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What does a certified translation mean?

I have been advised to get a certified translation but I’m unclear as to exactly what that means. Is this something you are familiar with and can you provide them please?

Answer

Hi Wilhelmina,

Great question, thanks. I’ve answered below. If you need any more information please call us on 020 7021 0888.

Certified Translation Services

There are various reasons you may need to get a translation certified. This is often necessary in the case of translating legal documents like birth or marriage certificates, or documents for official use, like contracts.

At London Translations, we offer a range of certification options for translations. Below follows a guide to various certified translations.

Certified translation can mean a number of things:

Translations are normally considered ‘certified’ if they have been produced under one of the three circumstances:

1. The document has been translated by a ‘sworn translator’

In some countries, translators can register with an official body as a “sworn translator” and by doing so be recognised by authorities such as the High Court of Justice to translate and legalise documents (often referred to as producing a ‘certified translation’).

Sworn Translation in the UK

There is no such thing as a Sworn Translator in the UK as there is no recognised official body which grants authorisation to legalise or certify.

2. The document has been certified by the translator or the translation company

Even though there is no formal route by which a translator can be authorised to certify translations in the UK, it is often acceptable to the requesting party for the translator to declare that they are a professional translator and they believe it to be a ‘true and accurate translation of the original’.

In theory, anyone who calls themselves a translator could make this claim. However it is always best to ensure that the translator state their qualifications to add gravitas to the claim.

For instance:

“I, Mrs Yuki Kanowa, a member of the Institute of Translators & Interpreters, competent to translate from ……………. into ……………., hereby declare that the annexed translation in the …………… language of ……………………., and executed by me is, to the best of my professional knowledge and belief, a true and faithful rendering of the ……………original.”

Translation companies can also self-certify translations on behalf of their translators, again stating their credentials.

For instance:

“London Translations Limited, a member of the Association of Translation Companies, hereby declares that the annexed translation in the …………… language of …………………… was executed by a professional translator competent to translate from …………… into ……………, and is to the best of our professional knowledge and belief, a true and faithful rendering of the ……………original.”

Certified Translations in the UK

As the translation industry is unregulated, ANYONE can make claims as to the accuracy of a particular translation and therefore it is important to check the credentials of the certifier carefully.

We strongly suggest that if your document is translated by a freelance translator in the UK then they are a member of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters or Institute of Linguists.

If your translation agency is providing the certification, check they are a member of the Association of Translation Companies London Translations only use qualified translations and are members of the Association of Translation Companies.

3. Certification in front of a solicitor

This is very similar to point 2. above, the only difference is that the document is signed in front of a Solicitor or Notary Public as being “true to the original”. The solicitor or notary public also adds their signature and official seal to prove it has been witnessed.

Getting an official translation

As with point 2, ANYONE can claim to be a translator so it is important to check the credentials of the translator.

Remember that the Solicitor or Notary Public cannot normally understand the translated document. Although the wax seal looks very official, all it is really doing is proving that the individual who came to the office signed the document in their presence. It does not guarantee the translation is accurate.

There is a nominal fee for certification in front of a solicitor.