What is a certified translation?
A certified translation in the US consists of a notarized letter/certificate, signed by the translator or translation company and attached to the translation itself. This letter affirms that the translation is a complete and accurate rendering of the original document.
Why are certified translations important?
When done by a professional translator, certified translations can effectively help you overcome language barriers. Especially if they are documents for court or immigration (USCIS), you want to make sure that the information was translated in the most accurate way possible.
Having translations done by a family member or even yourself doesn’t give a good, professional image and can be rejected by the requestor.
Certified Translation Requirements
Certified translations must cover certain requirements to be considered valid. When presenting important documents, such as US immigration paperwork, you want to make sure that all the information is presented accurately. Here are the top 2 things you should consider when asking for a certified translation:
First, you need to make sure that all the content is translated. That includes every little detail: signatures, marks, stamps, etc.
Second, besides content, the translation should match the appearance of the source document. Any special formatting, like leaflets, brochures, or any other promotional material, should be replicated to the best of the translator’s ability.
Per industry standards, qualified translators, as well as agencies and companies, can issue a certification indicating that the translation is a correct representation of the source document. Some elements that these certifications include are:
- The translator’s name, signature, and date of the translation
- A short statement confirming that the document is completely translated and accurate
- A description of the translator’s qualifications
- A statement including the original language and the translated language
When to use certified translations
There are many situations in which certified translations are requested. They can be required for legal proceedings, whether in criminal or civil court.
Similarly, applying for a driver’s license, a passport, an immigration visa (USCIS), or other types of procedures from government entities may require certified translations.
Lastly, it is quite common for educational institutions to require a certified translation of diplomas and transcripts when applying for a program in the US.
Here are some examples of documents that often require a certified translation:
- Criminal records, depositions, police reports, security clearances, court judgments
- Birth certificates, death certificates
- Employment records, recommendation letters
- Financial statements, corporate records, power of attorney
- General correspondence
- Legal contracts
- Marriage certificates, divorce decrees, wills, inheritance
- Medical records, immunization records, health cards
- Name change certificates
- Passports, ID cards
- Real estate contracts, lease, titles, deeds
- Visas, green card, immigration, and naturalization papers
Overall, certified translations can effectively help you overcome language barriers. To ensure that your translations are accurate and of high-quality, you should always hire a professional. This will give you peace of mind that the information presented will be completely understood by the requestor.