Top 10 Multilingual Annual Report Translation Tips

Action items for a smoother writing and translation process.

Annual report writers: we tip our hats to you. You pull off one of the toughest feats in the communications trade--and you do it up to four times every single year for an ever-growing audience.


Doing business globally means you may need to publish your financial statements in simplified Chinese. Or offer a French or Italian translation of your annual report to key shareholders. Or understand the marked differences in financial terminology between neighboring Switzerland and Germany. No wonder even financial-writing superheroes need a little assistance sometimes.

At Lionbridge, we understand the challenges of multilingual financial report translation, and we've got some ideas about how to ensure that the writing and translation process runs as smoothly as possible.


What makes a multilingual annual or quarterly report uniquely challenging?



Your company's annual report is first and foremost an important legal publication. The financial figures and information it discloses must be accurate, verified, and presented in the correct way. Precision is non-negotiable.




At the same time, the annual report is your company's flagship publication--the face it presents to the world. It needs to look professional and create a great impression. That requires a combination of readable, compelling business content and professional design and visuals.




Everyone wants their say. You need to combine input from the CEO, directors and other managers, accountants and auditors, your legal/compliance colleagues, the communications and marketing teams, and all other constituents--each of which has a slightly different objective. At the same time, you may be liaising with a design agency, a photographer, a translation partner, external writers, and printers. And don't forget the multiple rounds of approvals you'll need.




Your report also must be relevant to very different groups of readers, with varying levels of knowledge, who are looking for different things from your publication. Your audience will include regulators and stock exchanges, journalists, investors, analysts, staff, your suppliers--even your competitors will want to take a look.




To add another layer of complexity, you need to make sure your report is available in the right languages for each of your readers. And when unmissable deadlines are already tight (which they always are), translation turnarounds only add to the pressure.



How can Lionbridge streamline the process?

While we can't resolve every one of these headaches, we can centralize and streamline your process. A single expert translation services partner that can handle content creation, editing, translation, and proofreading across all languages means you have much less to worry about. When combined with meticulous planning, it can make a crucial difference.


Here at Lionbridge, our specialist financial translators have extensive experience in complex reporting projects. Together we can pre-empt many problems before they ever materialize.


Top 10 annual report translation tips:



1. Provide as much detail as possible, as early as possible

The earlier we know about your project schedule and translation volume, and the more information you provide, the easier it is for us to line up the best people for the job. If you can, send us some content ahead of time, which will cut down the amount of work at crunch time and could mean a faster delivery.



2. Build in a realistic window for translation

Even with modern technology, translation is a skilled process that takes time and thought. You want your translators to be able to solve terminology issues, understand how your company operates, have a feel for your style, and produce polished, effective text.


Of course, we also live in the real world of pressured deadlines. We will always work with you to meet time expectations.


3. Decide exactly what services you need

Which languages will your annual report be published in? Remember to specify whether you need US or UK English, Spanish for Latin America or for Spain, etc.--that way, we can select people with the right local knowledge and cultural understanding.


And don't forget that we offer much more than translation services. Can we write any sections of your report for you? How about proofreading final PDF versions in each language? Do you need an integration that connects our translation services with your content management system or any desktop publishing services? There's so much we can help with!


4. Send reference financial statements in the source and target languages

Typically, this will mean last year's annual report and your latest quarterly report. We will import your reference documents into our translation memory, which means we can process your annual report faster and more cost-effectively.


This also enables us to maintain consistency over time. But don't forget to tell us about areas for improvement--we're always eager to do better.


5. Provide specialized terminology and style rules

Do you have any glossaries or style guidelines that we should follow? Or would you like us to draw up any conventions for you?


If your glossary, existing translations, and official (e.g. IFRS) terminology are inconsistent in any way, which should we regard as authoritative? Let us know as much information as possible upfront, so we can maintain consistency and quality.


6. Disclose your technical requirements

Which publishing and content management systems do you use to produce your annual report? Which file formats will you provide us with, via which platform? And what precisely do you need back from us? Do you use a CAT (computer-assisted translation) tool? We haven't yet met a system we can't accommodate with enough notice.



7. Designate key contacts at your company

It's very helpful to designate a point person who can resolve queries from translators and make ultimate decisions on terminology. Together, we can define a process for securely and conveniently managing communications between linguists and your expert.



8. Connect everyone on the project

For example, we may need to liaise directly with your design agency. Are they fully briefed about requirements in each target language, or can we help define them?
For example, a typesetter in Switzerland may unknowingly apply German hyphenation (line break) rules to an English report. Correcting thousands of these at the proofreading stage wastes valuable time and drives up costs on both the linguistic and DTP sides.



9. Reveal any other concerns

Do you have any questions about our security standards? Would you like your annual report delivered in stages, for our translators to work on your premises, or to receive ongoing cost-monitoring? Tell us everything about the production of your annual report that matters to you, however big or small.



10. Think about what's next

Now that you've devised a seamless process, have you considered the benefits of digitizing your annual report? We can work with you to outline the possibilities and pitfalls.


We'd love to help you plan and produce your annual report. Our dedicated financial translators have the knowledge and experience to write, edit, and translate your financial reports for you:


  • into any language

  • upholding tight schedules

  • with the highest quality

  • to the highest security standards.


Contact us to find out more!


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