What counts as a 'legal' or 'certified' translation?
Thread poster: Helen Birkbeck

Helen Birkbeck  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:33
Member (2011)
German to English
+ ...
Oct 26

I have translated several official documents such as divorce certificates but, when asked this week to translate a passport, I found out I couldn't because it had to be done by a 'legal' translator. Does this mean one with law qualifications, or the same as 'certified'? And what, in the UK, does that actually mean anyway? I have a degree in my languages and years of experience, but nothing more. I would be grateful for clarification.

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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:33
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
In the UK, translators are not certified, TRANSLATIONS are Oct 26

In the UK, we do not have certified translators, only certified translations. This means that when you translate the document, you include a certificate that is basically just a statement signed by you as the professional translator, confirming that the translation is a "true and accurate translation of the original document".

My certificate looks like this:
"I certify that the translation of the following document from [source language] to [target language] is a true and accurate translation of the original document.
[My reference number for the translation project]
[Name and description of the translation project]
Date of translation
[My signature, my job title, my contact details]"

And then I add my stamp and a seal from the ITI (which is not necessary for the document to be accepted by UK authorities, but it helps lend the document a more "official" look)

I usually then deliver the translation as a bound folder containing the certificate, followed by the source text and then the translation.

I have never had any UK authorities reject a translation as "not certified" when using this method. If your translation is for another set of authorities (in Canada, for example, where they do have certified translators) then it might be best to seek a translator in the target country because those authorities will have a different set of requirements.

[Edited at 2017-10-26 10:43 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends on the country... Oct 26

Some countries have “sworn translators”, also called certified or legal translators, (Belgium where I lived for 20 years being one of them): translators swear an oath before the President of the Court and are given a special stamp to go with the translations required by official use. On the other hand, in Portugal (where I live now), there are no sworn translators. To certify a translation, so that a translated document is legally valid, it is necessary to make its certification at the organizations empowered to do so (namely Notary’s Offices and Attorneys). I don’t know what’s the situation in the UK but if the divorce documents are to be presented to authorities in a different country I suppose they will need to be certified by a Notary…

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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:33
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The ITI has some useful advice Oct 26

Angela Rimmer wrote:

In the UK, we do not have certified translators, only certified translations. This means that when you translate the document, you include a certificate that is basically just a statement signed by you as the professional translator, confirming that the translation is a "true and accurate translation of the original document".

My certificate looks like this:
"I certify that the translation of the following document from [source language] to [target language] is a true and accurate translation of the original document.
[My reference number for the translation project]
[Name and description of the translation project]
Date of translation
[My signature, my job title, my contact details]"

And then I add my stamp and a seal from the ITI (which is not necessary for the document to be accepted by UK authorities, but it helps lend the document a more "official" look)

I usually then deliver the translation as a bound folder containing the certificate, followed by the source text and then the translation.

I have never had any UK authorities reject a translation as "not certified" when using this method. If your translation is for another set of authorities (in Canada, for example, where they do have certified translators) then it might be best to seek a translator in the target country because those authorities will have a different set of requirements.

[Edited at 2017-10-26 10:43 GMT]


I use a similar approach to Angela. You might find the information on the ITI website useful https://www.iti.org.uk/language-services/official-translations


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
In the US also, such a signed statement is sometimes required Oct 26

Angela Rimmer wrote:

In the UK, we do not have certified translators, only certified translations. This means that when you translate the document, you include a certificate that is basically just a statement signed by you as the professional translator, confirming that the translation is a "true and accurate translation of the original document".

My certificate looks like this:
"I certify that the translation of the following document from [source language] to [target language] is a true and accurate translation of the original document.
[My reference number for the translation project]
[Name and description of the translation project]
Date of translation
[My signature, my job title, my contact details]"

And then I add my stamp and a seal from the ITI (which is not necessary for the document to be accepted by UK authorities, but it helps lend the document a more "official" look)

I usually then deliver the translation as a bound folder containing the certificate, followed by the source text and then the translation.

I have never had any UK authorities reject a translation as "not certified" when using this method. If your translation is for another set of authorities (in Canada, for example, where they do have certified translators) then it might be best to seek a translator in the target country because those authorities will have a different set of requirements.

[Edited at 2017-10-26 10:43 GMT]


I also am sometimes required to include such statements for translations in the US.

Thankfully, programs such as “Adobe Fill & Sign” now make it possible to fulfill such requirements without printing out or scanning the signed page(s).


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Helen Birkbeck  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:33
Member (2011)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Nov 7

I have just had another similar enquiry so will adopt Angela's approach and see what happens!

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What counts as a 'legal' or 'certified' translation?

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