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Any tips on Agency needs for Certified translations for the US?
Thread poster: Nadia Oparista

Nadia Oparista
United States
Local time: 11:31
Russian to English
+ ...
May 1, 2004

I appreciate if the US agency owners can share their experience about handling Certified translations for the US. What is your procedure, if the translator that you hire is from a different state or even from another country?
Majorities of organizations in Minnesota are requiring certifying and notarizing documents translated. This limits our choice of translators. Many of our out-of-state translators are not willing to deal with notarizations... And our in-house editors are able to notarize their signatures as verifiers only in 4 languages.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Cordially,

Nadia,
Translation agency Owner


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Luis Arri Cibils  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:31
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Certifications & notarizations are not what people believe they are. May 1, 2004

Hi Nadia,

I am not a US translation agency owner, God forbid, but I am an ATA-Certified EN>ES Translator and a lawyer admitted to practice law in Texas and South Carolina as well as the US Patent & Trademark Office. I often go to Mail Boxes & Etc., the outfit recently acquired by UPS, to notarize any Certificate of Accuracy that a client may ask me to attach to the translation. This notarization, last week, cost me 3 dollars. (Don’t go to an “escribano/notario” south of the border and offer him or her to pay three dollars for the notarization services. He or she will die laughing.) In short, I believe that I have the necessary credentials to talk about the misunderstandings that exist regarding certification and notarization of translations. Incidentally, this subject has been extensively discussed before (you may want to search in the fora), but it comes back so often that perhaps it’ll help to summarize the main issues.

First, in the US, to certify a translation means little more than nothing. A court, an immigration and naturalization services office or any other state or federal agency may ask that the translator issue a Certificate of Accuracy regarding the translation. However, to certify the accuracy of a translation, you need only to be able to say that “you are familiar with both the source and target languages, that Exhibit A is the source language document and Exhibit B is the target language translation, and that, to the best of your knowledge, Exhibit B is a true and correct translation of the document of Exhibit A.” Indeed, the best of your knowledge can be quite limited and, yet, you won't perjure yourself. It is hard to imagine that a half-baked translator would perjure him or herself signing something like that.

To sign the certificate you do not need to be certified by ATA, the Federal Courts or any other public or private organization. Any one that can say without perjuring him or herself that he or she is familiar with the two languages can sign the certificate. He or she does not even need to have prepared the translation. You need only to say that one exhibit is a true and correct translation of the other exhibit, whoever made the translation.

Also, it would appear that there is some magic behind the word “notarized.” Nothing can be farther from the truth. Unlike other legal systems, Civil Law systems for example, a notary in the US is just a person whose only duty is to attest that the persons that sign documents are indeed the persons they say they are. Thus, in the US, the notary needs only ask for your ID, a driver’s license, for instance, at the time you are putting your John Hancock at the end of the document to be notarized. The notary couldn't care less whether Exhibit B is a true and correct translation from Swahili to Turkish of the document in Exhibit A. In fact, US notaries will not even ask to see the exhibits or, for that matter, to read the affidavit they are notarizing.

Have a nice weekend in Minnesota. Great country! I lived there (Mpls -- Dinkytown -- and St. Paul -- Commonwealth Terrace) during 5 winters (’72-77) while I attended Graduate School. I’m a proud Gopher, indeed. I learned to ski in Como Park (a golf course!), and practiced my "skills" in Afton Alps (a ski run you go to driving down -- to the Mississippi river) LOL.

Send me a direct e-mail if you have any further questions.

Regards,

Luis


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:31
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Needs for certified translations May 1, 2004

I agree with Luis 100%. I constantly prepare translations for a lawyer specialized in immigration matters and all I do is write that phrase at the end of the document [I hereby certify that I am fully bilingual and that this document is a true and exact translation of the original...], and he signs it.
As for the Notary, I also agree with Luis. All they do is ask you for some ID and sign attesting to the fact that you are who you say you are, but I have yet to find one that reads what is on the document. And I must say that here in Puerto Rico in order to be a Notary Public you also have to be an attorney, so it is serious matter.


