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Translating your annual report: what not to forget

Do you engage in international transactions? Are there foreign stakeholders? Is there a possible takeover by a foreign party or are you involved in a takeover? If so, you probably have to translate your annual report or financial statements. This may even be a recurring feature for some firms. What is important and what is essential to remember? We’ve compiled a list of key takeaways.

  • Start preparations and planning in good time
  • Opt for a specialised translation company
  • Coordinate preferred terminology and company jargon
  • Ensure the consistency of the translation
  • Safeguard the confidentiality of sensitive and confidential information

Start the preparations and planning of your annual report in good time

Every year, the year-end closing and drafting the annual report take up a lot of time. As does the planning of translating the annual report. Some organisations start as early as December with the first chapters of their annual report, whilst other organisations start later. Naturally, we are not privy to your time schedule but we advise you to start planning the translation in good time. The translation of the annual report can be scheduled in different ways:

  • You only translate the final, definitive version of the annual report. In many organisations, several persons read and check the annual report which means that in practice the draft report is subject to a series of amendments. Interim changes to the translation are not required if you only translate the definitive version. This is more cost-effective.
  • You can also opt to run the translation process parallel to the drafting of the annual report. The translators work on the translation as you draft the annual report and they incorporate the amendments into the translation on a rolling basis. This is time-efficient. This option has another advantage. During the translation process it often becomes clear that certain phrases or passages could be formulated more clearly. This can then be resolved immediately.

Opt for specialised translators for your annual report

Did you know that the use of two or more translators for the translation of an annual report is often a good idea? Professional translators who each have their own expertise. Annual reports consist of different sections, each with a different kind of text.

Translating a directors’ report

The first section of the report calls for a translator who not only has extensive knowledge of financial terminology, but also of the company‚Äôs operations and the sector in question. Depending on the type of business, the terminology can differ widely. Is it for an accounting firm, an IT company or a shipbuilder? This section also requires flair and fluency. A professional translator who is also a native speaker is therefore recommended. The directors’ report must hold the reader’s attention; it is a PR story.

Translating financial statements

Financial statements require a specialised financial translator who has in-depth knowledge of financial terminology. This calls for a translator with in-depth knowledge of finance and accounting, someone who knows which terminology to use (e.g. IFRS) and where to find the relevant information (e.g. on the websites of the Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Dutch association of independent accounting firms or the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets).

Proofreading your annual report

As an additional safeguard, you can opt for a proofreader. For the best end product, we recommend using a financial translator who is a native speaker of the language of the original report. This translator checks and revises the translation and pays close attention to the nuances as only a native speaker can. Attention is also drawn to other aspects, such as terminology, consistency and readability. If you draft your annual report directly in English, German or French, we likewise recommend using a professional financial translator to check the text. The proofreader ensures that the text of your report is linguistically correct, that the content is accurate and that it reads well.

In need of a certified translation?

You don’t always need a sworn translation of your annual report or financial statements. If, however, you do because a foreign body so requires or for other reasons, you must use the services of a sworn translator who is registered with the Dutch Register of Sworn Interpreters and Translators. The translation is certified by means of a stamp and declaration by the sworn translator and “inextricably bound to” the source text. You will receive this certified translation by post.

Coordinate preferred terminology and company jargon

Chances are that your organisation or your client has some preferred terminology. Do you have a glossary or a list of these preferred terms? Or perhaps you have examples of previously translated texts? This can help you to prepare a term base. Sharing this with the translators ensures that everyone uses the organisation’s preferred terminology, including in the translation.

Ensure the consistency of the translation

The terms that are used in the translation of the financial statements and the directors’ report must be consistent. Consistency is key; it promotes readability and precludes confusion on the reader’s part.

Safeguard the confidentiality of sensitive and confidential information

You know better than anyone else how important it is to deal carefully with potentially confidential information in your organisation’s or your client’s annual report or financial statements. Sign an agreement or an NDA with the translators that you use and check if they work in a secure IT environment. You can then confidently outsource translation services to them.

In need of a certified translation?

You don’t always need a sworn translation of your annual report or financial statements. If, however, you do because a foreign body so requires or for other reasons, you must use the services of a sworn translator who is registered with the Dutch Register of Sworn Interpreters and Translators. The translation is certified by means of a stamp and declaration by the sworn translator and “inextricably bound to” the source text. You will receive this certified translation by post.

Outsourcing the translation of your annual report

At financial translation company Fiducia, we specialise in translating documents for the financial sector. Fiducia provides translations to accountants, consultants, banks, investment firms, fintech companies and many others. Translating annual reports is Fiducia’s core business and we have many years of experience in that field. Fiducia is ideally suited to meet your translation needs. We will gladly help you out with the translation of your annual report!

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