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Certified translation
Thread poster: Elsa Alexandra Fernandes

Elsa Alexandra Fernandes  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:07
Member (Apr 2019)
Portuguese to Simple English
+ ...
May 1

Hi everyone,

I'm not getting any replies in Portuguese so here goes.

I was asked to translate 2 documents (2 pages, 311 words), The client, who is Portuguese so she doesn't want or can pay much. She wants a certified translation. How much should I charge and how? Per word, per page, per hour?

What about my time, and actually going there to certify it? What do I need besides the original document and the translated one?

Appreciate all the help y
... See more
Hi everyone,

I'm not getting any replies in Portuguese so here goes.

I was asked to translate 2 documents (2 pages, 311 words), The client, who is Portuguese so she doesn't want or can pay much. She wants a certified translation. How much should I charge and how? Per word, per page, per hour?

What about my time, and actually going there to certify it? What do I need besides the original document and the translated one?

Appreciate all the help you can give me. I'm lost here.

Elsa Fernandes
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Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Certified by what authority? May 1

I think the more pressing question is: Are you a certified translator?

If not, I don’t know what your local regulations are, but in other places unless you’re certified by a recognised authority, you won’t be able to ‘certify’ a translation.

In Australia the authority is NAATI and we have our own stamp and certified practitioner ID, which can be verified online. The certification testing is vigorous and we have to complete professional development to maintain
... See more
I think the more pressing question is: Are you a certified translator?

If not, I don’t know what your local regulations are, but in other places unless you’re certified by a recognised authority, you won’t be able to ‘certify’ a translation.

In Australia the authority is NAATI and we have our own stamp and certified practitioner ID, which can be verified online. The certification testing is vigorous and we have to complete professional development to maintain our certification.

When the job is done, we stamp the translation with a copy of the source attached to it.
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Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
B D Finch
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Dylan May 1

In Portugal, unlike other countries, there are no certified (sworn) translators. To certify a translation, so that a translated document is legally valid, it is necessary to make its certification at the organisations empowered to do so (namely Notary’s Offices and Attorneys). That is why I have been working for many years (15 years to be precise) with an attorney for the certification of my translations.

P.S. By the way, I was a sworn translator In Belgium where I lived until 20
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In Portugal, unlike other countries, there are no certified (sworn) translators. To certify a translation, so that a translated document is legally valid, it is necessary to make its certification at the organisations empowered to do so (namely Notary’s Offices and Attorneys). That is why I have been working for many years (15 years to be precise) with an attorney for the certification of my translations.

P.S. By the way, I was a sworn translator In Belgium where I lived until 2015.

[Edited at 2019-05-01 18:53 GMT]
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Elsa Alexandra Fernandes
Jorge Payan
Dylan Jan Hartmann
Josephine Cassar
Yoana Ivanova
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 09:07
English to Russian
+ ...
How interesting May 1

A notary public only certifies the identity of the person who signs the document.

A certified translator bears the responsibility for true and valid translation.

Is the former sufficient in Portugal?


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:07
French to English
Certification of the translation and certification and/or legalization of a signature May 1

Hello Elsa,

Your post contains questions but I think you still need to ask your client - and yourself - a couple of questions.
Essentially, I agree with Irina.

Certifying a translation.
Your client needs to inform you of the specific requirements relating to certification of the translation. The country in which the document is to be presented is probably the country whose rules need to be satisfied.
You need to check whether you meet those requiremen
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Hello Elsa,

Your post contains questions but I think you still need to ask your client - and yourself - a couple of questions.
Essentially, I agree with Irina.

Certifying a translation.
Your client needs to inform you of the specific requirements relating to certification of the translation. The country in which the document is to be presented is probably the country whose rules need to be satisfied.
You need to check whether you meet those requirements.

Certification/legalization of a signature.
The certification of a translation and the certification of a signature are two separate things. As a rule, a translator will only be responsible for his/her translation. The signature is an administrative and/or legal procedure. Make sure that the client checks what is required.
Make sure you have a written trace of what information the client has provided you with.

Invoicing and Payment.
Assuming you are able to do a certified translation in the situation your client describes, the basis on which you charge may be restricted by certain rules. It may be completely free and open for you to charge what you want.

If you need to attend for certification of a signature, and so on, then that is time that should be charged.

A final note, I don't see the relationship between your client being Portuguese and her not wanting or being able to pay a lot.
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Jorge Payan
Yolanda Broad
Michael Wetzel
IrinaN
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Nikki May 2

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
A final note, I don't see the relationship between your client being Portuguese and her not wanting or being able to pay a lot.


