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Certified, Notarised and Legalised translation in the UK
Thread poster: Libero_Lang_Lab

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:28
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Aug 31, 2006

Hi,

I'm trying to establish clearly what the differences are between certified, notarised and legalised translation (particularly the latter two as I think I;ve a fairly clear handle on what defines a certified translation).

I found some definitions which seem to make sense, but don't fully tell the story. See below. I'd be interested to hear from anyone - with a knowledge of UK business - who can expand on these:

http://www.lifelinelanguageservices.co.uk/LLS_Private.htm

My reasons for asking are as follows:

A regular client has asked me to provide "formal" translations (their wording) of correspondence that may be used in a legal case.

Is certified translation enough in such a matter? What would notarised/legalised translations offer them that a certified one would not?

Should I charge extra for a certified translation?

And finally, as I am not a notarised translator, how would I go about becoming one...?

All advice appreciated...


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KLS
Local time: 03:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Certification etc Aug 31, 2006

Daniel,

There are so many questions here as this is quite a complex subject. Let me start by answering the last one first.

In England and Wales there is no such animal as a notarised translator. Contrary to the practice in other jurisdictions, in this country we authenticate the translation and not the translator. Doesn't exist.

There are, however, notarised translations. These are typically required where a document is required for use in legal proceedings outside the jurisdiction. As the translator, you swear an affidavit in front of a notary public, producing the original document and your translation. The notary verifies your identity, authenticates your signature, and retains copies of the documents on his file. A notarised translation may additionally be authenticated by affixing the Hague Apostille (see below).

There are also sworn translations. These are often required for court proceedings in this country. The procedure is similar, but it is carried out by a solicitor or commissioner for oaths. The solicitor is not required to retain copies of the documents. It is a lot less expensive than notarisation.

The most common type of certification is self-certification. This involves a certificate produced by the translator to the effect that the translation is a true and fair representation of the original. Self-certification by the translator may be acceptable in some legal proceedings, and in academic or employment contexts, etc. The form of words used varies depending on whether the translation is for use in criminal or civil proceedings, or for service outside the jurisdiction.

Your client has asked you for a "formal" translation. This probably means a true/fair/correct etc translation. However, it is impossible for you to know what level of certification is appropriate. This is something which your clients must find out from the court or body which might require the translation.

As an example: most County Courts in England & Wales will accept self-certification of a marriage certificate for use, say, in divorce proceedings. But there may be the odd District Judge who will insist on a translation sworn on affidavit. You must take advice from your clients on this point.

Just for the sake of completeness, legalised translations are those authenticated by the FCO or by Consular Sections of foreign embassies. Legalisation involves checking the signature, stamp or seal and affixing the Hague Apostille. As a translator I think it is unlikely that you will become involved in these but you can read more about them on the FCO website at www.fco.gov.uk.

Sorry to be so long-winded but this is obviously a tricky subject. Hope this helps.

Alan


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Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:28
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks Alan... Aug 31, 2006

Hello Alan,

Many thanks indeed for taking the time to deliver such a detailed response to my various queries.

Might I clarify a couple of things?

You mention England and Wales... that begs the question: do you know if a different system prevails in Scotland (where I'm based), where, more generally the legal system is distinct from the one south of the border?

My guess is that a certified translation (perhaps backed by copies of IOL diploma certificate) might do the trick. As you say, it is down to the client to establish what they need and what degree of validation is required. But I'd like to guide them as much as possible (though at the mo it is a little like the blind leading the blind!).

You mention that notaries are expensive. Obviously the cost of that needs to be absorbed by the client. But beyond that is it fair and reasonable to assume that an additional surcharge should be added to the regular translation tariff for providing a service with bells on?

Thanks once more for your advice...


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KLS
Local time: 03:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Scots law Aug 31, 2006

Hi Daniel,

I'm sorry, I hadn't realised that you were based in Scotland. I am aware that there are significant differences between the two legal systems, not least in terminology, but I don't know enough about Scots law to comment. Let's hope there's a colleague based in Scotland who can come in on the discussion.

I have always taken the view that certification is an additional service and warrants an additional charge. For self-certification this needn't be a huge amount, perhaps in the range GBP 10 - 15, but I think a charge is justified. In the case of sworn or notarised translations, you will need to quote the client in advance based on the various cost elements, i.e. your time, your travel expenses and the solicitor's or notary's charges. In the case of notarisation the cost can easily reach the GBP 200 mark, so the client needs to be warned in advance.

As far as your present job is concerned, if I understand it correctly, it is not yet certain that the translation will be required for legal proceedings, so for the time being you don't need to worry about certification. You can always certify at a later date. However, when you come to do the translation, you will no doubt bear in mind that one day you might have to swear to its accuracy.

In your discussions with the client you should try to find out what sort of legal proceedings may be involved and how your translation may be used. That should make it clearer what level of certification is appropriate.

Hope this helps.

Alan


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