Authenticating a translation of a birth certificate, in the UK.
Thread poster: Francesco Sani

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Italian to English
+ ...
Jan 14, 2015

Hello fellow translators!

I looked at other forum threads for this topic but I was not sure that I understood this right, so I am

just posting a new thread... I apologise if it is a duplication of previous threads, so do redirect me to

existing thread links if you know that I can find the answer there...


My question is: I have translated a birth certificate for a client and the question has come up as to

what should be the next step for 'authenticating' the translation - I put this in quotation marks because

it has different meanings in different countries.


As a non-professional (meaning: lacking a formal qualification) translator, I have not been asked this

before, as all previous translations that I have done, be them wills, criminal record checks, or degree

certificates, have not necessitated anything more than my translation... Occasionally, a client would

ask that I printed and mailed the translations to them, so that the sealed envelope with the post mark

would be proof that the translation had been done not by themselves but by a third party.


Also, the consulate from which I get my clients used to do the 'authenticating' but now it has stopped

and, on top of that, birth certificates do not come under the same category as other translations, so

this is what I understand what my options are at the moment, here in the UK:


1) certifying the translation myself by means of a signed statement, as detailed at the bottom of this

page: https://www.gov.uk/certifying-a-document ;

2) employing the services of a solicitors' firm to certify that I am the person who has done

the translation (although, as other said on ProZ threads about this topic, this does nothing to

check the quality of the translation being certified, but is just there to give it legal status).


Option 1) is what I would like to do, but the client (on my instruction) has contacted the consulate

to ask for quick advice on this, so she is waiting to hear back from them; in the meantime, I contacted

one solicitors' firm in my city and they understood exactly what I needed, and said that they could book

me a next-day appointment any time with one of their notaries: the only problem was that the cost

would be of £50+VAT (tax), which would be greater than the fee agreed between the client and me for

my translation... In the event of this being the option required by the consulate, i.e. a translation certified

through a notary's statement, would I pass on the additional cost to the client?


Obviously I feel like I have let the client down to some degree, and when I realised that she was unaware

of what to do with my translation (i.e. that she had not spoken to the consulate about it) then I took it

upon myself to call her and volunteer to find a resolution to get her going with what she needs.


Any advice will be much appreciated - even just reassurance that I am not doing everything wrong!

Thank you

Francesco


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Portuguese to English
+ ...
OK, Jan 14, 2015

1. The client has to let you know what the authority that has requested the translation needs exactly (certification, notarisation, etc.?).

2. Check the authority's guidelines on this matter.

3. Depending on 1 and 2 above, you either:
- certify your translation for a fee
- go to a solicitor, take an oath and get the translation stamped for a fee (usually around £5-10), or
- notarise the translation (£50-75)

4. In the future follow the above and pass *all fees and costs* on to the client.




[Edited at 2015-01-14 17:08 GMT]


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Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Mulțumesc, Diana!! Jan 14, 2015

Thank you for this!!

That is all I needed to hear!!

I am happy!!

F


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
French to English
+ ...
Not necessarily any specific requirements in the UK Jan 14, 2015

Francesco Sani wrote:
My question is: I have translated a birth certificate for a client and the question has come up as to

what should be the next step for 'authenticating' the translation - I put this in quotation marks because it has different meanings in different countries.


As Diana said, your client essentially needs to find out what the requirement is from the people that are requiring it for the purpose in question.

Just to add to this: from what I understand in the UK (from talking to lawyers on occasion when some of my translations have been used for legal purposes), there's generally no specific requirement per se. If you present a translation for legal purposes, then you are in effect acting as an expert witness, just as you would with other types of evidence. So you provide the translation, along with a statement of who you are, your qualifications, any membership of a professional body if you have it, and this may be counted towards how credible your translation is believed to be as evidence, just as it would be if, say, you were a plumber called as a witness on whether you thought a particular pipe installation was dangerous, or an IT engineer called to testify as to whether you thought a particular database system was secure, etc... So a particular qualification isn't a requirement per se, but it can count towards making your translation more credible as evidence. As I say, that's my understanding from when this has occasionally come up with lawyers I've happened to work with.

So I think the main thing to check is that your client is happy upfront that your translation will serve their purposes.


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Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Neil! Jan 14, 2015

I am slowly coming round to the idea of investing in a qualification ,but as all small/part-time
translators can recognise, getting that initial investment is a big step, because there may be no guarantee for returns.

My main passion and career is music, so I could never dedicate all my life to translations, therefore I am happy to continue with a translation micro-business made of sporadic requests (between five and ten a year) without investing a disproportionate amount of time and money on it. The time I spend updating my skill in both languages on a daily basis is enough of an investment for me in proportion to how much business I am faced with yearly.

At the end of it all, if not having a qualification will stop me having clients or put them or me in a difficult situation, then I will have no option but to invest in taking the next step in my translation skills; I would like to take the Chartered Institute of Linguists' Diploma in Translation route, and I have to just find the time in my crazy life (!) to somehow really make this a possibility, in terms of time to prepare for it.

I am also a manual translator, meaning that I do not have translation software, so that is probably also further investment that could assist me in saving time... For example, when I get a translation job that is similar in topic to one that I have previously completed, I would go to open a file that I remembered having similar words, then compare the original source text with that of the new job, and if they are similar/identical then I will use the translation of the previous job to expedite my working progress... All this can be cumbersome, whereas software that detected words that you had previously used, and had their translation stored somewhere, would come in very handy...

So, Neil, you are spot on in terms of the value of a qualification in adding credibility to one's work, so I will have to think about it, depending on how things pan out.

Thank you for your post, which was very informative...

F

[Edited at 2015-01-14 19:53 GMT]


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