Which Translation Certification Service To Choose?
Clients often request "official, "certified," or "legal" translations. However, many are unclear about the differences between these terms and unsure about which translation certification service is appropriate for their needs.
There are several translation certification services including certified translations, notarized document translations, legalization/apostille translations, and sworn translations. To ensure that you select the right service, it is vital that you verify exactly what the requesting organization requires before authorizing the translation. The type of legal verification required generally depends on the document type and its purpose.
Here are outlined the different types of legal translation services below to help you gain a better understanding of which service is most appropriate for your needs.
Certified translations are usually requested for documents translated for official use by non-governmental organizations. For example, a translation may need to be certified when requested by a school, university, insurance company, or prospective employer.
Translated documents that often must be certified include the following examples:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates and divorce decrees
- Diplomas, school transcripts, or other academic documents
- Medical reports and other official transcripts
- Utility and household bills
- Contracts, power of attorney documents, and other regulatory documents
Many companies offer certified translations. The process includes comprehensive translation and certification. Usually the translated documents are stamped with the company stamp and reference number. Your documents are returned with a certificate noting that the documents have been translated by a qualified translator and that company believes the translations to be accurate and true.
Notarized Document Translations
Governmental and legal entities often require notarized translations. Notarizing translations involves a more formal process than certifying translations. In order to notarize a translation, the document's translator or the appropriate company must declare that the translation is true and honest to a public notary. This declaration is made both orally and in writing.
From there, the public notary uses a certified stamp to mark the translation. In many cases, you will need original documents, not copies. Make sure to find out exactly what the requesting organization requires so that you fully comply with the request.
Usually companies work with a Notary and provide worldwide notarization services. A notary is an impartial, legally trained officer that authenticates and certifies the execution of documents. Because notarization requirements vary from one country to the next, including execution methods and document production, you will have to inform the language you need certified as well as the country for which the document is intended.
Translations intended to be used in countries that comply with the Hague Convention such as overseas marriages, visa applications, and overseas adoptions typically require legalization/apostille certification.
The legalization/apostille process is similar to the notarization process, though the original documents are required. These documents are forwarded on to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where an official representative finalizes the process and confirms that the public notary has the authority to sign the notarization. Once the final document has been issued, it serves as proof that the document is authentic and should not be contested because all of the legal steps have been completed and authenticated.
Sworn translations require a sworn testimony from the translator to a public notary or solicitor confirming that the translator performed the translation. While certified translations are more commonly requested, some entities such as courts require a sworn translation.
Make sure to double-check the wording of the requesting entity to ensure that you select the appropriate translation type.