Google Translate at your disposal, there’s plenty that you can achieve before transforming your financial reports into various languages with financial translation services. One example is researching potential investments. There’s a vast amount of information online, ready and waiting for you to analyse it. While translating with a computer won’t deliver the same high-quality results that a financial translation services will, it should certainly suffice for a bit of background research. 

And there’s plenty of that kind of research to undertake. According to figures for 2019 (let’s face it, any figures relating to 2020 just can’t be compared with a ‘normal’ year), the UK’s total stock of FDI invested overseas stood at £1.50 trillion. That figure marked an increase from £1.45 trillion in 2018. The UK’s outward investment flow is huge and any investor seeking to be a part of it will have a whole heap of reading to do before they decide where to put their cash. All of which can be done without financial translation services. 

What do you need translation for?

Undertaking your own market research can only get you so far. At some point, if you’re investing overseas, you’re likely to need financial translation – and potentially a linguist to look over your legal documentation as well. 

This is not to imply that your investment will be conducted entirely in a foreign language. There are plenty of companies out there that offer investment deals in English – but if the original details and contracts are written in another language and then translated before they are given with you, it pays to be cautious and use your own financial translation service to double check that the translated copies marry up to the originals. 

A financial translation expert can also help you to undertake the more detailed due diligence that you’ll need before investing with a foreign company – poring over their annual accounts, for example, and checking their insurances, bank guarantees or any other documentation that relates to the investment deal. 

This is particularly true when you’re investing online. Given that the number of people travelling in/out of the UK in 2020 dropped by 75%, and that restrictions remain in place (at the time of writing) regarding travelling overseas, many investors who might otherwise hop on a plane to check out the local landscape where they’re considering investing are now having to make do with forming digital connections instead. Doing so can save time, money and effort (not to mention the planet), but it also removes a degree of certainty that visiting somewhere in person can help to provide. Decent financial translations can go some way towards redressing this. 

The importance of using specialist financial translation services 

There are plenty of language-related tasks that can be undertaken by talented linguists who provide general translation services. However, when it comes to investment-related translation financial expertise is a must. Financial literacy will improve your negotiating position and help to ensure that you are on the right side of any trade.

Financial translation services don’t just provide linguists, they provide translators who hold financial qualifications and who have plenty of real-world experience of converting financial documents from one language to another. 

When it comes to your own financial translation needs, but sure to question the service you use about the translator who will be working on your documents. The company may boast decades of experience, but how long has the particular person who will be working on your documents been translating for? And how relevant is their experience to the kinds of documents you need translated? 

It’s important to ask such questions to ensure that you have access to a translator who is used to working on investment deals. The same applies, of course, if you also need an interpreter to help you broker deals over the phone/internet – their experience needs to be both extensive and highly relevant. Financial advice in any language is important.

Finally, there’s the question of language. Seek out a translator who is a native English speaker, if you’re converting documents into English, or a native speaker of the language you’re translating into, if your needs work that way around. Either way, a native speaker of the target language is more likely to deliver higher quality results than a native speaker of the source language. And when it comes to financial translation services to help you invest overseas, high quality results are essential.