Paperwork can get complicated when relocating abroad. Not only do countries often legally require a long list of documents, but some may ask you to translate this paperwork in addition. Whether for your birth certificate, marriage certificate, or university transcripts, getting a certified translation of your documents can be tricky. Luckily, we’ve compiled the following advice to guide you around the world of certified translations.
What Is a Certified Translation?
Certified translation, also called an official translation, fulfills the legal requirements within a country. If certified, the translated document is permitted to be used in formal procedures, with the translator held accountable for the accuracy of the translation. Paperwork that may be required in translation include: certificates, business papers, or legal documents, from businesses and individuals. Be careful, as each country tends to have its own manner of providing certified translations, which will be relevant to the format needed by the client and the country.
How To Identify a Good Certified Translator?
A certified translator has full proficiency in both the source and target language of a document; they can also produce a quality translation without any further changes, additions, or omissions. As well as proficiency in both languages, certified translators must also be well-versed in the context and environment of their source document, whether these are legal, business-oriented, or technical, for example.
Most importantly, translations must be completed without compromise to the target language. Therefore, make sure certified translators are able to provide documented proof of their credentials as well as a statement of their accountability and accuracy in translation. In the event of a mistake, certified translators are held accountable for any damages caused as a direct result of improper translation. When needing to find a certified translator, check to see if the organization, which is requesting your documents in translation, has a recommended list of accredited translators.
Types of Documents Requiring Translation
Some documents which may require a certified translation include:
- School transcripts and diplomas
- Academic certificates
- Training certificates
- Drivers' licenses
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Divorce certificates
- Medical certificates
- Adoption papers
- Certificate of incorporation
- Death certificates
- and many more
If you are an expatriate, you are likely to need certified translations of your personal documents for immigration purposes. If you are a foreign or exchange student, a certified translation of your transcripts, diplomas, and other supporting documents may be required. This could include certificates and recommendations from your previous school.
Translation Standards of 4 different countries:
1. United States
There is no certification or licensing required for a professional translator to start providing certified translations. Translators can give certified legal translations, if they can present a document stating that their interpretation is an accurate and true representation of the original. Check with your organization if a certified translator is required.
2. United Kingdom
When moving to the UK, you need to translate your documents if they were not originally written in English. Similar to the US, translators in the UK do not need to be licensed or sworn by the courts to start providing certified translations. Two prestigious translation associations in the UK are the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and the Chartered Institute of Linguists. However, it may not be a requirement to use either of these, depending on your organization.
In Spain, translators must be sworn by the country's courts to be able to provide certified translations. Therefore, all certified translators, called traductores jurados, are listed under the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Usually, you would need to submit a physical document of the translated document, which includes a stamp of the certified translator.
Similar to Spain, certified translators in France have been sworn by their courts and are known as traducteurs assermentées. You can access the list of certified translators in France in the database of Société Française de Traducteurs.
Make sure to clarify the guidance of your specific country before finding a translator and also keep in mind the requirements of your organization. Don’t let the paperwork overwhelm you and get in the way of fulfilling your dream relocation!