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Certified Translations

09 October 2018 - by Helene Walters-Steinberg

In this post, I will present the different types of official translations, such as certified, sworn and notarised translations, and provide some tips on where to find the right translator for your documents.

What is a certified translation?                 

A certified translation is a translation accompanied by a signed statement attesting that the translation is accurate and complete to the best of the translator's knowledge and ability.

What is a sworn translation?

Strictly speaking, it is the translator who is ‘sworn’, not the translation. In some countries, such as France and Spain, translators take an oath before a court in order to become sworn translators. However, this system does not exist in countries such as the UK or the US.

Who can perform certified translations?

In the UK, members of the two professional translator associations, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and the Chartered Institute of Linguists, may produce certified translations that are stamped and signed by the translator and accompanied by a signed statement presenting the translator’s credentials. These translations are accepted as official documents by the British and American authorities.

If your certified translation is intended for your local French embassy or consulate (e.g. for naturalisation procedures), you will need to use a translator that has been vetted by that embassy or consulate and that is registered on their list.

Where can I find an accredited translator for my certified translation?

If your certified translation is for the British authorities, you can find a list of accredited translators registered with the Institute of Translation and Interpreting here (make sure the translator is ITI-Assessed) and with the Chartered Institute of Linguists here (I would recommend choosing a Chartered Linguist).

If your certified translation is for the French Consulate in London, you can find a list of registered translators here.

If you need a sworn translator (required by certain French courts), you can find a list through the Société française des traducteurs by using the Advanced Search function and  selecting “Sworn Translator (in France)” in the Type of service category.

What is a notarised translation?

For a notarised translation, the translator signs an affidavit in the presence of a notary public swearing that the translation is accurate. The notary then signs and stamps their sworn statement as well as the translation. Notarised translations are more commonly used for education-based documents such as diplomas and degree certificates. They can, however, significantly increase the cost of the translation process, so it is always a good idea to check with the recipient organisation if this step is needed beforehand.

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