//Translations FAQ 101 – The translation questions YOU are asking #4

What is a Certified Translation? Today’s FAQ is about translation of official documents and how they need official certification in the translated form. Let’s find out!

FAQ’s asked by you:

Q: What is a Certified Translation?

A: A certified translation is an official document that needs to be presented to a business entity or government agency requiring an officially translated version of that form. It legitimizes the legal nature of official or notarized documents. They are looking for someone to say that the document you are presenting to them, be it in Russian, French or Vietnamese, is a document they can trust to be real.

When the need for this arises, a “Certified Translation” is required. This need is international.

Here are a few examples: Are you someone preparing to live in a foreign country? If so, we recommend getting all of your official documents translated before you leave the USA. This will help make the move seamless and reduce your stress when entering a new culture.

What if you are a company welcoming new employees to a foreign destination? You should help your employees identify the documents they will need, resources and organizations that will benefit them upon arrival.

Here are some of the types of certified documents that have crossed our desk over the years: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services documents (USCIS), passport or visa renewals, legal or banking forms and university transcripts.

Here is the good news. It is much easier and less complicated than you might think. Your translation agency’s responsibility is to take an original document you provide and transpose the content into another language.

We provide the translation by a qualified or in-country certified, professional that can perform the translation. Your responsibility is to provide a copy of the original to the translation house. A copy can be made at the time of transaction.  (We do not recommend you part with an original document).  Be aware that the translation company cannot authenticate that the document you present to them is authentic. They will simply translate the documents.

When you turn your documents to the entity requesting a certified translation, this is what you will need to provide them:

  • A copy of the original source language document (the legalized version)
  • The translated version translated by the professional translator
  • Translator’s Certificate of Accuracy that she/he signs before a notary. This is a statement on company letterhead that attests to the translator’s qualifications to translate the language in question and attests that the translation is true and accurate to the best of her knowledge, information, and belief. You should walk away with items in bullets 2 and 3 and with at least two copies of the translated document. It is worth having more than one translated document.

This practice happens in many countries around the world and not just in the United States. You can expect to pay in the range of $75 and $125 with simple formatting for 1-2 pages. If special formatting is required, you can expect to pay in the range of $50. Additional costs include $25 for the Certificate of Accuracy.

Standard turnaround time for this can be anywhere from 3-5 days depending on the number of words contained in the source document and the type of formatting required from the time you provide a copy of the original documents.

Certified Translations Overseas

When it comes to having translated documents going to other countries,  you can expect the following  additional steps.

  • An apostille. You may need to first obtain an apostille that authenticates the legal nature of official or notarized documents.  For Mexico, in order to present your U.S. birth and marriage certificates, you are required to present official  (government issued) certificates from the state government, with an apostille which verifies that these are official documents. See: Apostille conveniton.
  • A second apostille is required to verify the official nature of the notarized translator’s certificate.  Every state’s Secretary of State will provide simple description of the notarization and apostille processes for countries like Mexico, Russia and the United Kingdom for example. Allow another seven days at a minimum for this process.

Certified Translators or Sworn Translators

Not all countries have “certified” or “sworn” translators. Some countries require official translations to be produced by a translator who has been authorized by the government of that country.  Canada, Argentina and Belgium are among those having these requirements. When needing certified translations, we have to rely on professional and qualified translators who do not have those credentials but who have reputable track records.