What Is a Certified Translation?

certified translation

Written by Bernadine Racoma

October 28, 2019

Most people have not encountered or heard of certified translation. The only time they would do so is if they plan to migrate to another country like the United States or they seek admittance into a foreign university. In such cases, they have to submit certified translations of all their supporting documents that are not in English.

Certified translation services

People tend to be confused about certified translation, so we want to clear up the mistaken ideas about it.

In the United States, a certified translation comprises the translated document together with a signed statement created by the translator or the translation company signifying that the translation is a complete and accurate rendering of the original or source text. The statement is known as the Certificate of Accuracy.

This does not mean that a translator should be ‘certified’ to do certified translations. Unlike in other countries, there is no requirement for translators to obtain federal or state certification in the United States. But it is a good idea to look for a translator or translation company that is accredited by industry associations.  

Other requirements, such as a brief statement stating the qualification of the translator may be imposed, such as documents submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The certification is also proof that a professional translator rendered the document and not just any ad hoc translator. Legal and official organizations can use certified translations.  

When do you need a certified translation service?

You’ll need certified translation services if you are a foreigner and have to submit documents written in a foreign language to a regulatory agency, an immigration service agency, a court of law or an educational institution. The requirements for certified translation vary. Some agencies require certified translation to be notarized. Others require the inclusion of the résumé or qualifications of the professional translator.

When and where can it be used?

In most cases, use certified translation for legal purposes, for example, for immigration, college applications and corporate and business dealings. Here are some of the types of documents that may need certified translations:

  • Official documents required for visa applications
  • Legal documents required for court cases
  • Diplomas and transcripts for educational institutions
  • Birth, death, marriage, divorce certificates
  • Driver’s license, passports and visas
  • Criminal record checks for recruitment, HR and visa applications
  • Patent filings
  • Contracts
  • Financial reports and bank statements
  • Medical records

How does certification work?

For certified translation, the source document should be directly translated in its entirety. Commas, periods, dashes and other symbols, including stamps, seals, and signatures should be included in the translated document. If there are parts that are not clear, the translator adds a ”not legible” mark.

The visual format of the translated document should match that of the original document. The position of seals, stamps and other markings should be replicated in the translation.

A certified translation consists of the following documents

  1. The original document or copy of it in the source language
  2. The translation of the document in the target language
  3. The Certificate of Accuracy that attests to the capability of the translator to render translation services, the full name of the translator or the translation agency, the seal of the translation agency, the date, and the signature of the translator or translation agency representative.

If you are going to submit the certified translations to the USCIS, you do not need to have it notarized. But if you are sending your documents to a consulate or embassy outside the United States, the certified translation should be notarized.

How much does a certified translation cost?

Prices of certified translations vary. Some translations companies charge per word, while others charge per page, which usually contains about 250 words. The average cost per page is about $20 to $40, although some say that the average is between $30 and $125. Other companies charge around $100. The usual turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours. For rush orders of certified translations, prepare to pay twice or even thrice the usual rate. The rate varies depending on the type of document and the target language.

How do you know if a translated document is certified or not?

Certified translation is a type of legal translation and generally used for legal and official purposes. A certified translation requires the direct translation of the original, accompanied by the Certificate of Accuracy.

For other translation projects, the texts are paraphrased, to fit the requirements of the target language. However, the translator, with his or her creative writing skills, ensures the delivery of all the information and the message that the original author wants to convey.

If you need a certified translation, give us a call at (800) 882-6058. You can also send us an email at [email protected]. Here at eTranslation Services, we only assign certified translation projects to native speakers who have experience in legal translation.

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