Certifying translations for US visa application: stamp both original and translation??
Thread poster: Frances Nichol

Frances Nichol  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:18
Member (2016)
Chinese to English
Apr 4

Hi,

I have just done a lot of translation for a private client for a US visa application. I am going to certify the translations with both an introductory page and a 'stamp' (a printed box) with my name, credentials and handwritten signature on each page.

Question is, do I need to stamp the original documents I translated from? That makes sense to me, since otherwise how do we know if the original document submitted is the same as the one I translated from? I have never stamped the original before, however.

Any experience or advice?

ThankS!


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:18
French to English
Ask the client Apr 4

Clients' requirements vary. Formal requirements no doubt exist for a visa application. I would ask your client to find out and to inform you of what needs to be done. Make sure you get the answer in writing.

 

Frances Nichol  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:18
Member (2016)
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
I have asked the client Apr 4

But want to hear about other people's experiences and practices too, if possible

 

Katrin Braams
Germany
Local time: 18:18
English to German
+ ...
No, don't stamp the originals Apr 4

I would not stamp the originals, as these are official documents and you are not allowed to change them in any way. Also, imagine the person wants to get translations of their documents into other languages and all translators affix their stamps. After a while the original would be covered in stamps.

What I usually do is to make a photocopy/printout of the original and join the copy and my certified translation by stapling them together.

Before inserting the staple I fold the upper left corner of the two documents lying on top of each other inwards and put the staple into the resulting triangle (folded onto the first page of the translated document). Then I place my stamp half way onto the triangle and half way onto the first page. This way the stamp is partially on the back (=folded corner) of the copied page and partially on the first translated page, which makes manipulation much more difficult. However, a German stamp for certifying a translation is rather small, it is round and about 5 cm/2 inches in diameter. I imagine your stamp to be much bigger and therefore the process described above may not be practical.

Alternatively you could make photocopies, attach them to your translation and stamp all reverse sides of all pages.


 

Frances Nichol  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:18
Member (2016)
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the Apr 4

I meant scanned copies of the originals. Sorry, I should have made that clear. It definitely would not be a good idea to stamp the originals.

My stamp is not a stamp per se but a footer design printed on each page, which has my statement, credentials and signature. So it would not be possible to stamp across pages as you do. But it's helpful to know you also 'certify' the [scanned] originals as well as your translations. Thanks!


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 11:18
German to English
+ ...
I do stamp (a copy of) the original because... Apr 4

.... this tells the official examining the package that I as the translator have viewed what I stamped. I make sure to tell end clients that my stamp does not certify the original document since I don't have that kind of authority, and it is only for the purpose I just wrote about.

 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:18
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Certifying copies - be careful Apr 5

Be careful though, because you should not make any statement that would imply that you are certifying the photocopies or scanned images of the "originals" you worked with. Only a Notary Public can create a certified copy (and in some states in the US even they are prohibited from doing so).
I think physically attaching the source document (notice I did not call it "original"), numbering and signing every page of it, and describing this in your statement is a good solution. For example "...the source document includes X sequentially numbered and signed pages, and the translated document includes Y sequentially numbered and signed pages" - or something like that.
What you want to prevent is the possibility of someone swapping out a page, altering a page or removing a page either from the source or the translation.
- Not relevant to you , but may be interesting: In Hungary, for official translations they actually stitch the pages together with a colored thread (national colors) and attach the end of the thread to the cover page by a wax seal (lately a sticker that looks like a wax seal) to prevent tampering.

[Edited at 2018-04-06 03:52 GMT]


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:18
German to English
Information about certifying documents for U.S. immigration purposes Apr 5

Hi Frances,

I suggest you read what our colleague Tom West (also a lawyer) has to say here about certifying documents for U.S. immigration purposes:

https://www.intermarkls.com/single-post/2016/06/14/What-are-the-US-Government-requirements-for-translated-immigration-documents

You don't say what sort of visa your client is applying for, but it may also be useful information in your case.

Robin
PS: To my knowledge, originals are never stamped by the translator - otherwise you'd have to translate the stamp, too, wouldn't you? (which would end up being rather circular)


Frances Nichol wrote:

Hi,

I have just done a lot of translation for a private client for a US visa application. I am going to certify the translations with both an introductory page and a 'stamp' (a printed box) with my name, credentials and handwritten signature on each page.

Question is, do I need to stamp the original documents I translated from? That makes sense to me, since otherwise how do we know if the original document submitted is the same as the one I translated from? I have never stamped the original before, however.

Any experience or advice?

ThankS!


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:18
French to English
Client Apr 5

I probably appear a bit strict about this, but I think your client should seek confirmation from the official source requiring the translations. After all, that is the organisation whose criteria have to be complied with. I have done a number of certified translations for various official organisations in Europe and in the US. Requirements vary, some require the "original" to be stamped, some not; some even have their own form of words for each/both the "original" and the translation. In almost all formal translation situations, you have you indicate the form of the source document. Note that the same organisation may have differing requirements for the same document depending on the reason for which the application being made. It may turn out that the requirements are less formal than one might imagine. Again, you have no way of knowing that without consultingan official source. Ask the client to provide that information, down to the detail you need such as expressed here and comply with that.

The only source that counts is the official source required by the organisation requiring the documents. I honestly think the onus is on the client to find out and to provide that information. If the requirements are not respected, then the client may have his application rejected. You cannot improvise.

[Edited at 2018-04-05 21:42 GMT]


 

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

MODERATOR
In Australia Apr 5

This is how I stamp both.

i6tjzsjabmctcaqzl1cb.png

My NAATI Certified Translator stamp with credentials, signature and date goes at the bottom of the target translation.


 

Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 12:18
Romanian to English
+ ...
When I translate official documents, Apr 6

In the Translator Certificate I write name of the original document in order to avoid any confusion. I.e. "translation of the original Birth certificate for John Smith"

 


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