Immigrants arriving in new countries, particularly those who are considered foreign-trained professionals, often require the translation of their credentials obtained in their countries of origin. This article sets out the foundational steps that a translator can take to carve out a share of this enjoyable and essential area of translation work.
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Types of Documents
The following documents can qualify as falling under the specialization of certificate translation:
- primary and secondary school academic transcripts
- secondary school diplomas
- university academic transcripts
- university diplomas
- birth certificates
- foreign driver’s license
- death certificates
- marriage certificates
- police clearance certificates
- divorce certificates
- affidavits (for marriage in a foreign country, for example)
- curriculum vitae/resumes
- medical records
- student cards
- national identity cards
Sources of Certificate, Curriculum Vitae and Credential Translation Work
1. Multicultural Councils – Most large or even medium-sized urban centers have established a centralized service for new immigrants. Most, if not all, maintain a roster of qualified translators and interpreters that provide language services for new immigrants.
2. University and Colleges - Although most academic institutions require transcripts and credentials to be translated for assessment prior to an applicant’s acceptance into an academic program, there may be academic documentation that is requires translation at a later date.
In addition, many foreign students will need assistance in having their curriculum vitae translated into the language of their new country, if they intend on obtaining work there.
3. Ethnic Community Groups and Associations – These informal and formal groups are often the first source of information for newcomers, which often includes information regarding language learning and translation.
4. Immigration/Refugee authorities and other related government entities – Many government agencies maintain translator and interpreter to assist them in providing services to the country’s newcomer.
5. Accrediting Bodies – Non-profit and for –profit institutions that evaluate foreign qualifications often require translation prior to moving forward in the accreditation process.
Translators who do a significant amount of certificate work may find flat fee per page pricing a simple and financially beneficial way to charge for this type of work. As most certificates arrive as hard copy originals or scanned copies, a per page charge may be more suitable than a word count. That being said, some transcripts, for example, can be lengthy, especially if they cover several years. In those circumstances, a per word charge may be more suitable.
It is important to note that as this type of translation is typically used for official government requirement as well as job applications, certification by the translator is generally required. Guidelines with respect to the wording of the certification document should be obtained from the body requiring the translation.
Keeping the Continuous Flow of Work
As with other areas of translation, the key to receiving continuous certificate translation work is to, first and foremost, indicate that this kind of work is part of the translator’s repertoire, whether it be in the translator’s curriculum vitae which is distributed to translation agencies that offer this work; advertising at the above-noted organizations/locations; and applying to form part of translator rosters that require this type of work. In addition, it can only help to personally meet those individuals in charge of outsourcing this work at the various organizations listed above in order to distinguish oneself from others.
Suzanne White, B.A., LL.B.
Certified Linguist and Lawyer