The term “certified translation” sometimes causes confusion — especially when it comes to when it is and isn’t required.
To understand when and why a certified translation might be necessary, it’s important to have a good grasp of the differences between certified and non-certified translations.
What is a Certified Translation?
A certified translation is a translated document accompanied by a signed statement from the translator attesting to the completeness and accuracy of the translation. The statement is also notarized by a notary public.
Once a translation is certified it becomes a legal record.
This documentation is required if you see that a document needs a “certified translation,” or that a translation requires a “Certificate of Accuracy.”
Reputable translation companies usually entrust certified translations only to their most experienced and best-qualified translators. At Accredited Language, we also always have both an editor and a proofreader review the final translation before it is certified. This helps ensure accuracy and quality.
When Do You Need a Certified Translation?
There are several situations where a certified translation may be required.
Certified translations are almost always necessary for legal paperwork, such as documentation used in trials or hearings.
For example, a trial transcript or any evidence in another language would need to be translated and certified. When it comes to any item that has to be submitted to a legal or government body, it’s likely that certified translations will be required.
Immigration is also a key area that nearly always requires certified translation. If you are applying for a residency (or even a temporary visitor’s permit) in a foreign country, it will likely require that all documents be submitted in the country’s official language — and that translations of these documents be certified.
These documents can include:
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- driver’s licenses
Applications to universities and colleges also often require certified translations of documents like diplomas and transcripts.
Depending on the school’s document policies, you may be required to submit the original grade report along with a certified translation. It’s always a good idea to confirm what documents are needed before submitting them.
Business and Corporate Dealings
For corporations with international offices, or for businesses looking to increase their visibility on an international scale, certified translations can be a necessary step.
Documents that may require certified translation include:
- financial reports
- patent filings
Businesses hiring internationally might also need certified translations of specific materials from their applicants as such:
- medical records
- bank statements
- passports & visas
When is a Certified Translation NOT Required?
There are many instances in which certified translation is generally not needed. Personal documents that will not be submitted for any legal proceedings, such as old family letters or documents, would not require certified translation.
Translation of website content is another prominent example of an item that rarely demands certified translation.
Other examples of documents that do not require certified translation include:
- restaurant menus
- marketing materials
- advertising copy
- HR benefits
- employee handbooks
- CVs & resumes
- safety manuals
- product labels
- nutrition labels
When in doubt about whether you need a translation to be certified, it’s best to check with the person, institution, or company you’re submitting paperwork to. Requirements will vary based on the type and purpose of the document, so if a certified translation is necessary, a brief consultation should get you the answers you need.
Where Can You Get a Certified Translation?
When you need a certified translation you should always turn to a qualified translation company such as Accredited Language. Our translators have years of experience in their industry and are well-equipped to meet your needs. Additionally, our certification process features a two-step verification process that ensures accuracy. Plus, we can notarize your documents in-house, which means its easy to get a rush-translation, even when certification is necessary.
Call us at 1-800-322-0284 or simply fill out our free quote form.
Not sure if you need a certified translation? Had a recent experience with certified translations? Tell us about it in the comments! We love hearing from our readers.