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
English to Tamil
+ ...
Let me repeat what I wrote elsewhere May 1, 2004

What I wrote there for notary public is relevant here too.
See:http://www.proz.com/topic/16817
"It is really touching to see people's faith in seals and stamps

This question of notary public has gone to ridiculous proportions. A weekly in India prepared an affidavit and included the following lines at the end: 'It is hereby sworn that the notary affixing his seal to this affidavit is a moron and is just interested in his fees.' I am just paraphrasing as I do not remember the exact wording. And the notary signed and affixed his seal. The xerox of this affidavit was produced by the weekly."

In her novel "The secret adversary" featuring the characters Tommy and Tuppence, Agatha Christie writes about the girl Tuppence showing a badge to a bellboy in London and hissing the words: 'American detective force'. The boy is visibly impressed yet the girl was just flashing him an American badge she had picked up somewhere.
Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Nadia Oparista
United States
Local time: 11:31
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Tips for Agency owners on Certified translations for the US? May 1, 2004

Dear Luis and Luisabel,

Thank you very much for your replies. I agree with both of you regarding the standards. There is no single form of certification, but many of them are pretty much similar. My problem is:
1) That the customer (they just really love to see a seal) almost always requires a notarization of translator's signature.
2) The translation has to be typed on our agency letterhead.
3) And that the signature of the translator that is in another state has to be notarized under the conditions of tight deadline;
4) That many of the translators simply do not want to be troubled with going to the notary, mailing the original - they prefer to send an electronic file due to being extremely busy themselves.
5) That for this reason, most of the time, we can not use the services of skilled professionals that are outside of the US...


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Sophieanne  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:31
English to French
+ ...
Not all translators mind going to Mailboxes... May 4, 2004

I believe that, as indicated by the very detailed and interesting replies above, most people are impressed by the word "notarized"... I used to think I had to pass a special exam to have my translations certified.
Anyway, there's a Mailboxes exactly 5 minutes away from my home, going there is actually a good excuse to get out of the house with my 20-months old, lol... Feel free to check my profile if you ever need English-French French-English services (Sophieanne, sophraimondo@msn.com)


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Nadia Oparista
United States
Local time: 11:31
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I appreciate your willingness to cooperate May 5, 2004

Dear Sophieanne,

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your willingness to cooperate. Just to let you know that I could not download your resume from Proz.com. Please send your resume to .

Cordially,
Nadia


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Nadia Oparista
United States
Local time: 11:31
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There is nothing we can do about customers' preferences May 5, 2004

Dear Narasimhan,

There is nothing we can do about customers' preferences and about the bureaucracy. Please send your resume to us if you wish.

Thank you.

Nadia.


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translatol
Local time: 17:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
As God is my witness! Jun 14, 2004

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:

What I wrote there for notary public is relevant here too.
See:http://www.proz.com/topic/16817
"It is really touching to see people's faith in seals and stamps

This question of notary public has gone to ridiculous proportions. A weekly in India prepared an affidavit and included the following lines at the end: 'It is hereby sworn that the notary affixing his seal to this affidavit is a moron and is just interested in his fees.' I am just paraphrasing as I do not remember the exact wording. And the notary signed and affixed his seal. The xerox of this affidavit was produced by the weekly."

In her novel "The secret adversary" featuring the characters Tommy and Tuppence, Agatha Christie writes about the girl Tuppence showing a badge to a bellboy in London and hissing the words: 'American detective force'. The boy is visibly impressed yet the girl was just flashing him an American badge she had picked up somewhere.
Regards,
N.Raghavan

Some years ago in London a Spanish client insisted I get a translation notarised for him to take back to Spain. So I hunted down a Notary Public in the City of London who agreed to do the necessary. While waiting in the notary's office I happened to look at his Certificate on the wall - and saw that it was signed for and on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury. When I expressed surprise, the notary told me that they were all like that in England. They still are: check out the web site of the Notaries Society.


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