When to Use Certified vs Notarized Translations
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.
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.