Document Translation

How To Get An Official Translation of a Document

Document Translation

When it comes to readying official documents for non-native speakers, you can’t cut corners with translations. Thousands of people use official translation services every day for all manner of reasons. Some need to prepare in-depth green card applications, while others need to localize legal documents for foreign courts. 

In every case, the translated document needs to be accurate and leave no room for error. What’s more, all documents translated need to be certified, with the translator providing a statement that confirms the accuracy of the contents. 

Official translations explained

Certified translation services are generally sought out for formal documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and criminal records. USCIS translation requirements also make applying for an immigration visa particularly taxing. As well as the documents translated, an official translation will include extra certification. This certification is a statement that work has been carried out by an experienced translator. 

When it comes to certified documents, a loose translation won’t do. Every single detail needs to be accurately translated from the source to the target language. Even formatting needs to match up to the original document. Official document translation requirements can be incredibly strict, with many government agencies and official channels to process documents if they fall short. 

Are certified translations and notarized translations the same thing?

Certified translations and notarized translations are often considered the same thing. However, notarized translations take things further than certified document translations. Once a certified translation has been completed, the document needs to be signed by a notary or government official. 

However, most notaries aren’t likely to have professional and fast translation experience. Therefore, a notary isn’t actually confirming the accuracy of the translation itself. Instead, they’re simply confirming that the translation itself has been completed. 

When will you need a certified translation?

Certified translation services are a must if you’re dealing with government agencies that don’t use your native language. This can include filing for a driver’s license or applying for a visa to study or work abroad. If you’ve relocated to a new country, you’ll also need to use them to report tax affairs and access things like social security benefits. 

If you’re dragged into court proceedings, certified translations also come into play. If you need to provide evidence of qualifications and your educational background, you’ll need certified translations of college transcripts, diplomas, and more. 

They’re also useful in the corporate sector. As companies expand and set their sights on international markets, financial statements, proposals, and other documents will need certified translations. 

Choosing a reliable translator

Using an experienced translator is a must if you need a certified document translation. Translation errors and failure to comply with demanding requirements can lead to significant delays in applying for things like visas. 

A badly translated document not only stalls progress but can also prove expensive. Choosing a professional translator with experience with the right language pair isn’t enough to produce high-quality results. Instead, you’ll need someone with an in-depth knowledge of your industry if you’re a corporate entity. Translation errors and failure to comply with demanding requirements can lead to significant delays in applying for things like visas. 

Looking for certified translation services you can trust? BLEND Express is your go-to for official and certified translations. Whether it’s an academic application, immigration papers, or supporting documents you need to be translated, we can help; If you’re looking for reliable language translation in New York, check out this page.

What should an official translation contain?

Requirements vary, but at a minimum, a translator should provide a summary of their qualifications and translating experience. A linguist also needs to confirm that the translation has been completed accurately and checked for completeness. 

A copy of the original document needs to be provided along with the translated version. Furthermore, the target language also needs to be explicitly mentioned, even if this seems obvious. Finally, a translator should provide their full name and signature, along with the date on which the translation was completed. 

Types of documents that need official translation

The majority of official translations fall into one of several categories. We’ve picked out the four main types you’re most likely to encounter: 

Certified translations

This is the most common type of official translation. Here, a certificate is provided along with the translation, guaranteeing the content is accurate and reflects reality. Certified translations also ensure the intended audience will be able to make sense of the final document. The attached statement from the translator makes a certified translation an official document. 

Notarized translations

Notarized translations are almost identical to certified translations, with the added feature of being signed and sealed by a notary. A notarized translation is called for with certain documents, such as government forms, legal dealings, and applications to higher education. They’re also common in court proceedings. 

Apostille translations

An apostille confirms the validity of a document, rendering them viable to be used in official channels. Many different types of documents fall under this banner, including birth and death certificates, marriage records, divorce decrees, and more. Without validation by an apostille, there’s no guarantee that these documents will be recognized by foreign authorities. 

Sworn translations

Some translators have special authorization from ministerial departments like the Foreign Office in the United Kingdom to sign and seal translated documents. A sworn translator confirms the accuracy of a translation and stands accountable for any errors with it. 

Official document translation FAQs

What are the basic requirements of a certified translation?

In some countries like the US, anybody can certify translations. This means that you can, in theory, certify your own translations or those of a friend. However, this approach is generally frowned upon. There’s a high chance of documents being challenged or refused, leading to processing delays. 

What should a certification statement include?

A certification statement typically includes the name and signature of the translator, along with a summary of their experience. The original language of the document should also be provided, along with a succinct statement confirming the accuracy of the contents. 

What are certified translations commonly used for?

Most people use them when dealing with government agencies. They’re a must-have for applying for identification like driver’s licenses, passports, and visas. Civil proceedings and legal cases can also require certified translations. 

Is hiring a professional expensive?

Not really. This one-off translation cost is minor when you consider the time-saving benefits of using an experienced linguist who knows how to deliver a high-quality certified translation that’s unlikely to be contested. 

Can’t I just use online language translation tools?

Machine translation tools like Google Translate are becoming more reliable every day. However, they’re no substitute for a human translator. Furthermore, if you have no grasp of the target language, there’s no way of confirming the validity of the translation, making them useless for certified document purposes. 

Get certified translations fast with BLEND Express

Searching for a reliable translation provider to handle all those certified and official document requests? BLEND Express can deliver sworn, notarized, certified, and legalized translations in as little as 24 hours. Simply fill in the online form and upload your documents and files to receive an instant quote. If you’re happy with the price, our translators will get to work. You can receive a digital version that’s ready-to-use, or opt for a hard copy to be delivered to your physical address instead.

Also, if you’re looking for reliable translation services in a specific city, our expert translators in Los Angeles will be able to help.

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author post

Corinne Sharabi

Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.


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