Neither do I and... I'm Portuguese!


ahartje
 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 08:07
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Rates May 2

My advice is: don't be swayed by a client's request not to pay too much. You can't adjust your rates to every client's financial circumstances and you are a professional, you should charge the same rates to everyone (maybe with a few exceptions, such as students or charitable organizations).

I would also advise you not to charge personal documents per word. There may be relatively few words in such documents but you may spend an hour getting the formatting right. Then, if you are no
... See more
My advice is: don't be swayed by a client's request not to pay too much. You can't adjust your rates to every client's financial circumstances and you are a professional, you should charge the same rates to everyone (maybe with a few exceptions, such as students or charitable organizations).

I would also advise you not to charge personal documents per word. There may be relatively few words in such documents but you may spend an hour getting the formatting right. Then, if you are not certified yourself, you may need to have it signed by a notary or other official in Portugal, and there may be mailing costs (a certified document must be sent by post). All of this together may add up to at least another hour and that should also be reflected in your fee as well. A minimum of twice your hourly rate would be a reasonable starting point.

With regard to a notary or other official, as others have pointed out, these people cannot attest that the translation is accurate. You need to add a separate page to the translation on your letterhead if you have one, in which you declare that your translation is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Then the notary will (should) ask you to swear that the translation is accurate and they put their stamp and signature on your declaration as proof of your oath. This is how it works in my country; you may need to make some inquiries on how it works in Portugal.
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Elsa Alexandra Fernandes
Davide Leone
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Inga Petkelyte
 

Elsa Alexandra Fernandes  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:07
Member (Apr 2019)
Portuguese to Simple English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Tina!! May 2

That was very helpful.

Thanks for the input.


 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:07
German to English
+ ...
certified to be examined (read) where? May 2

Certification is tricky. I am certified in the Canadian system, where certified translations have a kind of legal status where notarization isn't needed, and often the requirement is for a translation to be certified by the certified translator who has done the translation. But if my translation is going the US, that certification is not recognized because they have a different system. If it is going to Germany, they only recognize their own sworn translators. etc.

Therefore the
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Certification is tricky. I am certified in the Canadian system, where certified translations have a kind of legal status where notarization isn't needed, and often the requirement is for a translation to be certified by the certified translator who has done the translation. But if my translation is going the US, that certification is not recognized because they have a different system. If it is going to Germany, they only recognize their own sworn translators. etc.

Therefore the question to be asked always has to be "Who will be examining this document, in what country, and what requirements do they have?" I get clients to check with that body before proceeding.
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Michael Wetzel
Ewa Olszowa
 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 16:07
English to Polish
+ ...
Maxi, it is not so - my certified translations of Polish documents into English were never rejected May 2

by the authorities in the UK/USA, etc. - I never got any such complaints anyway and I am 40 years in this business already.
As for the original question the answer is obvious - either there are rates for the certified translation in Portugal (i.e. there are certified translators in Portugal) what seems not to be the case or you can manufacture a quasi-certified translation by notarizing/legalizing not the translation but the translator before the notary. As for the price you may add the
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by the authorities in the UK/USA, etc. - I never got any such complaints anyway and I am 40 years in this business already.
As for the original question the answer is obvious - either there are rates for the certified translation in Portugal (i.e. there are certified translators in Portugal) what seems not to be the case or you can manufacture a quasi-certified translation by notarizing/legalizing not the translation but the translator before the notary. As for the price you may add the notarization cost to your normal? translation price.

[Zmieniono 2019-05-02 22:43 GMT]
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Elsa Alexandra Fernandes
 

Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 10:07
Romanian to English
+ ...
Also, to keep in mind May 3

Some official documents might need an Apostille (Hague Convention 1961).

Elsa Alexandra Fernandes
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:07
French to English
Variations upon a theme. May 3

Tina Vonhof wrote:

My advice is: don't be swayed by a client's request not to pay too much. You can't adjust your rates to every client's financial circumstances and you are a professional, you should charge the same rates to everyone (maybe with a few exceptions, such as students or charitable organizations).

I would also advise you not to charge personal documents per word. There may be relatively few words in such documents but you may spend an hour getting the formatting right. Then, if you are not certified yourself, you may need to have it signed by a notary or other official in Portugal, and there may be mailing costs (a certified document must be sent by post). All of this together may add up to at least another hour and that should also be reflected in your fee as well. A minimum of twice your hourly rate would be a reasonable starting point.

With regard to a notary or other official, as others have pointed out, these people cannot attest that the translation is accurate. You need to add a separate page to the translation on your letterhead if you have one, in which you declare that your translation is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Then the notary will (should) ask you to swear that the translation is accurate and they put their stamp and signature on your declaration as proof of your oath. This is how it works in my country; you may need to make some inquiries on how it works in Portugal.



