Absolutely everything you need to know about certified translations and how to do them.

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The number of reasons why you might be required to translate and officially certify your documents, both for private and business use, can be truly endless. Whether it’s traveling abroad, applying for a visa, buying a house or even renting a car, expanding your business internationally, approaching foreign markets and doing business with foreign partners, the list is long.

Whatever the reasons behind the need to convert your documents to another language, it is essential to understand how to conduct the translation process, what the different types of certification are, and how to find and approach the most suitable language provider. appropriate – and that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing and covering in this article!

What is a certified translation?

Generally speaking, in the United Kingdom, a certified translation of documents service refers to the conversion of documents from one language to another by an accredited and officially registered provider. What this means in practice is that even if you are able to speak both languages ​​fluently, you will not be able to translate the documents yourself. The only legally recognized way to get a certified translation is to work with a licensed language provider, who specializes not only in your required languages, but also in the particular type of document you need to convert into the target language.

A translation is considered “officially certified” if it is produced in any of the following circumstances:

  1. The document has been translated by a “sworn translator” (outside the UK)
  2. The document has been certified by an accredited translation provider
  3. Certificate before a notary

Different types of certified translation providers

There are two main methods of getting a certified translation: you can choose to work either with a freelance linguist or with an officially registered translation agency.

Generally speaking, working with a freelance translator is usually slightly cheaper. It also guarantees high accuracy and is legally recognized by authorities, such as the Home Office or the courts. However, the freelance linguist must be registered with an official translation body, such as the CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists). This ensures that their accreditations are sufficient. The deadlines for receiving your translated documents can also be a bit long and can sometimes take up to two weeks.

On the other hand, working with a translation agency can be more expensive than working with a freelance translator. However, you will be able to receive your translated and certified documents even the next business day, as it usually only takes 24 hours to convert the document. These agencies are also able to cover a wide range of document types and languages ​​at the same time, so if you have larger amounts of documents to translate, working directly with a translation company may be the best solution for you. .

What are the different types of certified translations in the UK?

In principle, we can recognize 3 main types of certified translation services, they are:

  • A standard certified translation
  • A notarized translation
  • An apostilled translation

In the majority of cases, a standard certified translation is absolutely sufficient for full legal use within the UK. This type of certification is signed and stamped either by the registered independent linguists themselves or by a representative of your chosen translation agency. It usually shows all the details, such as name, address and registration number. As it is officially stamped, signed and accompanied by a covering letter, it can be used legally in the majority of situations and presented to virtually any relevant authority in the UK.

However, in some specific situations, you may be required to provide an even more advanced type of certification. This is known as a notarized translation and involves a lawyer or notary signing the document, alongside the linguist. This is done in order to confirm the translator’s credentials.

An apostille translation is one type of certification, which is generally required when submitting converted documents to an authority outside the UK. This procedure is the same as for the ‘notarized translation’ described above, however an apostille certification requires that the documents be sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for validation. This translation is then valid in all the countries adhering to the Hague Convention – thus practically all of Europe, North and South America, Australia as well as certain countries of Asia and Africa.

How do I find someone who can officially translate and certify my documents?

Generally speaking, if you have no previous experience in translating your documents and if you have never used this service before, whether for personal or professional use, you are likely to belong to the one of the two main groups – people who believe that translations are an extremely easy process, or quite the opposite, those who think that translating and certifying a document is a daunting and time-consuming process. As usual though, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

In order to officially translate a document into another language, you must contact a legally registered provider, and therefore authorized to perform such services.

When looking for such a provider, you can choose one of two main ways to do it: you can either find a professional translation agency that specializes in certified translation services, or find a registered freelance linguist who will be able to cover. your language pair and the type of particular documents. Each of these approaches has its own drawbacks and advantages, and it’s up to you to decide which solution is best for you.

Working with a translation agency is usually a bit more expensive than working with a freelance linguist. However, you will be able to receive your documents in just a few days, while a freelance linguist can take up to two or three weeks to translate and certify them.

Additionally, a freelance translator works with just one language pair, while translation agencies are often able to cover over a hundred different languages ​​at the same time. If you need your documents to be converted for business or corporate use, that could be a huge benefit.

Finally, translation companies can provide most of the different types of certification available. Whether it is a standard, notarized or apostilled translation that you need, expert agencies will be able to advise you and then facilitate your requests.

As you can see, the certified translation process is not as straightforward as some people might initially think, but at the same time working directly with a professional supplier, be it a freelance linguist or from an experienced translation agency, can make the process as easy as possible. Once you have established what type of certification you need to present to the interested party, a translation provider should be able to take care of everything on their own, just sending you the converted and certified documents once you have done so. they are ready.

Interesting related article: “5 Secrets to Effective Business Translations”