What is a Certificate of Translation Accuracy?

Created: Aug 22, 2023 | Updated: May 9, 2024

In today's globalized world, the exchange of documents across borders is a common occurrence. Whether for personal, business, or legal reasons, the importance of conveying the exact meaning of a document in another language is paramount. This is where certified translation comes into play. 

In this article, we'll explore the following aspects of certified translation:

  • What is Certified Translation?
  • Certificate of Translation Accuracy
  • Documents That Require Certified Translation
  • Certified Translation Requirement
  • What is the Difference between Sworn Translation, Official translation, & Certified translation
  • Local Terms for Certified Translation in Different Countries
  • How to Get a Certified Translation
  • Use Cases of Certified Translation
  • Benefits of Certified Translation
  • What is a Notarized Translation?
  • How Much Does Certified Translation Cost?
  • Are Certified Translations Accepted in Every Country?

What is Certified Translation?

Certified translation refers to a translated document that is accompanied by a certification statement that is issued by a professional translator or translation agency. This statement is called a ‘Certificate of Translation Accuracy’. It attests to the accuracy and completeness of the translation in comparison to the original document. The translator or agency takes full responsibility for the authenticity of the translation, ensuring it retains the same meaning and intent as the source material.

The certification statement only attests to the accuracy of the translation in comparison to the original document. This statement does not take responsibility for the content of the original document, as that is solely the responsibility of the document’s owner.


Certificate of Translation Accuracy

A certificate of translation accuracy should contain the following things: 

  1. Translator's Details: This includes the full name, credentials, and contact information of the translator or the agency responsible for the translation.
  2. Affirmation Statement: A declaration that attests to the translator's competence in both the required source and target languages and confirms that the translation is a true and accurate representation of the original.
  3. Translation Date: The specific date that the translation was completed.
  4. Signature: A manual or electronic signature of the translator or a representative from the translation agency.
  5. Seal or Stamp: If available, the official seal or stamp of the translator or the translation agency.
  6. Document References: Identifying details of the original document, such as title, date, and any relevant reference numbers.
  7. Purpose of Translation: While not always mandatory, some certificates might specify the intended use of the translation, be it legal, academic, medical, or otherwise.


Certification of Translation Accuracy


Documents That Require Certified Translation

Navigating international waters usually means encountering situations where you're required to present personal or official documents. But what happens when these documents are in a language that is not widely spoken or understood in the new country? Then you may need certified translation. 

Certified translations are generally required for official engagements with administrative bodies, government institutions and some professional bodies. Some of the documents that may require certified translation are:

  • Birth Certificates: If you're relocating, whether for work or personal reasons, your birth certificate validates your identity and origin. It's a primary document for processes like visa applications or registrations in a new country.
  • Marriage Certificates: Are you planning to move with your spouse? Or maybe you got married in a foreign country? A certified translation of your marriage certificate can be essential for spousal visa applications or to confirm your marital status in your new home.
  • Academic Transcripts: Universities and colleges often require translated versions of your academic records. This ensures they understand your educational background and can accurately assess your qualifications.
  • Legal Documents: Engaging in international legal disputes or business contracts? All parties involved must comprehend the documents, and certified translations help ensure clarity and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Immigration Documents: Immigration authorities need to verify your background, and this often involves reviewing documents from your home country. Certified translations guarantee that these authorities can accurately evaluate your application.
  • Business Contracts: Every clause in a contract is crucial. To ensure mutual understanding and consensus, certified translations of business contracts can be invaluable.

Certified Translation Requirement

  • Qualified Translator or Agency: Not just anyone can provide a certified translation. It should be carried out by a professional translator or a translation agency that possesses the necessary accreditations and is recognized by local or international authorities such as the American Translators Association (ATA), and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).
  • Accuracy and Completeness: A certified translation isn't merely about translating words. It's about ensuring that the meaning, tone, and nuances of the original document are retained in the translated version. The translation must be complete, without omissions or additions.
  • Document Presentation: Presentation matters. Some authorities may require certified translations to be presented in a specific format.
  • Language Expertise: The translator should be proficient in both source and target languages, ensuring accurate and nuanced translations.
  • Privacy Policy: The translation company must be committed to safeguarding the confidentiality of the document's content during the translation process. There should be a secure way of sending your documents and receiving your translation.
  • Area of Expertise: The translator must be specialized in specific relevant fields, like medical or legal to ensure contextually accurate translations.
  • Certificate of Translation Accuracy: a Certified translation must be accompanied by a formal document that vouches for the translation's correctness and completeness in comparison to the original document.

What is the Difference Between Sworn Translation, Official Translation, & Certified Translation?

Sworn Translation

Originating from the term "sworn translator," this refers to a translation that is done by a translator who has taken a formal oath or has been officially appointed by a regulatory or governmental body (Courts). The "sworn" status empowers the translator to provide translations that are legally valid and recognized in official contexts. Commonly, in countries like Spain or France, sworn translations are often used in legal proceedings and other formal settings.

Sworn translation

Official Translation

“Official translation” is a phrase that is used synonymously with certified translations or sworn translations. The "official" stamp means that the translation is endorsed by a government entity and is thus accepted in bureaucratic or administrative scenarios.

