Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

Part 1 - Understanding Certified Translation

Immigration Certified Translation
Part 1 - Understanding Certified Translation
on January, 06 2015

What is certified translation

It is necessary to understand what certified translation is, as different countries have different definitions on what constitute certified translations.

In the United States, a certified translation consists of the original text or the source language, the translated text or the target language and a statement that is signed by the representative of the translation company or the translator, with the signature notarized by a Notary Public. This document certifies that the target language text is a complete and accurate translation of the original document.

There is no state or federal certification or licensing for translators in the United States. Although there are some credentials that are available for translators in the U.S. who are working in some specific language pairs, these do not bear the same weight in the translation community or the translation marketplace as the federal certification or licensing given in other countries.

The situation is similar in the United Kingdom where certified translation is not as rigidly defined. Compared to other European countries, translators in the United Kingdom do not need to be sworn, court-approved or licensed.


The type of certified translation that is needed depends solely on the person's requirements and the most common in the UK is a Certificate of Translation. This is also called a Translator's Certificate or a Certificate of Accuracy, which is submitted together with the translations of marriage, death and birth certificates and other personal documents that are needed for visa and immigration purposes. This is very much like the certified translation requirements for personal documents submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the same purpose.

In some cases, the translator's agency includes details about the translator, such as the competency in the source and target languages and additional information about their professional certifications.

Other types of certified translation

Officials from overseas, courts and various departments of the governments could require other types of certified translation, which you must carefully check. What we have here are the more common ones required in the UK.

Notarized translation requires the certification from a Notary Public that the translation company has the capability to do the translation. This type is often called for by continental countries in Europe, where a notary has a central role in commercial and personal legal transactions.

In sworn translations, the translator must be present in the offices of the commissioner, notary public or a solicitor to take an oath, whereby the translator states that he or she had produced the translation and that it is a true and faithful translation of the source document. It is sometimes called as a sworn affidavit.

When a translation is to be used in another country, what you need is an Apostille. This is a process that is called legalization or consularization in the UK. The consularization process also differs from country to country. In simple terms, this means that the document is legalized so it could be used internationally under the terms of the “1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents.” A notarized translation of a document only needs an Apostille so it can be used as a legal document in countries that are parties to the 1961 Hague Convention.

Related Posts:

Part 2 – Certified Translation, A Must in Visa Application
Part 3 – Understanding EN15038 and Certified Translation in European Countries

Sean Patrick Hopwood

Sean Patrick Hopwood is a lover of languages, peace, progress, education, and positivity. Speaking 6 languages, English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Portuguese and Hebrew, he has shown a love of cultures since childhood. He is currently the C.E.O. of Day Translations, Incorporated. Follow Sean in Facebook, Google+, or visit his website at

Join our weekly newsletter for articles, news and ideas

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!