How to get a Certificate of Translation

Do you need a certificate of translation? If the answer is yes, then keep reading.

If you have some old documents lying around the house in a foreign language, it can be fun to have them translated. In those cases, all you need is someone fluent in the language to read them for you.

You don’t need them to be official translators because it’s merely for fun. But if it were a more serious issue, like a contract or a will, you should give official translation services serious consideration.

What Does Official Translation Mean?

This process is required for legally valid documents. Say, for example, that your divorce settlement is issued in a French court, but you’re now in the United States. If you want the terms of the agreement to be upheld, you’ll need a Certificate of Translation.

In the eyes of the law, this means that the translation is equal to the original. The only difference is in the language. These documents will generally need to be accompanied by a statement by a sworn or a certified translator.

In the statement, the translator will attest to the fact that their work is an accurate representation of the original. They are essentially swearing that the translation faithfully relays the information in the original document.

Is This Always Necessary?

No, not all documents need to be translated in this manner. However, documents that have a legal implication may need to be. Another example of when you might need a translation certification statement is when you need proof of your degree.

What if your qualifications were issued in a language other than English? You’d either have to have a certificate of this nature or hope the company that you’re applying to can interpret the document for themselves.

And, let’s be honest here, relying on that happy-yet-unlikely circumstance makes it more likely for your application to end up in the slush pile.

A certified translation is also useful if you’re conducting business internationally. Both parties should be able to read and understand what they’re signing. Which is fine if you both speak English, but tricky if there’s a language barrier.

What Makes a Translation Legally Valid?

That depends on the country. In the United States, for example, there is no such thing as a sworn translator. There are certified professionals, but the translation can always be challenged in court.

That said, there are different layers of credentials. In the case of a legally valid document, the translator must be familiar with the legal aspects of translation. They need to understand precisely what they are attesting to and what their responsibilities are. If a translator fails to translate a particular section of the document properly and a loss results, they may be held personally liable.

When in doubt, consult the consular authority of the country in question. Consular staff will be able to advise you exactly what the requirements are in terms of a legally valid translation.

Adding Content in Different Languages

It all starts with the translation, keeping the current regulations in mind. It’s essential that the translation matches the meaning of the source document as closely as possible.

Once the translation is complete, the translator usually reads both documents through again. Think of this as proofreading; the idea is to ensure that both documents convey the same meaning.

Depending on the country concerned, the translation may need to be stamped. The translator’s attestation of the document’s accuracy can be completed within such a stamp, or as a separate document, the certificate of translation.

The attestation will include the translator’s full name, the date, and a statement that the translation is an exact copy. In some instances, it may be necessary to attach an apostille—read on to learn more about that.

What is an Apostille?

This document is usually issued by the courts confirming the integrity of the original. These will typically be written in the language of the country they originate in, and do not need to be translated.

How Do I Get a Certificate of Translation?

Work with a reputable company or freelancer. It’s important to choose someone who has already established an excellent reputation—you need someone that you can trust to get the job done properly.

If it’s a legal or medical document, hiring a company with experienced staff in those areas makes good sense. Also, ensure that the company concerned can translate your document’s language.

From there, it’s simply a matter of finding out what the fees are, and what the procedure is. Ask up front how long the process will take, and when you can expect your documents back.

Then all that’s left is to submit the documents and wait for the translation. It’s as simple as that if you choose the translator wisely.