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Translation of a University Diploma
Thread poster: Sarah McDowell

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:05
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Apr 23, 2012

Hello everyone,

I am in the process of translating a university diploma (mine actually). I would like to keep the formatting along with the university seal (crest) and signatures on the diploma. What I need to do is keep everything the same except change the words from English to Russian.

I tried in Adobe Acrobat Pro and this was not possible. I tried to edit the text and I got the error message "Accumulated text within the attempted selection area is rotated other than horizontal or vertical. TouchUp cannot creat a text selection."

I also downloaded a trial version of ABBYY Finereader and was not impressed with it either (at least as far as my purpose is concerned).

Is there any software program which will allow you to manipulate text but otherwise keep the formatting?

If this is not possible, how can I cut and paste the university seal and signatures onto a new document to try to keep the original style?

Please help! I am getting frustrated over this for close to a week now.

Sincerely,

Sarah


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just curious Apr 23, 2012

Sarah McDowell wrote:
What I need to do is keep everything the same except change the words from English to Russian.

I am curious: are you sure that you want to leave everything there, with images, seals, signatures, etc.? I am not an expert in this field, but to me that would give the misleading idea that the diploma was issued in Russian, when it was not. To me you should preserve the positions of the texts, but any images, seals, signatures, etc. should be described in text, in the sense of "(Heading that reads: "University of Whatevershire")", "(Seal that reads: So, and so, and so...)", "(Illegible signature)", "(Signature that reads: G. Robson)"...

Or maybe I am wrong here. Other colleagues who are expert in this kind of stuff will surely offer a more knowledgeable opinion.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:05
Italian to English
Forgery? Apr 23, 2012

i think Tomás has a point. I used to do what you are attempting Sarah - and quite proud of my efforts I was too.

I was recently deflated however, by a request from my best client to do what Tomás is suggesting, because their local court was unhappy that my efforts looked like forgeries.

If you really want to continue with what you describe, the simplest way is to copy and paste the seals etc. using the Edit > Take a snapshot function in Adobe Reader.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Welcome to Desktop Publishing Apr 23, 2012

This is done with a Desktop Publishing - aka DTP - application. The best known professional level ones are:
  • InDesign and its father, PageMaker
  • QuarkXpress
  • FrameMaker

There are some amateur-level ones:
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Serif PagePlus

And there is even a freeware one:
  • Scribus

You'll need either a digital graphics editor (e.g. Photoshop, Windows Paint, whatever) to erase whatever you'll replace after translation, or you can simply cover these with white borderless rectangles on the DTP app you use.

The problem here is that too many translators are unaware that Word is a word processor, definitely not a DTP app. (Otherwise, why would MS keep their lame Publisher alive?). It becomes really bad when they try to use Word as a DTP app, and the situation gets (much) worse when they do it for free.

After you are done, any of these programs will distill your translated diploma into a PDF file.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:05
Hebrew to English
I see nothing wrong... Apr 23, 2012

...with trying to preserve as much as the original formatting as possible.

As long as it's clear it's a translation and not an attempted forgery.

My degree certificate has a hologram which is not easily replicated, so even a good translated copy would not be "pass-offable" as an original issued in another language.

The only part I'm iffy on is the reproducing of the signatures. I'd be more inclined to follow Tomás' advice there (i.e. Illegible Signature/[Handwritten]Signature: _______) etc.

- This would also remove all doubt that it could be construed as an original document, as it would then obviously be a translation.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@ Russell Apr 23, 2012

Russell Jones wrote:
I was recently deflated however, by a request from my best client to do what Tomás is suggesting, because their local court was unhappy that my efforts looked like forgeries.


Russell, I was led to believe that this is the customary way translations for legal purposes are done in the USA. An exact replica - translated however - of the original document is made, and bound into a folder where someone swears before a notary public that it is a faithful, complete and accurate translation of the original document. Having done some of them, they are expected to look like forgeries, however in a different language.

In Brazil, sworn translations (for any official purpose) and translators are ruled by law, so my sworn translations are in plain text, plus some other formalities, attached to the original or a copy thereof.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What is the translation for? Apr 23, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
In Brazil, sworn translations (for any official purpose) and translators are ruled by law, so my sworn translations are in plain text, plus some other formalities, attached to the original or a copy thereof.

This introduces a very important question: what is the purpose of Sarah's translation and what are the requirements of the institution(s) requiring a translation?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The very point, Tomás Apr 23, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
This introduces a very important question: what is the purpose of Sarah's translation and what are the requirements of the institution(s) requiring a translation?


People living in countries where there is no national law on the translation of documents for official purposes may be unfamiliar with the issue.

Wherever there is such a law (e.g. Brazil, Spain, maybe others), any document issued in a foreign language must be translated by specifically appointed translators, otherwise they will be rejected.

In any country where there is no such law on the matter, each entity is free to set any rules/requirements they like, or none whatsoever. (I was told about one school in the USA requesting students to translate themselves their own records into English.)

To illustrate further, here in Brazil there is no national law on when copies or signatures require notarization and, depending on the place and situation, such requirement may vary even with the attending clerk's mood on any given day.

So in any case where there is no law on the matter, the safest rout is to ask about the requirements at the place where the document(s) will be submitted. Considering the attending clerk's mood possibility (not exclusive to Brazil), it is wise to get such information in writing.

