Certifying somebody else's translation in the UK
Thread poster: Estelle Demontrond-Box

Estelle Demontrond-Box  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:34
English to French
+ ...
Oct 12, 2011

Dear all,

A direct client contacted me asking me to certify a translation that they had done themselves.
I have always only provided a certificate of accuracy for the translations that I have done which seems logic! This is considered as a certified translation in the UK.
To me, it seems that this person should see a nnotary maybe but that would be a notarized translation which is not what is really requested here.

What should I do? I was going to call this lady back to say that I can only certify a work I have done myself but can you certify a translation that you have proofread?

Estelle


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
Hebrew to English
Puzzling.... Oct 12, 2011

...why can't the original translator provide their own certificate of accuracy?

I've only ever given certificates of accuracy too. I'd leave everything else to a notary. I'm not 100% sure but I was under the impression you had to be legally entitled to notarize something i.e. be a lawyer, notary, etc.


 

Estelle Demontrond-Box  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not a professional translator Oct 12, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:

...why can't the original translator provide their own certificate of accuracy?

I've only ever given certificates of accuracy too. I'd leave everything else to a notary. I'm not 100% sure but I was under the impression you had to be legally entitled to notarize something i.e. be a lawyer, notary, etc.


Yes, absolutely. I think that this lady has lived a long time in France but is not a professional translator.
That's where it gets tricky.
I wanted to call her to let her know that I can only certify my own translations but a lawyer friend can't see why I could not certify her translation if I have checked / proofread it. I cannot see how this could be ethical....
It would be interesting to have some thoughts!


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
Hebrew to English
Found a link that might help Oct 12, 2011

I guess it depends on how you see the certificate of accuracy.
I was always under the impression that the CoA was more a statement attesting to the faithfulness of translation by a specific individual, regardless of their professional standing (since translation is de-regulated, anyone can be a translator theoretically).

http://yndigotranslations.com/blog/2008/06/24/certificates-of-accuracy/

Read the link and hopefully it might shed some light.

Personally I think the lady who translated it would be better off issuing her own certificate of accuracy with you countersigning it as a proofreader maybe?


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
Hebrew to English
Continuation... Oct 12, 2011

I know there's the bit about being qualified in a typical CoA but in translation this is hazy, some translators are qualified by virtue of a plethora of degrees in languages, translation, their specialization, but others are qualified by virtue of living in the target culture for a bazillion years and speaking the language almost as good as a native.

...so this lady looks like she fits into the latter category, so I see no problem there. All she is doing is undertaking that the translation she provided is accurate to the best of her abilities , this is where the bit about the translation not being necessarily perfect or different in the hands of another translator comes in.

If she feels more comfortable with you countersigning it as proofreader then I see no harm in that either.


 

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:34
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
A few points... Oct 12, 2011

... which definitely don't cover everything:
1 - certifying another translator's work would depend on the wording of the CoA - does your certificate state "as translated by YOURS TRULY, translator of XXX into XXX" or as mine does, "is an accurate translation of ...." In the latter case, you haven't actually stated you are the translator - although I usually am - and you can then provide a CoA for a translation by another translator, professional or otherwise.

The main thing to take into consideration when doing so is to check it as thoroughly as possible, as by signing on the dotted line you are accepting liability for the content of the translation. If in doubt or unhappy, it's best not to. I have certified translations by other translators and also direct clients who have translations of documents - sometimes professionally translated and certified abroad - they need to use in the UK.

2 - quite often, when the purpose of the translation is official use by the British authorities, the translation needs to be certified by a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, so that is another good reason for a translator who isn't a member of these bodies to ask someone who is.

3 - I'm not sure where notarisation comes into things. It's not that common in the UK. Is the translation into French and for use in France/other Francophone country? More often, some official translations - court documents/immigration documents, etc. - need not just a CoA but for the translator to swear an oath before a solicitor/barrister attesting that their translation is accurate. This is a fairly standard procedure and the translator swearing the oath remains liable for the translation itself (the lawyer just witnesses the oath).

In all cases, it's best to check with the client (translator in this case) to see exactly what it is that they need done and how. It's not uncommon at all to certify translations by others or for one translator working on a large document with others (e.g. a bundle of courts documents) to proofread the work of the rest and then certify the translation for the others. At the end of the day, it's the translation (material/content) that needs certification, not the translator. I also assume most CoA include terms such as "to the best of my knowledge" and "as far as I am aware".

I hope that's of some help, Aisha

[Edited at 2011-10-12 15:50 GMT]


 

Estelle Demontrond-Box  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 12, 2011

Aisha Maniar wrote:

... which definitely don't cover everything:
1 - certifying another translator's work would depend on the wording of the CoA - does your certificate state "as translated by YOURS TRULY, translator of XXX into XXX" or as mine does, "is an accurate translation of ...." In the latter case, you haven't actually stated you are the translator - although I usually am - and you can then provide a CoA for a translation by another translator, professional or otherwise.

The main thing to take into consideration when doing so is to check it as thoroughly as possible, as by signing on the dotted line you are accepting liability for the content of the translation. If in doubt or unhappy, it's best not to. I have certified translations by other translators and also direct clients who have translations of documents - sometimes professionally translated and certified abroad - they need to use in the UK.

