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Can I certify my own translation(s) for formalities in the US?
Thread poster: Pablo Mayen

Pablo Mayen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 14, 2011

Good afternoon forum,

This is a question that has caught my attention. I hope someone can shed a light on it, since this is the first time I ever come across this issue.

I have an US check account (I live in Mexico). Last week I received a letter from my bank requiring me to fill out a W-8BEN form to certify my Non-American status. The bank requests a certified copy of my ID (passport in this case). Of course, I need to take my passport with my local Notary public so he can authenticate the same. The question here is: since I am a certified translator (in Mexico), am I allowed to attach the certified translation thereof?

Maybe it's kind of an "elephant in the room" issueicon_confused.gif; I just want to be sure.

Many thanks in advance.

Pablo


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:22
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Do they want a translation, or just a copy? Sep 14, 2011

Do they really need the translation of your passport, or just a certified copy of it?

 

Pablo Mayen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Katalin Sep 14, 2011

I don't have the letter with me right now but as far as I remember it's just the certified copy. So what you are saying is that if they don't mention anything about a certified translation that'll do? No need to attach a translation?

 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Why does it require translation? Sep 14, 2011

Aren't all textual portions of a Mexican passport printed in English, as well as Spanish and French?

 

Pablo Mayen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Indeed! Sep 14, 2011

Thanks Rudolf, you've got a clear point in there. As soon as I get home I'll check the letter and confirm whether they require the translation.

Thank you both for your comments.

Pablo


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:22
French to English
+ ...
Copia cotejada Sep 15, 2011

Pablo Mayen wrote:

I don't have the letter with me right now but as far as I remember it's just the certified copy. So what you are saying is that if they don't mention anything about a certified translation that'll do? No need to attach a translation?


Pablo -- are you sure they don't mean what in Spanish would be called a "copia cotejada"-- i.e. somebody from the immigration/passport office stamps each page of a photocopy to say that they've seen the original passport and the photocopy corresponds to it?


 

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:22
Member
English to German
Why not? Sep 15, 2011

Pablo Mayen wrote:

(...) The question here is: since I am a certified translator (in Mexico), am I allowed to attach the certified translation thereof? (...)


I've just translated something personal for me today. On the top of the translation I wrote 'Draft Translation' and on the bottom the following:

I make no representations as to the authenticity of the document presented for translation; however, I hereby certify that the above English translation of the original in German is true and complete to the best of my knowledge, ability and belief.

...................................................
(Place, date)

........................................................
Marina Monica Steinbach


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:22
Hebrew to English
Not a lawyer but.... Sep 15, 2011

I was under the impression that translators cannot certify any translation.
Anything that requires notarization is the job of a notary.

I thought that a translator can issue a certificate of accuracy (attesting to the fact that the translation is faithful to the original) which the notary then requires along with the original text to certify it.


I found this from one translation agency, which seems to verify what I said, and many other agencies have similar statements:

"Translation with Certificate of Accuracy
When we translate your official documents you will get a translation with a certificate of accuracy. A certified translation is a legal record added to the translation of a document signed by an officer of the translation agency and notarized by a Notary Public, attesting that the translation company believes the translation to be accurate and complete."


 

Pablo Mayen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everybody for your comments Sep 15, 2011

@ Neil: my reasoning for the question was - until Rudolf accurately pointed it out - "I have my passport, it's an official document, after being witnessed by the Notary public I will NEED to translate the certification statement from the Notary (including the passport itself)".

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I deemed BOTH the passport and the statement needed translation, but Rudolf made the point that the passport is written in three languages. Therefore, a simple translation of the notarization would do it...should I enclose it?

@ Marina: So attaching the translation and adding the paragraph you mentioned would make the cut? I've read the letter from my bank and it says nothing about attaching a translation, just the certified copy of my ID.

Thank you all.


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:22
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translate a passport, why? Sep 15, 2011

They need a photocopy of your passport for their records, in order to be sure the photocopy you send them is in fact a photocopy of your passport they need that copy to be "authenticated".

However there is no reason why they should need your passport translating, why would they need to do that?, all the fields that might need translating are already translates and surely you don't need to translate your name, date of birth, etc.


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Exactly Sep 15, 2011

Alex Lago wrote:

However there is no reason why they should need your passport translating, why would they need to do that?, all the fields that might need translating are already translates and surely you don't need to translate your name, date of birth, etc.


Exactly - If you think about the manner in which millions (tens of millions? more? - well, a large number, anyway) of passports are used for their intended purpose every day without being accompanied by separate translations, the idea of translating a passport is a bit comical, really.


 

Pablo Mayen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Spot on, Rudolf! Sep 15, 2011

Didn't think of it that way...

 

Olga Alcaide
United States
Local time: 05:22
English to Spanish
Formalities in the US - it will depend on the formality May 1, 2013

If the authority did not requested a certified copy you can submit your own, but if it requires certification it has to be done by a Notary in the US.

For Homeland Security (immigration) you can submit your document stating (as Marina quotes) that the translation is true and complete to the best of your knowledge, etc. Since you speak the language and you are a translator, USIS will take your translation as good. I personally did it and had no problem.

Nevertheless, I just translated and certified a Family Book for a spaniard family, which contains general information pertaining to the Spanish authorities, but necessary for the US to understand (family law, adopted children, etc.). This book includes passports and visas and even when it is true that the basic information can be taken directly from the passport, there are different formats that the countries use to ID their citizens. Let´s imagine the amount of documents USIS receives every day.


Marina M. Steinbach wrote:

Pablo Mayen wrote:

(...) The question here is: since I am a certified translator (in Mexico), am I allowed to attach the certified translation thereof? (...)


I've just translated something personal for me today. On the top of the translation I wrote 'Draft Translation' and on the bottom the following:

I make no representations as to the authenticity of the document presented for translation; however, I hereby certify that the above English translation of the original in German is true and complete to the best of my knowledge, ability and belief.

...................................................
(Place, date)

........................................................
Marina Monica Steinbach


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:22
Russian to English
+ ...
You cannot certify any translations of your own documents in the US May 1, 2013

or anywhere else, I guess. Such a translation will not be accepted by any serious entity, the same way like you cannot notarize your own papers, or even anything for your family members and close friends.

 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Notarizing own signature or that of close relatives May 1, 2013

LilianBoland wrote:

or anywhere else, I guess. Such a translation will not be accepted by any serious entity, the same way like you cannot notarize your own papers, or even anything for your family members and close friends.



Partially true, and may depend on location. You can't notarize your own signature, but, citing the IL notary FAQ:
"May I notarize my own signature and/or the signatures of my
spouse, children and other relatives?
A notary public may not notarize his or her own signature and may not notarize
any document in which the notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction.
A notary may notarize the signature of his or her spouse, children and other
relatives."


 
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