Certifying the translation
Thread poster: Pavel Zalutski

Pavel Zalutski  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:11
English to Russian
+ ...
Oct 26, 2007

I can't figure out the practice of certifying translations. Sometimes an agency asks me to certify and sign the translation as accurate. Sometimes another agency would certify a translation themselves with the agency director signing the translation. So why these differences, and what's the better approach?

Now I face these choices myself as an outsourcer. Do I ask my subcontractors to certify individually, or do I issue a certification on behalf of the company?

And what are the charges? Does a translator usually ask for an extra fee to certify a translation? Have you heard that a company's certification is more expensive than that by an individual translator?

So your feedback is deeply appreciated, as always.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It all depends on the destination Oct 26, 2007

Every country has its own laws and regulations about the translation of foreign documents for official purposes.

AFAIK the USA is quite liberal about this. Anyone properly identifying him/herself, stating to be fully bilingual, and declaring that it is an accurate and complete rendition of the document into English, signing it and having that signature notarized, will produce a document officially acceptable by US authorities.

In Brazil it is very strict. You can read all (or most) about it at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/tpicen.html .

As I see you work with ENRU, in Russian there is one single destination. It would be worth investigating Russian laws about it.

I work ENPT, and am a certified public translator in Brazil. My sworn translations are unquestionably valid (without anybody else's endorsement) anywhere in Brazil, but English has many destinations. On top of the USA, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, I have been asked to do them for non-English-speaking countries too. It's always a matter of finding out what the agency where it will be submitted requires.


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The Misha
Local time: 03:11
Russian to English
+ ...
Jose is right Oct 26, 2007

There is virtually no uniform rules in the US, lucky us. Just ask your clients what it is they actually want and act accordingly. I never charged extra for certifications - it just costs measley$2 to notarize a signature, and most banks do it for free for their customers.

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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:11
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Set your own rules (to some extent) Oct 26, 2007

If your subcontractors are some distance away from you, it is probably easier for you to sign the certifications than it is to go to wherever they are and ask them to sign. That's probably why some of your clients certify the translations themselves. (Probably it's not the only reason, however.)

I assume you're enough of a professional that you consider your product good even if you don't attach a separate piece of paper saying so. The cost of creating a piece of paper is usually much less than what you're charging for the translation, so many translators don't charge for the translation (treating it as a marketing tool, say).

Other countries may have requirements that you don't consider feasible to meet. If, say, Kazakhstan requires that you go there and stay six months and then take an examination before you can sign a certification that meets their requirements, you may not feel like taking such a long trip there. Consequently, you may prefer to tell your potential client that you can't meet those requirements and that he/she/it should contact another translator if those requirements need to be met. (You can always point out that, regardless of what the government of Kazakhstan says, Russian-speaking people there can read your product.) Disclaimer: This is by way of example. I have no idea of what the actual requirements are in Kazakhstan and haven't researched the issue. But I hope you understand the point.

What we usually do at the place I work:
a) We have a standard certification sheet. We use that unless a client explicitly asks to have something different used.
b) We inform the client that if the office to which he/she/it is submitting the translation requires something different, the client should obtain something in writing from that office indicating what needs to be done. We will accomodate them if we can. (In one or two cases, we were asked to certify that the contents were accurate. We have no control over the source text and simply translating text doesn't make it accurate. Consequently, we refused to sign this certification. But cases like that are unusual.)
c) If there's an extreme requirement, we might pass through the associated costs. We have a Virginia Notary Public on staff, but if there's a requirement to have the signature certified by a Maryland Notary Public, that would require a trip to Maryland and we'd bill for it.


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:11
English to Russian
+ ...
well it's different in Canada Oct 26, 2007

I mean to notarize the signature would cost not less than $20.00 (most likely more).

But notarization can hardly have anything to do with certification of some translation work.

The Misha wrote:

There is virtually no uniform rules in the US, lucky us. Just ask your clients what it is they actually want and act accordingly. I never charged extra for certifications - it just costs measley$2 to notarize a signature, and most banks do it for free for their customers.


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:11
English to Russian
+ ...
why you need it Oct 26, 2007

I mean what is the point - for you - of asking translators (subcontractors) to sign the translation as accurate?

I am asking because when i provide certification letter it goes only with translation of some personal / educational documents (or some court papers) i.e. it makes sense under quite specific circumstances.
So if provider does not have some special language education or is not formally certififed as a translator for such and such language pairs, say, by ATA (or alike), then any signature / certification letter would not be recognized neither by court nor by other bodies.

Charges.. well, i charge for my certification letter - around $10. It includes printing and sometimes mailing.

Pavel Zalutski wrote:

I can't figure out the practice of certifying translations. Sometimes an agency asks me to certify and sign the translation as accurate. Sometimes another agency would certify a translation themselves with the agency director signing the translation. So why these differences, and what's the better approach?

Now I face these choices myself as an outsourcer. Do I ask my subcontractors to certify individually, or do I issue a certification on behalf of the company?

And what are the charges? Does a translator usually ask for an extra fee to certify a translation? Have you heard that a company's certification is more expensive than that by an individual translator?

So your feedback is deeply appreciated, as always.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Notarization Oct 30, 2007

Vladimir Dubisskiy wrote:
But notarization can hardly have anything to do with certification of some translation work.


This is the very point here.

AFAIK in the USA (liberal system, e.g.) anyone stating they are fully bilingual and taking responsibility for it may make an officially valid translation. I understand that notarization is required just to ascertain that the person who took responsibility for a translation is actually the one who signed it.

In Brazil (rigid system, e.g.) certified public translators present their sworn works on individually approved stationery (the supervising agency keeps a sample of each one's stationary for eventual comparison), and notarization of their signature is definitely not required.

[Edited at 2007-10-30 10:44]


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Pavel Zalutski  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:11
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks you guys! Nov 1, 2007

Love talking to you in forums. Thanks so much!

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