Translation for US visa application......What official qualifications are needed?
Thread poster: Aaron Schwarz

Aaron Schwarz
Local time: 23:15
Japanese to English
May 19, 2014


I've received a request to translate a family register from Japanese to English for a family's visa application to America.

The (potential) client says that the US government requires translators of visa application documents to be certified.

To be specific, he read that the translation must be..."certified as complete and correct, and by the translator's certification that he or she is competent to translate the foreign language into English."

What sort of certification is needed here exactly? Is a message from me that I swear that the translation is accurate not enough? I'm guessing not.

In your experience, would a copy of a membership certificate to a Translator's Association (e.g. The American Translators Association) be enough?

Thank you


Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Notarized statement May 19, 2014

I do a lot of these for local people. I have a boiler plate letter stating my qualifications and my memberships, and add "to the best of my knowledge and belief" the attached translation of the (# of pages) provided to me by (name of client): (list of documents, eg: birth certificate, university transcript) is complete and accurate.
Then I take it to a notary, who certifies my signature and the date.
The US has no nationally sworn or certified translators, and requires only the above -- at least, none of my clients has come back to to me with any problems.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The essential phrase May 19, 2014

According to a friend who works in an embassy in Washington, DC, the most essential in any certified translation for the US government is the phrase:

I certify that the preceding is a true, faithful, and complete rendering into English of the document as it was presented.

The three underscored attributes above are required in the certification, so that the translation will be accepted without a hitch.

Since you are in Japan, Aaron, most likely they'll require your signature to be legalized by the US Consulate there. There are two ways of doing it:

a) Having a Notary Public who has their credentials on file at the US Consulate there* notarize your signature, and then the Consulate legalizing their notarization; or

b) Having your signature on file at the US Consulate there, so they may legalize it directly.

*Some US Consulates' web sites include a directory of these Notary Publics in the corresponding country.


Aaron Schwarz
Local time: 23:15
Japanese to English
Thanks May 19, 2014

Thanks for the replies. They're a big help.

I'll let the client know the situation and I'll look into whether or not I need to take it to a Notary.


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It shouldn't need a notary. May 20, 2014

If you needed a notary, they would say notarised. To certify a translation is, as the first part of Jessica's post states, to state that it's true to the best of your knowledge.


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Translation for US visa application......What official qualifications are needed?

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