Who can "certify" a document for the Home Office in the UK?
Thread poster: Aisha Maniar

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:42
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Apr 4, 2013

I assume that many other colleagues who are members of the ITI and/or IoL also frequently translate documents for private clients who need some sort of "certification" to go with it. I have been doing so - for various official bodies in the UK - for many years. For foreign countries, such as immigration documents for the US/Canada, etc. I just get the document stamped by a solicitor (swear an oath before them). However, in recent months, when I have translated documents for UK passport applications for individuals born abroad, using the same certificate I have always used, it has been returned to them as not being "officially certified". Beyond being a member of the abovementioned bodies, what is "official certification" in the UK? On the relevant website: https://www.gov.uk/certifying-a-document I found the following:
"Certifying a translation

If you need to certify a translation of a document that’s not written in English or Welsh, ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the translation:

that it’s a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
the date of the translation
the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company"

So only a translation company is able to write and "certify" all those things I have otherwise included on my certificate? This means said company can use anyone to translate the document and add the above items to a certificate; "true and accurate" would be on the say-so of the translator.

What are your experiences and have you been in a similar position recently as a sole trader/non-translation company entity?
Thanks, Aisha


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Barriers Apr 4, 2013

No personal experience in the UK, but as a "sole trader" or self-employed person, I don't see why you shoudln't be able to provide a statment that it is indeed a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’, along with the date of the translation and your full name and contact details as translator.

However, as there is currently an anti-immigration drive underway in the UK, I suspect this may just be an example of bureaucratic nitpicking designed to dishearten applicants.


United Kingdom
Local time: 01:42
English to Italian
+ ...
ITI Apr 4, 2013

Since you are a member of ITI, I suggest you contact them for advice. In the meantime I'll keep looking for a document I have somewhere on my PC on this topic.


Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:42
Portuguese to English
+ ...
What I know Apr 4, 2013

and what I have on my website based on various articles and info I've read:

''Sworn, certified, legalised or notarised translation?

Always ask the institution requesting the documents to clarify what you need exactly.

Certified translation - the translator adds a clause at the end of the translation that they are qualified and that the translation of the document is accurate and true to the best of the translator's knowledge. It is used for governmental bodies or employers for certificates, diplomas and other documents.

Notarised translation - sometimes required by legal bodies. The process is the same as above, but an affidavit is also sworn in the presence of a notary public in order to declare the translation accurate, which is then confirmed by the notary's stamp and signature. Additional costs for notary public fees apply.

Apostille - this is a notarised translation which is then sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO then confirms that the notary public was authorised to sign the translation. It may be required in countries that comply with the Hague Convention. Additional costs on top of the translation apply.

The terms "certified" and "sworn" are sometimes used interchangeably. Sworn translators are on the list of a country's embassy or are authorised by a country's ministry to stamp their translations. In countries that don't have sworn translators, any professional translator can self-certify their work with a declaration.''

I always notarise my translations when they are required for legal bodies.


Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:42
English to Slovak
+ ...
Association of Translation Companies Apr 4, 2013

Happened to me couple of times that it had to be 'certified' (stamped & signed) by an agency which is a member of ATC. One of the agencies I work for was always happy to stamp and sign it it for me.


Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:42
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
thanks... Apr 8, 2013

Thanks, Rad, for answering my question.

@neilmac re. your second paragraphs, that's what I suspect too.


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Who can "certify" a document for the Home Office in the UK?

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