Translating a University Degree and Transcript, Templates
Thread poster: Kate Pattison

Kate Pattison  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Member (2017)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 16, 2018

Hi everyone,
I have heard that in translating a University Degree and transcripts that the translated document should look as close to the original as possible.

How do I achieve this, when the university degree has a picture of the student, and signatures and such? What is the standard of translating certificates and transcripts? Do templates exists? Any advice is much appreciated.


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:17
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Copy format in Word. Feb 16, 2018

It is not too difficult to format a Word document to look very much like the original. Borders may not be the same but I have never had anyone objecting to borders more or less similar. Pictures and signatures can be copied into the document as .jpg files and displayed there in the appropriate size.


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 20:17
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
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Table Feb 17, 2018

Each university has its own form of degree certificate and transcript so you can't really design one single template for them all. But what you can do to make it easier to represent the original is to use a table rather than tabs. In a table you can move the grid lines anywhere you want, you can block a line to divide it into the number of lines or columns you need, you can make each column the same width, you can use different fonts in each cell, etc. etc. Transcripts often come already formatted in a table, so you can do the same. I have been using tables for a long time now for all kinds of documents that are not plain text.

With regard to pictures, logos, signatures etc., I have always been taught not to copy them from the original because these things cannot be translated, you only need to indicate where they are on the page. I just put [picture], [logo], or [signature].

Of course there are other ways to do it and some universities and other institutions have their own requirements. It all depends on what is acceptable to the client.

[Edited at 2018-02-17 21:31 GMT]


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:17
Member (2018)
French to English
templates Feb 18, 2018

I wouldn't bother reproducing the pictures, but I would try at least to reproduce the layout so that the text in the bottom right corner in the target is the translation of the text in the same corner in the source. Just so the client can find their way around. I'm not a graphic artist so I'm not doing anything more than what's needed for comprehension.
If they do want more, I'll point them to a graphic artist. I won't outsource, not being entirely sure that my status allows for that and not being interested in outsourcing anyway


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:17
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Requirements vary Feb 18, 2018

I translate these as a sworn translator in Brazil, where it is regulated by a law from 1943 (yes! 75th anniversary next October), unamended so far. It not only precedes by decades the entire Computer Age, but also the inception of copying machines! So we adapt the law as much as possible to present times.

I do my sworn translations as if I had the best fully-featured typewriter ever, and unlimited time and patience. So everything is in Courier Bold 12pt, but no logos, seals, signatures, whatever. These are only mentioned, and appear on the required attached original/copy thereof. Nevertheless, I use a DTP app, the defunct Page Maker (InDesign's "father"), and not MS Word, so it's quick to format everything neatly.

When I am required to translate diplomas and alikes for someone overseas to "certify" them, I do it quickly using Page Maker and another defunctware named PhotoImpact (Photoshop would do, but it's much heavier and less efficient for what I need). If they printed my output on the right paper, it would be hard to say which one is the original.

I think the entire problem lies in attempting to do DTP with MS Word. I tend to say that this is as easy, efficient and sensible as trying to subtitle video using PowerPoint. You really need a DTP app!

I guess it would be possible to do it (though I never tried) by scanning the documents into a PDF, and then doing OCR and DTP with Infix, however OCR shouldn't work well with frequently-used Gothic/ornate/handwritten letters. Anyway, Infix should allow you to replace the gibberish resulting from such OCR with your translation. Just an idea...


Kate Pattison  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Member (2017)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks! Feb 18, 2018

These are all great suggestions everyone. I appreciate you all sharing your tips. Gracias! Kate


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