Transaction vs Translation Exposure

Transaction exposure impacts a forex transaction’s cash flow whereas translation exposure has an impact on the valuation of assets, liabilities etc shown in balance sheet.

Multi-national enterprises are posed with both transaction exposure as well as translation exposure as a part of international financial management decisions. Any company with international operations has to deal with foreign exchange risk resulting in different positions on cash flows and balance sheet. Comparing transaction exposure vs. translation exposure is equivalent to comparing cash flow accounting treatment vs. book accounting treatment or managing cash flow risk vs. balance sheet risk.

Transaction vs Translation Exposure

Transaction vs.Translation Exposure

Let us understand the difference between Transaction and Translation exposure covering the following points of difference.

Points of Difference Transaction Exposure Translation Exposure


Transaction exposure impacts the cash flow movement and arises while conducting purchase and sale transactions in different currencies. Translation exposure is not a cash flow change and arises as a result of consolidating results of a foreign subsidiary. Translation exposure is usually driven by legal requirement asking the parent company to consolidate financials

Need of Foreign Affiliate

For a transaction exposure to arise, the parent company doesn’t necessarily need to have a foreign affiliate or a subsidiary Translation exposure can arise only when a parent company is consolidating financials of a foreign affiliate or subsidiary

Gain / Loss

Transaction exposure results in realized gain or losses Translation exposure results in notional / book gain or losses

Timing Impact

Transaction exposure arises the moment a company enters into a transaction involving foreign currency and commits to make or receive payment in currency other than its domestic currency Translation exposure arises on the balance sheet consolidation date and is at the end of a given financial period (quarter or year)

Firm Value Impact

Because a transaction exposure has an actual cash flow impact, it impacts the value of a company Since the translation exposure doesn’t create any cash flow impact, the value of a company doesn’t change due to this type of exposure


Transaction exposure measures gain or loss to the cash flow on account of forex movements. In case of loss, the cash flows reduce and hence you get tax benefit on the loss and vice versa Translation exposure is a measurement concept rather than dealing with actual cash flow impact on account of forex. Hence, there is no tax exemption or benefit available on losses due to translation exposure
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Sanjay Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

Sanjay Borad is the founder & CEO of eFinanceManagement. He is passionate about keeping and making things simple and easy. Running this blog since 2009 and trying to explain "Financial Management Concepts in Layman's Terms".

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