Translation and the boundaries of a specialisation

In this third contribution I would like to share some brief thoughts on the boundaries of a specialisation in the field of translation.

Perhaps not everyone knows (or reflects with sufficient awareness on the fact) that there are some areas of specialisation for technical and scientific translators whose boundaries are not always easy to establish. As I have been able to ascertain over the years, one of these is undoubtedly the insurance sector: as part of my professional activity, I have dealt with translation projects (specifically, from German into Swiss Italian) of insurance documentation containing insurance, legal and medical terminology. One cannot therefore avoid thinking about how much knowledge, skills and expertise may be required of a professional translator in certain sectors. This is certainly a challenge, but undoubtedly one of the most interesting and stimulating aspects of the translator’s profession.


Financial translation: not just numbers

Financial translation is not just about numbers. In this second contribution, I would like to share some brief reflections gained in the context of my activity of revising financial translations (newsletters addressed to investors) from German and English into Italian and Swiss Italian.

Among the financial translations I edit (from German and English into Swiss Italian and Italian) are investor newsletters written by financial institutions, which contain analyses of the political and economic effects on financial markets. Hence the idea of this short contribution, which I hope will be useful to better understand my working method in this field.

Translating or proofreading financial texts clearly presupposes knowledge and understanding of the concepts. However, there are many aspects that need to be taken into account in order to produce a good financial text, such as a newsletter, for example. Here is a short list of them:

  • numbers, figures, facts: I often find it useful to check that they are correct, even in the news reports in major newspapers or specialised news portals. Their consultation is also valuable for terminology or certain expressions used;
  • style: it is essential to pay attention to the ‘tone of voice’ used, the target audience (in the country) of the publication, often a ‘theme’ referred to in the text. Personally, I prefer to revise e.g. titles, graphics captions, etc. only after revising individual paragraphs or even the whole text, in order not to risk ‘losing’ potential general references. It is essential to take care of the style: lexical choices must be carefully considered to ensure the use of the appropriate style for this type of text. Attention must also be paid to the correct rendering in context of idiomatic expressions that may occur frequently in texts: it is often not enough to provide a literal translation of them but, on the contrary, research and reflection must be carried out in order to identify an equivalent expression that ‘works’ and makes sense in the specific context;
  • layout: this may seem trivial and obvious, but it is also essential to check the correspondence between the layout of the source text and that of the target text.

In my opinion, it is therefore essential to approach the translation and revision of this type of text with due awareness of the skills required to ensure a quality publication for the target audience.