What is the difference between a notarized and certified translation? It is a question often asked by people not familiar with translation or the specific type of translation required.
The fact is that there is a huge difference between notarized and certified translation.
So, today we are going to concentrate on several important things:
- What is notarized and certified translation
- When to use notarized and certified translation
- Requirements for certified translations
What is certified translation
A certified translation means that the translator or the language service provider (LSP) has issued a signed statement declaring that the translation that has been done is an accurate and true representation of the original document.
Certified translations are normally required when submitting legal documents. These include marriage, death or birth certificates, adoption agreements, supporting documents for immigration, court transcripts, service agreements or business contracts that are not written in the official language of the country where the documents are to be submitted.
Certified translation can mean a number of things:
Translations are normally considered ‘certified’ if they have been produced under one of the three circumstances:
1. The document has been translated by a ‘sworn translator’
In some countries, translators can register with an official body as a “sworn translator” and by doing so be recognized by authorities such as the High Court of Justice to translate and legalize documents (often referred to as producing a ‘certified translation’).
2. The document has been certified by the translator or the translation company
There is no formal route by which a translator can be authorized to certify translations. As a requesting party, usually, a translator can declare himself a professional translator. It is not prohibited to claim that his translations as ‘true and accurate”.
In theory, anyone who calls themselves a translator could make this claim. However, it is always best to ensure that the translator states their qualifications to add gravitas to the claim.
3. Certification in front of a solicitor
This is very similar to point 2. above, the only difference is that the document is signed in front of a Solicitor or Notary Public as being “true to the original”. The solicitor or notary public also adds their signature and official seal to prove it has been witnessed.
4. Getting an official translation
As with point 2, anyone can claim to be a translator so it is important to check the credentials of the translator.
Remember that the Solicitor or Notary Public cannot normally understand the translated document. Although the wax seal looks very official, all it is really doing is proving that the individual who came to the office signed the document in their presence. It does not guarantee the translation is accurate.
When To Use Certified Translation
Do not get confused between a certified translator and a certified translation, as these terms are also different from each other. When a professional translator passes an exam and is certified by the American Translators Association or other organizations, he or she is called a certified translator.
On the other hand, a certified translation does not need to be done by a certified translator. Instead, it is a translation that a qualified LSP or translator certifies to be an exact and accurate translation of the original or source document. A signed Certificate of Accuracy is included in the completed translation when submitted to the client.
Reputable translation companies usually assign translation work that needs certification to their most qualified and highly experienced translators. It is a standard for the translation company to have an editor proofread the final translation. Only when the translation has passed quality checking will it be certified.
A certified translation provides a legal record. It is the reason why government and legal bodies always require the submission of certified translations.
For all types of legal paperwork, a certified translation is most likely to be required. An example would be a trial transcript or evidence that is available in another language.
Immigration is one of the major areas where certified translation is necessary. If you are applying for a temporary visa or residency in a foreign country, the country requires that all your personal documents must be submitted in the official language of the country.
Foreign students who want to further their education by applying to colleges and universities also need to submit a certified translation of their transcripts and diplomas. There are also schools that require submission of the original transcript of records along with the certified translation.
Requirements for certified translations
Certified translations must satisfy the following requirements:
- The original document must be translated directly in its entirety. All the signatures, marks, dashes, stamps and seals must be translated as well. The translator must mark the parts in the original that are not clear with “not legible” in the English translation.
- The translation must visually match the appearance of the original. Seals, signatures and other marks should appear in the same place in the translation just like in the original.
- Use a professional translator or translation company for certified translation. Even if you can speak English and have knowledge of the source language you are not qualified to do a certified translation. If you do not want to jeopardize your immigration application, follow the rules and work with a professional translator.
What is notarized translation
A notarized translation is less about quality control and more about following official procedures. The government authorizes a person to oversee and authenticate various legal formalities, including notarized translations. This person is a notary. Education-based documents like high school transcripts or foreign diplomas often require just such a notarized translations.
When to use notarized translation
The government authorizes a notary public to authenticate and oversee different legal formalities, which include notarized translations. Some schools often require these notarized documents when submitting documents such as foreign diplomas and high school transcripts.
In notarized translations, the quality of the translation is not the issue. It is more about fulfilling the formal requirements of an institution.
A professional translator can present the translated document to a notary public, who will ask the translator to swear an oath to the accuracy of the translation.
Later, the translator must sign an affidavit. This type of document contains the official seal and the signature of the notary before it becomes valid. The notary public does not check the quality of the translation. Instead, the notary public is more concerned about the identity of the translator.
Notarized and certified translation are specific types of translation, requiring the highest accuracy in the formulation of utterances and the irreproachable correctness of the use of legal terminology. So, a notarized and certified translation are those types of translation that have legal force. That is why it is important that you work with a professional translator or a reputable translation company.