2 - quite often, when the purpose of the translation is official use by the British authorities, the translation needs to be certified by a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, so that is another good reason for a translator who isn't a member of these bodies to ask someone who is.

3 - I'm not sure where notarisation comes into things. It's not that common in the UK. Is the translation into French and for use in France/other Francophone country? More often, some official translations - court documents/immigration documents, etc. - need not just a CoA but for the translator to swear an oath before a solicitor/barrister attesting that their translation is accurate. This is a fairly standard procedure and the translator swearing the oath remains liable for the translation itself (the lawyer just witnesses the oath).

In all cases, it's best to check with the client (translator in this case) to see exactly what it is that they need done and how. It's not uncommon at all to certify translations by others or for one translator working on a large document with others (e.g. a bundle of courts documents) to proofread the work of the rest and then certify the translation for the others. At the end of the day, it's the translation (material/content) that needs certification, not the translator. I also assume most CoA include terms such as "to the best of my knowledge" and "as far as I am aware".

I hope that's of some help, Aisha

[Edited at 2011-10-12 15:50 GMT]


This is extremely helpful - Thank you Aisha!


 

xxxfisz_co_uk
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
English to Polish
+ ...
Really useful. Nov 8, 2011

Thank you.That's what I really needed!!!

Polish translator


Aisha Maniar wrote:

... which definitely don't cover everything:
1 - certifying another translator's work would depend on the wording of the CoA - does your certificate state "as translated by YOURS TRULY, translator of XXX into XXX" or as mine does, "is an accurate translation of ...." In the latter case, you haven't actually stated you are the translator - although I usually am - and you can then provide a CoA for a translation by another translator, professional or otherwise.

The main thing to take into consideration when doing so is to check it as thoroughly as possible, as by signing on the dotted line you are accepting liability for the content of the translation. If in doubt or unhappy, it's best not to. I have certified translations by other translators and also direct clients who have translations of documents - sometimes professionally translated and certified abroad - they need to use in the UK.

2 - quite often, when the purpose of the translation is official use by the British authorities, the translation needs to be certified by a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, so that is another good reason for a translator who isn't a member of these bodies to ask someone who is.

3 - I'm not sure where notarisation comes into things. It's not that common in the UK. Is the translation into French and for use in France/other Francophone country? More often, some official translations - court documents/immigration documents, etc. - need not just a CoA but for the translator to swear an oath before a solicitor/barrister attesting that their translation is accurate. This is a fairly standard procedure and the translator swearing the oath remains liable for the translation itself (the lawyer just witnesses the oath).

In all cases, it's best to check with the client (translator in this case) to see exactly what it is that they need done and how. It's not uncommon at all to certify translations by others or for one translator working on a large document with others (e.g. a bundle of courts documents) to proofread the work of the rest and then certify the translation for the others. At the end of the day, it's the translation (material/content) that needs certification, not the translator. I also assume most CoA include terms such as "to the best of my knowledge" and "as far as I am aware".

I hope that's of some help, Aisha

[Edited at 2011-10-12 15:50 GMT]


 

Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
change the wording Nov 8, 2011

Regardless of why the original translator can or can't do it, you could argue that a statement is simply that, a statement... of "something" - that something being entirely defined by the wording of the statement.

Change it to "I, a qualified translator blah blah blah, confirm I have reviewed this translation completed by a third party and it is, to my best judgement, a faithful and accurate rendering..."

I can't see how anyone could dispute the ethics of that; whether it is accepted by the person who ultimately needs the translation is an entirely different matter, but not necessarily your responsibility since you are merely doint what you were asked.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:34
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Accepted in Denmark Nov 10, 2011

Wendy Leech wrote:

Regardless of why the original translator can or can't do it, you could argue that a statement is simply that, a statement... of "something" - that something being entirely defined by the wording of the statement.

Change it to "I, a qualified translator blah blah blah, confirm I have reviewed this translation completed by a third party and it is, to my best judgement, a faithful and accurate rendering..."

I can't see how anyone could dispute the ethics of that; whether it is accepted by the person who ultimately needs the translation is an entirely different matter, but not necessarily your responsibility since you are merely doing what you were asked.


I do not often need my work certified, but when I do, I ask a colleague to do it. It is normal procedure to have the translation checked by a second pair of eyes, unless it is a simple certificate or something like that (and thus easy to check). Here, one has to be a State Authorized Translator to certify a translation, and that means taking a specific MA. It is a protected title - Translatør - and everyone else has to call themselves Oversættere, no matter what their qualifications or lack of them.

I do not know of a single English native who is state authorised in Denmark! I am sometimes asked to do a translation or proofread someone else's translation into English before it is certified.

Some State Authorized Translators actually prefer not to certify a translation of their own without having it proofread by someone else - especially when translating into their second language. That is where I come in as a proofreader, and I have done that regularly.

Of course it is not unethical to certify one's own work 'to the best of one's ability', but we are all fallible humans and have our blind spots...


 


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