10 Apr Asset Managers: How to Get Your Commentaries Right in Every Language
For most investment managers, every month presents the fresh challenge of producing accurate and informative factsheets and commentaries about their funds. These commentaries are usually a legal requirement and they need to be well-written and distributed in a timely manner to investors.
For asset managers who want to put out commentaries and factsheets in multiple languages, the challenges multiply – speed and accuracy remain critical, of course, but in addition, every translation needs to capture not just the language, but also the tone and the style of the source material.
We’ve noticed a growing trend among investment managers to publish factsheets as quickly after month end as possible, before releasing the extended commentary several days later. This means the factsheet can go out speedily, unhindered by the commentary, then more time can be devoted to writing the commentary and giving further detail and depth as to what has been happening in markets and to the fund. For asset managers with multiple international markets to cover, this means even more material will need to be translated.
Successful translation partnerships
As specialised linguists, we have plenty of experience in setting up excellent working relationships with asset managers, allowing us to translate and process commentaries as smoothly as possible.
Putting a great working relationship in place involves several important steps. But the key is delivering timely, excellent translations that capture not just the content, but also the style and tone of the source material. So how to go about setting a good partnership in place?
The first step is for the translation company to do some test translations of the investment manager’s commentaries and factsheets, well ahead of live production. Even better, two different linguistic teams should do the trial translations, so that the closest fit from a pool of specialist writers can be determined.
To make sure the test is as successful as possible, the asset manager should provide previous translations and approved glossaries to ensure the writers have the best chance of capturing the source material’s precise meaning and tone in the chosen new language.
For a translator, there are options for every single word, and having not just an understanding but also a feel for the source material is critical to be able to convey it in the new language. Translating is a subtle and creative art, and a good translator listens for the voice of the original material to try to convey this voice in the new language. Good translators sensitively ‘author’ new documents, and do not robotically translate word for word. This allows the translation to flow in its new language; it will use the correct terms and idioms, and will not jar with the reader.
An asset manager with complex financial commentaries to translate needs a specialist translator who understands the language of investment and can create documents that are clear, accurate and compliant.
When the test piece has been written, we recommend that the asset manager invests the time required to give the translation company detailed feedback to ensure that the style, tone and brand of the company is fully captured. This feedback can then be used to create style guidelines and revised glossaries that detail the client’s preferred word and phrase choices. Translation memory tools can also be used to guarantee that the client’s preferences are adhered to.
Once both parties are happy that the translations are hitting the mark and that a good understanding and working relationship is developing, it’s time to move into live production.
Good translation companies will appreciate that the quality of the translations plus the speed and the security of the process are all-important factors.
Although it will take time, it’s important for the translation company to have ongoing feedback from the client throughout the live production process, certainly until the client is absolutely satisfied that the translators are effortlessly capturing the style and voice of the source material. The more time that’s invested in getting this right in the early stages, the better the long-term working relationship is likely to be.
Robust style guidelines, enhanced glossaries and translation notes can be compiled during this early process, which the translation company can then use to create documents that capture the client’s style and brand, and to train other translators who may join the process later on.
Producing a raft of monthly commentaries and factsheets is usually a major time challenge for investment managers, and translators do appreciate that not everything will arrive on time. However, getting material to the translators well within deadline will help to ensure that the preferred linguistic teams will be available and scheduled to work on the material.
Another challenging area is the linking of tech systems so that asset managers and translators can exchange material as smoothly as possible. It may take time and some technical expertise to establish connections between an asset manager’s content-management system and the translator’s system, but once they are working together, there will almost certainly be time savings.
Like most successful partnerships, if both sides invest the time and effort required to understand and anticipate one another’s needs, they should be able to forge a positive and long-lasting working relationship – one that gets the right message out in every language, month after month.