Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.
You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs (or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
09:28 Aug 28, 2010
French to English translations [Non-PRO] Bus/Financial - Business/Commerce (general) / a form
My experience of working in the EU Commission was that a document authorising something (e.g. a payment) sometimes had to be stamped "visé" by as many as 4 or 5 different officials, so it by no means a final authority per se. The sense is really that visé means "passed" imho.
thinking on, the description I've given above is more that of the French paraphe. The dictionary to hand gives VISA Sceau, signature ou paraphe apposés sur un document pour le valider ou pour attester le paiement d'un droit. So strictly speaking it's a "mark of approval", and "signature" would be its cultural equivalent (as in Asian countries their stylized rubber stamps would be).
It seems to me that the French have a greater propensity than the Anglo-Saxo-Celtic to use a "mark" rather than a "proper" signature. They cultivate squarish "scrawls" that resemble Asian ideograms more than "our" linear signatures. We, on the other hand, when we want to be quick, will "initial" something, but that is a thing the French tend not to do. So visa is a personal "mark" somewhere between signature and initials, functioning as a signature but taking a form more akin to initials.
As writeaway has made apparent, my answer was perhaps a bit hasty and you really need to give more information about the content and purpose of the form. Otherwise, we don't know whether this is a visa (for a passport) or an endorsing stamp or form of words. You should not call it a "stamp" unless you know that is what it is. E.g. the handwritten words "lu et approuvé" could also be defined as a "visa" or it could be the date of a "visa pour timbre".