A certified translation is also a legal record, but it isn’t necessarily legally valid in another country. If you need a document translated and certified, and the request comes from another country, make sure you ask what type of certification is required.
Certified translators will often supply a more thorough, better and more culturally sensitive translation, but in business and academics, what’s most important is completing the requirements from the asking party.
Certified translations that double as legal records are often requested by government agencies and courts. When a certified translation is finished, it is checked many times to ensure accuracy.
Next, the translation is usually signed in front of a notary public alongside the original documentation, a translator statement and of course your government identification. The notary public attaches his or her seal, and the translation officially becomes a legal document.
When Do I Need a Translation Certified?
You will likely be told when this is necessary. The reasons to certify a translation are countless, but within the United States, common certified translations include financial statements, trial transcripts, complaints, evidentiary files and legal summonses.
Between countries, you often need certified translations for academic transcripts and business proceedings. With international requests, both parties must agree on the type of translation and who will be providing it.
Sometimes personal documents also need to be translated, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates and divorce documents. For example, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency asks for certified translations of these documents when a person immigrates. Students who arrive in the United States with an F1 visa need certified translations of their recommendations and diplomas, along with transcripts.
Choosing a Translator
Many certified translators also double as law experts, offering legal translations for court filings around the world. Research and secure a translator who’s certified, accepted by the entity you’re working with (the one who requested the transcript), and ideally well-versed in the type of document you need translated.
It’s very likely that getting a certified translation will be just one step in the process. You will likely need a notary public’s seal, so plan for some buffer room and extra time to get all your translated documents in place.
Technically, just about anyone can attempt a translation — even Google translate! That can work for informal documents, like a text message to a friend you met while traveling overseas, but poor translations often can do more harm than good.
Unfortunately, unlike many other types of services, you won’t be able to tell if the translation was high-quality or not until it’s too late (if you ever find out at all). Instead, depend on a certified translator with a glowing record like Verbatim Solutions for all your translation needs.