Should I translate all details of stamps and seals in their entirety in legal documents?
Thread poster: Edvaldo da Silva

Edvaldo da Silva
Italy
Local time: 06:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Oct 8

I'm translating some Brazilian documents to be legally used in Italy. If you know about Brazilian-Italian bureaucracy, you know these documents have an incredible number of office stamps, signatures and seals.

I had to hire translators in the past for my own documents, and I've noticed that these translators (two, one was a terrible professional) didn't include all details, but only the name of the office, place, person, title and date, omitting everything else, such as address, te
... See more
I'm translating some Brazilian documents to be legally used in Italy. If you know about Brazilian-Italian bureaucracy, you know these documents have an incredible number of office stamps, signatures and seals.

I had to hire translators in the past for my own documents, and I've noticed that these translators (two, one was a terrible professional) didn't include all details, but only the name of the office, place, person, title and date, omitting everything else, such as address, telephone numbers, emails, cost of fees, notes and further details about where the documents were archived (book, pages, etc.).

A regular stamp would look like this:

NOTARY OFFICE OF SÃO PAULO
Mary - Notary
John - Clerk
Street, 123 - Phone number - email
District - City - State
13 AUG 2011
The present copy was presented with the original document, was registered in page 02 of the process nr. 123/2011 and was checked by me, director of blah blah blah...
This is only valid with the seal of authentication blah blah...
Charges:
Authentication $000
Fees $000
Taxes $000


This is how they have translated:
Stamp and signature: NOTARY OFFICE OF SÃO PAULO. Mary, Notary; John, Clerk. 13 Aug 2011.

My question:
Can I do that? Is it a common professional practice to omit all those details of stamps in legal documents? I'm afraid I do that and my client gets in trouble or something when she gets with her documents to Italy. I didn't get in trouble with my documents, but who knows.

Thanks a lot if you can help!




[Edited at 2019-10-08 23:06 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-08 23:08 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-08 23:09 GMT]
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William Tierney  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:37
Member (2002)
Arabic to English
If you can make it out, translate it Oct 8

I put [Stamp: (details of stamp)] Since English is imprecise on the difference between a stamp made by embossing ink and a separate paper glued to another paper, I use [Financial Stamp: blah, blah] to make the distinction, since the glued stamps are always a financial fee of some sort, at least in Arabic. If it is illegible, which it often is, I put in [illegible] wherever necessary.

Liviu-Lee Roth
Teresa Borges
Edvaldo da Silva
Julie Barber
 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 14:37
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes Oct 9

Let's say, I work as an immigration officer and I receive a document which was translated from Portuguese into English. I do not speak Portuguese, but I can see that the original stamp has 12 lines, while its translation has only one line. It may make me wonder if there is anything they want to hide.

If you can't make it out, just put illegible for the words or sentences you can't read.


Teresa Borges
Edvaldo da Silva
Julie Barber
 

CATHERINE MARCHAND  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:37
Member (2018)
Greek to French
LEGAL TRANSLATIONS Oct 9

Good morning,

Logically for legal translations, all stamps must be translated.


Edvaldo da Silva
Laurent Mercky
Joanna Posylek
 

Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 06:37
Member (Jul 2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
No doubt Oct 9

YES
But you are allowed to use your own layout.


Edvaldo da Silva
 

Fernanda Tofanello
Brazil
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes! Oct 9

It is very annoying, but you should. They are an important part of the document.

Edvaldo da Silva
 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:37
Serbian to English
+ ...
A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y Oct 9

all these stamps / seals are not there to make the document look prettier - they are there for a reason.

Even if some parts are illegible you still have to indicate where they are and that they are illegible.


Edvaldo da Silva
Julie Barber
Teresa Borges
 

Edvaldo da Silva
Italy
Local time: 06:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all! Oct 10

Thank you all so much for your suggestions! That was very helpful. I find it weird that, in my documents, the translators didn't include all information of the stamps. I figured out it was a common practice to leave all that information out, since they were sworn translators, approved by the government, authorized by the Consulate (but that may not guarantee quality, one of the translators made a lot of gross mistakes). But I'm following your suggestions. I also use [stamp], [illegible]... and w... See more
Thank you all so much for your suggestions! That was very helpful. I find it weird that, in my documents, the translators didn't include all information of the stamps. I figured out it was a common practice to leave all that information out, since they were sworn translators, approved by the government, authorized by the Consulate (but that may not guarantee quality, one of the translators made a lot of gross mistakes). But I'm following your suggestions. I also use [stamp], [illegible]... and write in a distinguished smaller font size (Arial Narrow 10). That allows me to position stamp translations more or less in the same place as the stamps are in the original document, without making things visually polluted and without making those details stand out. In my documents, the translators made a list of the stamps at the bottom of the page. I was considering doing that too, but I found it a bit confusing, not only because you can't immediately tell which translation refers to which stamp, but also because the position of the stamps are sometimes related to the text.

Anyway, I'm translating everything. As a saying goes in Portuguese: "melhor pecar pelo excesso do que pela falta". The idea is: it's better to sin for doing too much than for doing too little.
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Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:37
Member (2006)
French to English
yes, include everything Oct 10

you should absolutely include everything as the other posters have said.

I do the same as William and write out [Stamp: details of stamp] or [Seal: details of seal]

Why include everything? well, we do not choose to omit or summarise other parts of the translation and the stamps are an integral part of the translation. The stamps are certifying the content and validity of the document and thus the inclusion of the stamp details are exceptionally important. And as Daryo
... See more
you should absolutely include everything as the other posters have said.

I do the same as William and write out [Stamp: details of stamp] or [Seal: details of seal]

Why include everything? well, we do not choose to omit or summarise other parts of the translation and the stamps are an integral part of the translation. The stamps are certifying the content and validity of the document and thus the inclusion of the stamp details are exceptionally important. And as Daryo said, do mention illegible text [stamp: text illegible].

[Edited at 2019-10-10 08:42 GMT]
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Edvaldo da Silva
 

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:37
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
stamps and seals Oct 10

Absolutely, yes.

Edvaldo da Silva
 


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