Official Translation Services

Danilo Coviello

Official document translation

The translation of an official document is often required by government authorities to confirm that its representative contents are valid and represent a faithful translation of the original copy. An official document translation is always accompanied by a translation certification from the translator. It is printed on company letterhead and features a statement of truth to certify that the translation has been professionally carried out by a translator or translation team. 

The practice of official document translation is adopted in many countries, both in Europe and worldwide. There are different kinds of official translations, the requirements for which vary from country to country. In the UK, for example, you only need a certified translation into English or Welsh, whereas European countries such as France, Italy and Spain, may require a sworn translation by a certified linguist.

The most common documents requiring official translation are: personal documents, including passports, birth certificates, divorce documentation, marriage certificates, death certificates and academic certificates, and business documents, such as court papers, medical device instructions and legal contracts.

The accurate translation of official documents is crucial as government requirements must be met to guarantee their legal validity. This is why when translating documents such as these, you should employ a professional translation agency with experience and knowledge in translating documents for official purposes.

Espresso Translations is highly experienced in offering language translation for official and legal documents. Whether you need certified, sworn, legalised or notarised translation, we can help. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service team will discuss your requirements with you and help you understand exactly which level of certification meets your needs.

official translation in different countries

What is an official translation in the UK?

Official translation in the UK is known as certified translation. Certified translation services are carried out by a qualified translator or certified translation team and are used for official purposes within the UK. All public entities in the UK require a certified translation of foreign documents that are translated to English or Welsh for official applications or procedures.

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As an ISO-certified translation provider, we have a team of more than 1000 native English translators that provide high quality translations for official use and that are guaranteed acceptance by all UK public institutions. These include the UK passport office, the Home Office, Companies House and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). All of our translators hold either a translation qualification or over 5 years of experience in providing language services.

What are certified translation services?

This type of translation includes a statement from a professional translator certifying that it’s a “true and accurate translation of the original document” and it is signed and stamped by the translator or translation company. It differs from standard translation in that certified translations are accepted by government organisations, such as the UK Home Office, UK courts, UK Foreign Office or other public sector entities.

What is a sworn translation?

Sworn translations are certified translations but completed by an accredited or court-approved translator who swears an oath in front of a public official. These types of translations are usually required in common-law countries, such as into Italian, French and Spanish.

Some countries may require that administrative duties or fees be paid for the sworn translation to be considered legal. Additionally, sworn translations usually take longer than certifying a translation, as the sworn translator has to get an appointment with the local court. 

Notarized translation

A notarised translation involves having a notary public add their seal and signature to the translation certificate. Their involvement does not guarantee the accuracy of the translation, they only verify the identity and qualifications of the translator. It is important to note that a notary public is not the same as a solicitor. Notarisation is usually only requested in the private sector in the UK and is not normally required by government agencies.

Legalised translation

A legalised translation, often used for foreign visa and immigration purposes, requires an apostille. Legalised translations may be required in Hague Convention countries that make use of sworn translations. Legalisation can be considered an additional step to sworn translation, whereby an apostille validates the signature of the public official that the translator swore an oath in front of.

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If you need to submit official translations abroad or to the UK government and aren’t sure exactly which professional service you need, our project managers will answer your questions and provide any information you need. Get in touch to see how we can help.

Official translations

How do I get an official translation of documents in the UK?

To get an official translation of documents in the UK, you will first need to contact a certified translation agency that provides professional translations. When searching for the right professional, attention should be paid to the following: 

  • Look for companies with experience in the language that you need your document translated into. Check online reviews to see responses from previous clients. You should also verify whether the certified translator is ISO certified (17100:2015) or a member of a translation association, such as the Association of Translation Companies or the Institute of Linguists.
  • When you have selected a high quality translation provider, send them your documentation together with your translation requirements and request a quote. It is always good to check the company has a privacy policy to ensure your data is protected. 
  • Check that the quote includes everything and that there are no hidden costs. Any duties or taxes, desktop publishing charges or postage costs for a hard copy should be included in the quote.
  • Make sure that the turnaround time suits your deadline for submitting your documents. 
  • Ensure that the translation company provides some form of declaration that the translations produced will be accepted by the requesting entity. Also check whether they offer free revisions after delivery, should they be required.

Where can I certify official documents?

Espresso Translations are experts in translating and certifying official and government documentation. With over 2000 experienced, native-speaking translators and an ISO 17100 certification, we offer the best legal translations of your official documents that are guaranteed to be accepted by official UK authorities as well as those overseas.

Not only do we offer authenticity and attention to detail, but also a great service. In addition to our highly qualified support team, we have a streamlined translation process that includes both translation and proofreading, a broad range of service and payment options, and around-the-clock delivery. 

Who can offer official document translation services in London?

While Espresso Translations has offices in London, the whole process can be done online. This means that whether you’re in the United Kingdom or Germany, you can send us your documents and request a quote entirely online. All you need to do is send clear, legible scans of the documents either via email or our online form and a short description of the type of service you need.

If you prefer to speak to someone on the phone, get in touch via our phone number or leave your name and request a call back from one of the team. 

How much does an official translator cost?

The cost of an official translation varies depending on the service type, the language combination, the country in which it will be used, the length of the document and the formatting. For an official translation into English for use in the UK, prices start from £30 + VAT.

Official translation prices are calculated based on either a per-word or a per-page basis. You should also take into consideration taxes and duties that may be applied by overseas government bodies.

certified translation cost

How do you become an official translator?

To become an official translator, you should begin by obtaining knowledge in the target language. This might be through getting a degree in a specific, or multiple, languages. You may also learn a language by moving to another country. 

Depending on the country in which you want to be an official translator, you should look at the local requirements. To become an official translator in the UK, for example, there are no specific requirements. In Italy, on the other hand, you would need to be added to a professional register in order to become a sworn translator.