Notarized & Certified Translation

What’s The Difference Between a Notarized and a Certified Translation?

Many people are still confused about certified translation and notarized translation. Some actually think that they are the same. The fact is that there is a huge difference between notarized translation and certified translation. Each one is used differently as well.

What is the difference between a notarized and a certified translation? It is a question often asked by people not familiar with translation or the specific type of translation required.

When To Use 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.

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 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.

Other Examples

• Legal documents required for court cases that are not written in English
• Certificates needed for official use, such as birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates
• Criminal record checks needed for recruitment and HR purposes and visa applications
• Regulatory documents such as informed consents, research data forms, protocols and case reports

Requirements For Certified Translations

• 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 in English and has knowledge of the source language you are not qualified to do certified translation. If you do not want to jeopardize your immigration application, follow the rules and work with a professional translator.

When To Use Notarized Translation

A notary public is authorized by the government to authenticate and oversee different legal formalities, which include notarized translations. These notarized documents are often required by some schools 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 will be asked to sign an affidavit, which must contain the official seal and signature of the notary public 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.

Only One Must Be Used

Today, the requirement is very specific. You should either submit a notarized translation or a certified translation. There are no instances where you would be required to submit both.

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