Certified Translation

As explored earlier, a certified translation is a document that has been translated by a professional and is accompanied by a formal attestation or certificate.

This certificate confirms the translation's fidelity to the original document, ensuring its accuracy and completeness.

Local Terms for Certified Translation in Different Countries

The uniqueness of languages and cultures extends to the realm of certified translations as well. Each country has its unique terminology and standards that cater to its bureaucratic landscape. Here’s a closer look at some of these terms in various countries:

  1. USA: Often referred to as USCIS-certified translation, this is essential for immigration processes, ensuring that the translated documents meet the standards set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. France: The term Sworn translation in France or "Traduction assermentée en France" refers to translations done by a translator who has sworn an oath before the Regional Court of Appeal where the translator lives.
  3. Spain: Similar to France, Sworn translations in Spain, known as "Traducción jurada en España" is done by translators who have taken a formal oath and are accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  4. Australia: Translations are often entrusted to NAATI-certified translators, who are credentialed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
  5. Canada: Known as Certified translation in Canada, it's crucial for various official processes, with certain provinces having their regulatory bodies that oversee translation standards.
  6. Switzerland: Certified translations in Switzerland are provided by professional translators, and then certified by a skilled notary public, lawyer or another authorized body.
  7. Ireland: Here, the term Certified translation in Ireland is used for translations that come from certified translators who are members of a recognized certification body in Ireland.
  8. Austria: Certified translation in Austria is essential for many official processes, and the country has rigorous standards to ensure the utmost accuracy and integrity of translations. The translator needs to be certified by an Austrian court and authorised by the Austrian Ministry of Justice.
  9. Germany: Known as Sworn translation in Germany or "Beglaubigte Übersetzung". These translations are done by translators who are authorized by Regional German Courts.
  10. Russia: In Russia, the term Notarial translation or "Нотариальный перевод" is used. This means the document is not only translated but also notarized by a notary public, adding an extra layer of validation.


How to Get a Certified Translation

  1. Identify the type of certification required for your specific need (sworn/certified/notarized translation).
  2. Find a reputable translation agency or professional translator with credentials recognized by the country where the translation will be used.
  3. Submit the original documents for translation. Make sure they are error-free.
  4. Receive the translated document along with the Certificate of Translation Accuracy.


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Use Cases of Certified Translation

  • Immigration and Residency.
  • Academic Applications.
  • International Business.
  • International Legal Proceedings.
  • Medical Procedures Abroad.
  • Real Estate Transactions. 
  • Adoption Processes.


Benefits of Certified Translation

  • Authenticity and Credibility: A certified translation ensures that the document is an authentic representation of the original, bolstering its credibility in official settings.
  • Avoids Misunderstandings: Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of translated documents prevents potential misunderstandings or misinterpretations, especially in crucial areas like legal or medical contexts.
  • Cost-effective in the Long Run: While there might be an upfront cost, investing in certified translations can save money in the long run by avoiding potential legal issues, penalties, or the need for retranslations.

What is a Notarized Translation?

A notarized translation involves a two-step validation process. This translation carries the signature and seal of a notary public

The notary public's primary role in this context is to verify the identity of the translator, and then to confirm, or "notarize" the authenticity of that signature.

It's important to note that the notary public does not validate the quality or accuracy of the translation itself, but rather, validates the authenticity of the signature on the certification. The notarization adds an extra layer of formal validation, ensuring that the person who claims to have done the translation is indeed who they say they are.

How Much Does Certified Translation Cost?

The cost of a Certified translation can vary greatly depending on several factors including the length and complexity of the document, the language pair involved, and the turnaround time required. Some services charge per word, while others might charge a flat fee per document. It is recommended to get a quote from the translation service for an accurate estimation. You can get a free quote here, today!

Are Certified Translations Accepted in Every Country?

The acceptance of certified translations largely depends on the specific requirements of the receiving institution or governmental body in each country. While certified translations are designed to assure accuracy and authenticity, their acceptance is not universally standardized. Here are some points to consider:

  • Varied Standards: Different countries, and even different institutions within those countries, may have varying standards and requirements for accepting certified translations.
  • Sworn vs. Certified: As discussed earlier, some countries differentiate between sworn translations and certified translations. One might be accepted whereas the other isn't.
  • Notarization Requirements: In some scenarios, a certification may not suffice. A notarized translation might be necessary, especially for certain legal or official processes.
  • Specific Country Agreements: Some countries have mutual agreements or treaties that allow for the easier acceptance of official documents, including translations. i.e. Hague Apostille legalization.
  • Dynamic Regulations: Immigration laws, educational policies, and business regulations can change, impacting the requirements for translated documents.
  • Professional Affiliations: Translations done by members of internationally recognized professional bodies, like the American Translators Association (ATA), might have wider acceptance due to the association's reputation.
  • Purpose of the Document: A translation meant for a university application might have different acceptance criteria compared to one used in a legal setting or for immigration purposes.

In conclusion, while certified translations are designed to be widely accepted due to their assurance of quality, it's crucial to verify the specific requirements of the receiving authority in the country or institution where the document will be presented. Always consult with the relevant body or seek guidance from professional translation services familiar with the target country's regulations.

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