Certifed Translations

When to Use Certified vs Notarized Translations

Certified Translation

A certified translation consists of the following parts: 1) the original (source-language) text; 2) the translated (target-language) text; 3) a statement signed by the translator or translation company representative, with his or her signature notarized by a Notary Public, attesting that the translator or translation company representative believes the target-language text to be an accurate and complete translation of the source-language text.

A certified translation and a certified translator are not the same thing. A certified translator is a professional translator who has passed an exam and received certification from an organization like the American Translators Association. However, a translator doesn’t need to be certified in order to provide a certified translation. Any qualified translator or LSP can provide a certified translation by signing and attaching a certificate of accuracy to the completed translation.

Notarized Translation

A notarized translation is less about quality control and more about following official procedures. A notary public is a person who is authorized by the government to oversee and authenticate various legal formalities – one of them being notarized translations. Notarized translations are usually required for education-based documents like high school transcripts or foreign diplomas.

Any self-proclaimed translator can take their work to a notary public, swear an oath to its accuracy and sign an affidavit. The affidavit will be considered valid once the notary public has signed it and put his or her official seal on it. The translator does not have to be certified and the notary does not assess the quality of the work – they verify the translator’s identity, but that’s about it.

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Who Can Certify Translations?

Only translators who have received certification through several industry-standard exams can legally provide certified translations. This means that the individual must know the exact terms and phrases related to the industry, culture, and language they are translating. The American Translators Association (located in the United States) offers certification for translators who want to translate for public and private sectors. For example, screening is done on translators who wish to work on documents and materials of the Department of Social and Health Services. Those who pass this screening are considered “DSHS Certified Translators.”

Outside of the United States, only sworn translators are allowed to perform certified translation services. These screenings and certified processes occur in order to regulate certified translation services so that companies cannot just go around claiming to be certified.

Why choose us?

USCIS Acceptance

All of our documents come with guaranteed USCIS acceptance, so you can rest assured that your legal translations are in safe hands.

Certified Legal Documents

If you do business globally or handle multiple immigration applications, then you’ll need accurate legal translations of your important documents.

Translation Affidavits

We can provide you with translation affidavits for all your documents that are readily accepted by all governing bodies in the U.S. and across the world.

Certified Apostille

If you’re thinking about working overseas, moving abroad, or studying in a different country, we can accompany all your translations with a certified apostille.

Certifed or Notarized: Use one, not both

Today, it’s usually one or the other that is required – either a certified or a notarized translation, but not both. This was not always the case, as just a few years ago the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) required that all certified translations also be notarized. However, the USCIS has since changed the rules and dropped the notarization requirement, making certified translations the standard U.S. requirement for all immigration purposes.

If you need help preparing certified translations or notarized translations, contact Morningside and we will be glad to assist.

(3)     Translations. Any document containing foreign language submitted to USCIS shall be accompanied by a full English language translation which the translator has certified as complete and accurate, and by the translator’s certification that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.



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