The purchase by a foreign person or company of real estate in the United States, especially if the purchase is financed by an American bank, requires the review by the bank of tax, legal and financial documents from the buyer’s home country. Now, add the twist that the buyer wants to buy in the name of a corporation organized under Spanish law. A mortgage loan officer checks the “foreign, corporate borrower” section of his manual and informs the buyer that the incorporation documents (with any amendments), bank account statements and corporate income tax returns must be submitted to the bank for review. The buyer dutifully compiles this documentation and delivers it to the loan officer, who, upon further review, discovers that the documents must be translated into English.

Most people are intimidated by tax, legal and financial documents, which is part of the reason why CPAs and lawyers exist. But if you could bring yourself to look at your tax forms and financial statements, you’d find that most of the boxes in a completed tax form or financial statement go blank. Continuing with our Spanish corporation, if it is solely dedicated to the operation of three restaurants in Sevilla, then all of the questions regarding income derived from crops, investments, livestock, etc. will be blank. The bank that is considering the loan application will probably not care about all the industries in which the borrower does not participate. If logic holds, the bank will be concerned about the industry in which the prospective borrower does participate as well as key financial information, such as the gross revenue generated, the costs of the business, the loans owed by the business, debt-service payments, the business’s cash-on-hand, and the business’s profit (or loss).

Similarly, corporation documents may have significant portions of text dedicated to matters that are completely irrelevant to the bank in our example. With our own eyes, we have seen foreign incorporation documents spell out in detail every type of business activity in which the corporation may participate. The lender bank in our example should be primarily interested in whether the prospective borrower is an active corporation under Spanish law, whether it may purchase real estate abroad, and the requirements that must be met for the purchase to be deemed an authorized corporate act, including conditions for borrowing.

At TransForma, we believe that knowing the purpose of the translation leads to a better-finished product. Our translators’ experience in the legal, business and financing world means that they have often participated in the very same type of transaction currently being considered. We often tell our clients that a summary translation, which only addresses those portions of the source documents that are relevant to the transaction at hand, may be sufficient. We also suggest that our clients inquire if a summary translation is all they need. Many times it is indeed, and we can deliver a quality summary translation for a lower price, and in less time, than if the entire documents had been translated.

We’d love to be considered for your next translation project. Contact us at, or call us at 305-722-3827.