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How Certified Translation Services Are Helping Limited English Speakers

Some translated documents and official documents require certified translations in the United States. But what are certified translation services and what are the steps necessary to complete the process?

American translators provide professional translation of the original document for many reasons such as:

  • To apply for a visa from a government entity
  • In order to receive public assistance benefits
  • When obtaining a driver’s license
  • During legal proceedings such as criminal defense, adoption, and divorces
  • To submit transcripts and diplomas in foreign languages with applications for higher education institutions

Who Can Certify a Translation for Official Use?

Technically, anyone can certify a translation and translators don’t need to be certified to provide certified translations in the United States. 

Employees of a translation company, translators, or a translation agency are able to certify other people’s translations. Before signing, review it for completeness and accuracy. Once the certification has been completed, it’s important to not make any more changes.

Oftentimes, translation companies will certify translations that have been completed by independent contractors, freelancers, and other third parties.

Can I Certify a Translated Document for a Family Member?

This practice is frowned upon but there are no rules that prevent you from certifying documents for family members. Be sure to follow proper procedure like you would with any other translation. The organization that you are submitting the translation to may decide to not accept the translation if you share the same last name.

What Do I Need to Provide with a Certification Statement?

Translations into English from a source language should include:

  •  A statement attesting to the completeness and accuracy of the translated document
  • The name of the translator with their signature and date of certification
  • Clarification of what documents have been translated and what language they were translated from
  • A statement from the translator of their qualifications and certifications as a translator

These are the minimum requirements but it’s best to ask the entity that will be receiving the translation what their requirements are. Some organizations will ask that certifications be done on official letterhead and using specific wording. 

There are two types of certifications: long form and short form. Long form certifications are used for notarized translations or legalized translations. These may be used in instances where more information is needed than what a short form provides. Short form certifications are used when a notary public is not required to certify the translations. 

When certifying the translation, be mindful of the color of ink used to sign the certification forms. Some entities will not accept certifications unless signed in blue or black ink. It is the client’s responsibility to know and inform you of what the end user’s requirements are for certification of translated documents.

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What Is a Notarized Translation?

Some entities that are requiring a notarized translation instead of a certified translation may state that they require a “notarized translation”. The translation itself can’t actually be notarized. A notary will notarize a document after identifying the legal identification of the person signing the certification statement. 

Helpful hint: Don’t sign the document until you are in front of the notary and are told to sign by them. They will verify your identity by checking your identification and then direct you to sign in front of them.

In Conclusion

Certified Translation Services allow Limited English Proficiency speakers the opportunity to apply for and receive much-needed services. Examples are: public assistance, adoption, divorce, driver’s license, visa, and so much more. 

Understanding what a certified translation is and how to get what you need is important to getting the process completed correctly. Hanna Interpreting Services, LLC is happy to provide answers to questions or help you find the right translator to meet your unique needs

Disclaimer: All content published by Hanna Interpreting Services, LLC is owned by Hanna Interpreting Services, LLC and is for educational purposes only. Published information is opinion, not fact, and should not be used in lieu of legal or professional services advice. Please consult a professional for help in regards to your individual situation or circumstances.