- » What is a ”certified translation”?
- » What are certified translations required for?
- » What kind of documents are normally involved?
- » Requirements for certified translations
- » Must the original document also be presented?
- » Can certified translations be delivered by email?
- » Which translators are authorized to prepare a certified translation?
- » How long does a certified translation remain valid?
- » What is an authentication?
- » What do certified translations cost?
What is a “certified translation”?
Certified or official translations can be prepared only by translators who have been publicly appointed and sworn in/authorized by a court of law. With his signature, stamp, and endorsement the translator declares that the translation is accurate and complete. He doesn’t, however, confirm that the certificate itself is authentic – he’s not empowered to do this. The authenticity of the certificate is checked and confirmed by the authority itself. This is why we advise our customers always to present the original document to the intended addressee along with the certified translation.
What are certified translations required for?
Certified translations must in particular be presented to public authorities and courts of law, but also to schools and universities. Many documents can be officially recognized only when they bear the corresponding endorsement.
What kind of documents are normally involved?
In many cases, civil status documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and death certificates must be presented as certified translations. School and university certificates are often requested in this form too, however. In the case of business start-ups, certified translations of extracts from commercial registers, statutes and balance sheets must be submitted. Your contact person can tell you whether the translation must be certified or not.
Requirements for certified translations
Must the original document also be presented?
While it is not absolutely necessary to present the original document, it’s advisable all the same. Why? Since in the case of certified translations the entire text must be translated – including all the stamps and signatures – it’s generally better for the translator to have a look at the entire document so that he can judge for himself. Otherwise it may be the case that the text is not completely translated and the submitted translation is not recognized. Stamps and handwritten notes are in the majority of cases more legible on the original document than on a copy. In some cases, however, it’s absolutely imperative for the translator to work from the original document. In the United States in particular, a so-called security paper is used, which includes special features that can’t be copied. In this case, the translator must have the original document in front of him before he can start work. Depending on the official processing the case, it may be that he requests the translator to confirm that he actually saw the original document.
Initially, however, a copy of the document is all that’s required to prepare an offer for the customer and actually start work on the translation.
Can certified translations be delivered by email?
No, this isn’t possible – the fundamental rule is that such documents must be sent by regular mail or else picked up by the customer in person.
Which translators are authorized to prepare a certified translation?
To be able to certify a document, a translator must have completed a corresponding training (e.g. academically qualified translator, state-certified translator or similar) and have taken an oath at a court of law near his place of residence. This is designed to ensure that the translator is competent and that the translation is accurate and complete.
NB: Not every translator has taken an oath before court – each translator decides for him- or herself whether to opt for this additional qualification, and then apply to the court for authorization.
How long does a certified translation remain valid?
In principle, certified translations are valid indefinitely. In many cases, however, authorities demand a current copy of a birth certificate and that the certified translation of the certificate is submitted promptly. In some cases the validity period for which the document and its translation remain valid is just two to four weeks. Please consult the intended addressee of the translation as to how current the documents must be.
What is an authentication?
An authentication is an additional notice of certification that confirms the authenticity of the signature, and is demanded by some authorities. Legal documents issued in the local vicinity can be authenticated by the administrative director of the competent „Landgericht“, i.e. district court. Such documents include notarial deeds, court verdicts with confirmation of promulgation and legal effectiveness, excerpts from commercial registers.
Certificates that are issued outside the region of competence of the local authority or district court can’t be authenticated by the administrative director of the district court. Such documents include certificates issued by municipal or communal administrative bodies, for example birth, marriage, or naturalization certificates. The competent district government is responsible for these documents.
An authentication can take one of two forms: a so-called legalization, or an apostille according to the Hague convention
- All nations that have acceded to the Hague Convention (see this list) accept the so-called apostille. The Hague Convention was established to abolish the requirement for the legalization of foreign public certificates of 5 October 1961 (Federal Gazette 1965 II, p 876). The “Hague Apostille” confirms the authenticity of a certificate. In contrast to legalization, however, the apostille is attached by an appointed authority of the state in which the certificate was issued. The apostille is affixed to the document in question, and is generally required for official certification purposes. If you’re ordering a certified translation of a certificate bearing an apostille, this must always be included in the translation to guarantee that the translation is “identical and complete”.
- Certificates issued by states that have not acceded to the Hague Convention are marked with a legalization endorsement. This legalization confirms the authenticity of a foreign certificate by the consular officer of the state in which the certificate is to be used. This legalization endorsement must also be included in a certified translation.
Our tip: Contact the authority in question in good time beforehand to find out whether an authentication is required. It can take a week or more to get an authentication, so it shouldn’t be left too late.
What do certified translations cost?
For a certified translation, a so-called certification fee must also be charged on top of the costs for the normal translation. This fee is €11.00 for documents of up to four pages, and is correspondingly higher for longer documents. It is best to consider beforehand how many copies of the certified translation you will actually need, since in many cases it is more expensive to order more copies afterwards than to order several copies the first time round.
In TetraLingua Fachübersetzungen you’ve found a reliable partner for your translation project. Our professional translators are recognized and expertly trained specialists in their fields, with several years of professional experience. In accordance with the ethical standards of their profession, they are obligated to treat all matters with utmost confidentiality. What’s more, virtually all of the translators in our team are legally sworn – if not all for the same language combination.
We look forward to making you an individual offer, entirely in keeping with your specific requirements and wishes. Simply fill out the contact form or call us.
- Any questions?
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- +49 89 67989548