Translating personal documents
Thread poster: Tamara Sinobad

Tamara Sinobad  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 16:13
Member (2005)
English to Serbian
+ ...
Jun 23, 2005

Hello everybody!!!
I got a job today but I'm not sure how to do it (a fresh freelancer). Namely, I have to translate a birth certificate which was delivered in pdf format and it's a rather blurry scan. My question is: do I translate it word for word or do I make a table? Do I deliver it in .doc or .pdf?
Thank you all in advance and please hurry
Tamara


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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:13
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
Close to the original Jun 23, 2005

Hi Tamara

Welcome to this trade! what I do in these cases - at least I did for the first time and now I'm living off the templates I once prepared- is to provide a document as close as possible to the original format and that would involve some tables based on your source.

Deliverable are normally defined by the client but if none is mentioned and you are translating into English, a Word file should be enough.

But all this depends on your client, some may only want you to write down the important information.

Regards,

rahi


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 17:13
Turkish to English
+ ...
In a table Jun 23, 2005

Hi,
I personally would deliver the translation in .doc format and would work in a table. I would try to follow the layout of the orignal document as closely as possible. If the person commissioning the translation wanted another format or layout, they should have specified this when they instructed you to start work.


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Tamara Sinobad  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 16:13
Member (2005)
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot! Jun 23, 2005

You've helped a lot and thank you for you quick replies.

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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 07:13
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Becoming an expert in birth and marriage certificated and divorce decrees! Jun 23, 2005

I have been dealing with such personal documentation on almost a weekly basis now. Mostly they're from Portuguese and Spanish into English. I've looked for several models (since they vary from state to state here in the US) and have created a glossary involving the three languages with the key words.

Since I'm also studying to become a court-certified translator, I've learned that you should avoid keeping the same format, that is, whenever the client hasn't asked you to specifically do it. The text should be all justified and those stamps at the top should be put like this:

[stamp]
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxx

When a signature comes along, you do the same:

[signature]
xxxxxxxx
Name and occupation

I've been keeping whatever is in ALL CAPS, bold, in italics, or underlined as is. I usually send it over on a .Doc file, which I use for the final word count, since I mostly receive the originals by fax or in an image pdf file. If the client gives me other specifics, I'll just go ahead and do it.

Well, the format for legal documents translated by certified translators may vary from state to state and country to country, but this seems to be a clean and effective final version of the translated file and my clients have approved it.

I believe the ATA may have some examples of classic documents such as birth certificates. If not, you can always do a search through Google and find some interesting things. After you've done this for a while, it'll become easier and easier.

The real tricky personal document is always the school transcript... And I wish you good luck if you ever come across one of them!


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 15:13
it gets even better! Jun 23, 2005

If you ever have to translate doctor's notes, you'll be pulling your hair out with frustration - the handwriting is often atrocious, they've been photocopied/faxed a couple of times by the time you get it, and so on...

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:13
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sometimes a problem Jun 23, 2005

Rahi Moosavi wrote:

Hi Tamara

Welcome to this trade! what I do in these cases - at least I did for the first time and now I'm living off the templates I once prepared- is to provide a document as close as possible to the original format and that would involve some tables based on your source.



Hello Rahi,

I translate from Dutch to English. I usually do it the same way as you do. It works ok with birth certificates but with diplomas, where there are whole sentences, I get into trouble. The word order in Dutch is very different from English and there is a dilemma: either I stick with the original format and the wording sounds awkward in English, or I make the word order sound good but then the format ends up looking different from the original. People who don't know Dutch don't understand this and the last time I translated diplomas I had a disagreement with the agency about it. I don't know if anyone else has run into this problem but I would welcome any suggestions.

Thanks,

Tina


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Burkhard Ziegler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:13
Russian to German
+ ...
civil status certificates - keep format but don't overdo Jun 24, 2005

Our Sachsen-Anhalt law and directives state that the translator should maintain the original layout, pointing out if there is something unreadable, quoting stamps and seals, translating the content of federal fee stamps, pointing out if there is something typed or written in handwriting.

However, if maintaining the original layout becomes too difficult (takes more time than translating the words), you may provide explicative notes:

E. g. on the top of left page: handwritten remarque: Marriage was divorced by sentence of Kolyma court of 2004-02-15 # 12345. signature: Vovochka Batykovich Durakov, seal ...


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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:13
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
Extract Jun 24, 2005

Tina,

I totally know what you mean about the diploma's. Some of the are simply impossible to replicate in the target language - and I work in a Right to Left language that makes all tables and formats flip.

Would it help to "extract" the information from the diploma? I have one or two clients that require me to only extract information from documents and list them in my translation.

Rahi


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Tamara Sinobad  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 16:13
Member (2005)
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You've all been very helpful Jun 24, 2005

I got a reply from the agency and they said the translation was just fine. I was so relieved because I still don't feel very comfortable in this new role and I lack self-confidence:)
Thanks again!!!


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