I have seen a case in Canada where a graduate's entire 120-page Brazilian university syllabus was translated and certified by a translator having ATA and two other reputable North American certifications as such. That translation was rejected, because the entity had a house rule that such foreign documents must be translated by someone certified as an official translator in the country where they had been issued. So it would have been worth asking beforehand.


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 17:05
English to German
Watermark? Apr 23, 2012

Ty Kendall wrote:

My degree certificate has a hologram which is not easily replicated, so even a good translated copy would not be "pass-offable" as an original issued in another language.


Will any reader in any foreign country know that there should be a hologram and how it should look like? A reader might think that he is looking at a bad xerocopy - in such a case one could think of an attempted forgery.


"The only part I'm iffy on is the reproducing of the signatures.


I don't think that signatures make a legal difference. The sticking point is whether the document looks like an original resp like a xerocopy of an original or not.

I'd recommend to put a large TRANSLATION – NOT A COPY! "watermark" diagonally over the page.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
José Henrique Apr 23, 2012

"I was led to believe that this is the customary way translations for legal purposes are done in the USA."

That is certainly not the way here. I am not about to spend the time necessary to try to emulate the complicated formatting of some document, which could turn out to be impossible anyway. My clients are also not willing to pay five times as much for such frills, so I just go with a simple format containing the same information in similar order.

(BTW, I have never figured out how to put a quote in those boxes)


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Never Apr 23, 2012

Diplomas and other official documents are my specialty. I never use seals or signatures from the original document. I just type [university seal] and [signature] where necessary. Putting everything into a table is really helpful to keep everything in the right place and I can usually find a font that closely resembles the original.

I think it is important to make it clear that it is a translation and not the original document.



[Edited at 2012-04-23 15:59 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'm glad it isn't Apr 23, 2012

Henry Hinds wrote:

"I was led to believe that this is the customary way translations for legal purposes are done in the USA."

That is certainly not the way here. I am not about to spend the time necessary to try to emulate the complicated formatting of some document, which could turn out to be impossible anyway. My clients are also not willing to pay five times as much for such frills, so I just go with a simple format containing the same information in similar order.

(BTW, I have never figured out how to put a quote in those boxes)


... however that's the way translation agencies in the US had me doing them so far. I used PageMaker into PDF instead of the lame MS Word for such jobs. Then they get it reviewed/proofread by another translator (not the case in Brazil, where the translator's work is final), printed, bound with their affidavit-cover, and notarized.

This might explain why some American clients prefer official Brazilian PT>EN translations, as they can be (and usually are) plain text, obviously much cheaper, and usually acceptable for most cases in the USA, in spite of the additional time/cost of certified mail.

The Brazilian way is explained at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/faqs.html and its sequel page, link at the bottom of this ne.

(You'll find info on quoting at http://www.proz.com/faq/5231#5231 , scrolling down a bit, under "Quoting other messages".)


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:05
Hebrew to English
@ Rolf Apr 23, 2012

Rolf Keller wrote:
Will any reader in any foreign country know that there should be a hologram and how it should look like? A reader might think that he is looking at a bad xerocopy - in such a case one could think of an attempted forgery.


I think you missed my point, I wasn't suggesting copying the hologram - on the contrary there should just be a note in its place indicating the existence of the hologram on the original, I was merely pointing out that even if other formatting was kept, there are usually "security measures" in place (which can't/shouldn't be replicated) to distinguish an original from a derivative.


I don't think that signatures make a legal difference. The sticking point is whether the document looks like an original resp like a xerocopy of an original or not.


I'm not so sure, I wouldn't copy and paste somebody else's signature, isn't that basic fraud?

[Edited at 2012-04-23 17:30 GMT]


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:05
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks all! Apr 23, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
In Brazil, sworn translations (for any official purpose) and translators are ruled by law, so my sworn translations are in plain text, plus some other formalities, attached to the original or a copy thereof.

This introduces a very important question: what is the purpose of Sarah's translation and what are the requirements of the institution(s) requiring a translation?


The purpose is for a job and it is actually my diploma that I am doing.

I know about the formalities. I was going to do the translation myself and have a friend of mine who is also a translator proofread it as a native speaker and do the notarization.

So the general consensus seems to be not to make it look too much like the original document. I wasn't worried about that because no matter how good i make it look I don't think it will pass off as a Russian original.

What is the best tool for this translation? Can this all be done in Adobe Acrobat?

Thanks,
Sarah


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kaysoon
Local time: 16:05
Arabic to French
+ ...
This is a real puzzled matter Apr 23, 2012

To a certain degree of the matter it looks right and even needed to translate diplomas and certificates. Now you, people, should tell me how far can you go with it? Tell me if you can translate the writings of a bill of 1000 Francs CFA and expect it to keep the same value? I think that what we do with money works with certificates and diplomas. If you translate your diploma can you translate its value? On the other hand, suppose that you speak 5 or 6 languages and have some 10 or more than that as number of certificates. By you so genius methods of translation in the picture I paint here you would spend more time translating your diplomas than translating other documents in your lifespan.
And, you people tell me why should this be done? Here where I am there are professionals whose business is to tell the value of my diploma from this sphere of the universe to that other one. I sense it to be disnature and artificial. Would you want to make another copy translated of a Picasso because there is a comment written in Italian that you do not understand?


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Translation of a University Diploma

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