Adjusting rates to fit.
On Tina's first point, I agree that you cannot adjust your rates to fit a client's financial situation. I'd love the world to do that for me, but it just isn't the way it works. I generally offer students 5€ less per document which can make a difference to their overall budget. I'm also aware that some students may also be better off than me!

Basis of calculation for formal documents.
This type of document does not always contain a large number of words. Formatting and presentation can often take as much time, if not more. You need to make the translation look like the source document so that it is obviously recognisable as a translation of the source document. The rate often appears high to private clients as they consider the content alone, often barely more than name and address and a few lines of official jargon. Private individuals requiring certified translations for formal administrative needs effectively have to pay the full cost of "employing" us for the task. Some sworn translators charging incredibly high rates. Mine are average and I suspect I should be charging more. This type of work is not as profitable as people might think. It's one-off almost each time, even for apparently standard documents. In fact, these documents vary so much from state to state, year to year and town to town, etc. that true standardization is seldom possible. Quite apart from the fact that the responsibility for a mistake could be far-reaching. That has to be recognized.

Certification - translation.
Only the translator having done the translation is in a position to certify the veracity of his/her own work. This is often a specific requirement in states where there is an official certification process.
Example: In France, only those who are on official court lists are able to provide "certified" translations. From a formal point of view, we are "expert judiciaire" and as such, we can only certify our own work, not that undertaken by someone else. Nor can we allow someone else to certify our work.
I always find some way of adding my certification of the translation at the foot of the page (last page if more than one), rather than having it on a separate page. There is no specific guidance or requirement on this point in France. It is my personal preference as it more difficult to modify a certified translation with my certification, stamp and signature included in the document itself.

Certification - signature of translator.
Depending on formalities specific to each country, a notary or official may be able to certify the signature of a translator making a sworn statement that the translation is his/her own work, an accurate translation of the original, to the best of his/her knowledge and skill, etc. The notary is not in a position to certify anything from a linguistic point of view.

Certification/legalization generally.
It is important not to confuse certification and legalization which are different processes.


[Edited at 2019-05-03 08:28 GMT]


Elsa Alexandra Fernandes
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:07
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
For those of you who read Portuguese May 3

http://www.irn.mj.pt/IRN/sections/irn/a_registral/registos-centrais/docs-da-nacionalidade/docs-comuns/traducao-de-documentos/

Elsa Alexandra Fernandes
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:07
German to English
+ ...
answering Pawel May 4

Paweł Hamerski wrote:
Maxi it is not so - my certified translations of Polish documents into English were never rejected

by the authorities in the UK/USA, etc. - I never got any such complaints anyway and I am 40 years in this business already.

I was saying that the status that Canadian certification has in Canada does not extend to other countries. I was not able to see from your profile whether you are a Canadian, or certified by any of the provinces under the CTTIC (ATIO, OTIAQ etc.). In case you are not: Our certified translations here are like notarized translations and don't need that extra step. They do not have that status in the US where they may be seen as "certified" in the limited meaning that this has over there. This has nothing to do with being rejected.

It does happen that a translation destined for German officials in Germany will be rejected if it is not done by a German sworn (geeidigt) translator; in Canada a translation not done by a Canadian certified translator may be rejected unless it is notarized first, etc. Are we talking about the same thing?


 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 16:07
English to Polish
+ ...
Maxi, I think we are talking about the same thing - recognition of certified translations abroad. May 4

I am Polish and reside in Poland. Polish certification authority maybe does not extend all over the world (I think Hague convention and some international two-way treaties cover this ) but I repeat my certified translations are recognized in many countries somehow (and were so without Apostille namely 20 years ago when Apostille was not yet 'in fashion') and were never? rejected (i.e. considered invalid) abroad (Germany including). So you never know.
My customers were using Polish to Engl
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I am Polish and reside in Poland. Polish certification authority maybe does not extend all over the world (I think Hague convention and some international two-way treaties cover this ) but I repeat my certified translations are recognized in many countries somehow (and were so without Apostille namely 20 years ago when Apostille was not yet 'in fashion') and were never? rejected (i.e. considered invalid) abroad (Germany including). So you never know.
My customers were using Polish to English translations (mostly vital records and civil law authorizations) certified by me in many countries without problems.
And you are right asking:
"Who will be examining this document, in what country, and what requirements do they have?" I get clients to check with that body before proceeding.
I also do this in some specific cases but not in case of say vital records.
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