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Certified translation: Everything you need to know

Whether it's in a professional or personal context, you may need to translate documents. In these cases, it proves to be pretty handy to understand the specifics of each type of translation, in order to ensure that you get the documents that you need!

If you've already read our article on the different types of translation, you'll know that there are three main types of translation. After reading our article, you'll be able to tell them apart with ease, which will be a great help for you when you find yourself with a document to translate! This will allow you to choose the right agency and the right translator for your needs, and to optimize your translations.

It's with this in mind that we at Powerling, a multilingual agency, have put together this article to tell you more about certified translation and its characteristics!

What is certified translation? What kind of structures require it? Who can do a certified translation? You'll find the answers in this article.

Certified translation 101

What exactly is certified translation?

You may have spotted it mentioned in our article on the different types of translation, but we're here to give you the full low-down on certified translation here!

Also known as "sworn translation", certified translation is a translation that is certified by an expert translator. This way, the certified document is accepted and recognized by French or foreign legal and administrative authorities. The content is certified to conform with the original document, giving the translation an official standard, making it admissible to authorities.

However, as you'll see by the end of this article, a certified translation document needs to respect certain rules and principles in order to fully comply with legal requirements.

Easily identifying a certified translation

How can you tell if a document is actually certified? Several distinctive signs can help you to spot a certified document!

Effectively, the certified content must contain the seal and signature, or the stamp, of the translator. Plus, for French documents, the words "Traduction certifiée conforme à l'original" must also be clearly visible on the document. Plus, the presentation and formatting of the original document must also be respected. These are the two fundamental characteristics of a certified and sworn document.

Moreover, it's also necessary for the translator's full name to be indicated, along with the languages into which a certified translation has been delivered.

So, now you know how to spot a certified translated document. Make sure that all of these points are checked off to be sure that your document is legally valid and will be accepted by the authorities.

Who can do a certified translation?

A certified translation can't just be done by any translator… There is a specific series of formalities to be completed in order to become a sworn translator in France and many other EU countries.

For example, in France, to become a certified translator the linguist needs to file an application with the district attorney of the Court of Appeal, in the aim of obtaining the status of linguistic specialist and expert. This status is granted after a precise evaluation of their skills and capacities in the linguistic, legal, and terminological fields. Beyond their professional skills, the applicant must also present a clear criminal record, evidence of their professional experience, and their reasons for applying. To be certain of the truthfulness of the documents provided by the translator, the police may conduct moral reviews.

Once the translator's application has been accepted, they'll make a sworn statement under oath, by which they promise to respect ethical guidelines and quality guidelines.

There's a good reason for this rigorous process, as a certified document has the same legal value for the institutions of a foreign country as in its original country. This is why the issuance rules are strict and sworn translators must register with a court.

As you've likely gathered, certified translators have expertise that's recognized by official authorities which proves their undeniable qualities as a translator, highlighting why it's essential for you to use the services of linguistic specialists who can take care of your documents and deliver high-quality translations.

When you need a certified translation? In which contexts?

The different types of documents Now that you know what makes a certified translation, you need to identify whether your documents require this special type of translation.

Certified translation is required for several different official or administrative documents. Here's a non-exhaustive list of the key documents requiring certified translation:

  • Civil status documents: Birth, marriage or death certificates;
  • Court rulings issued by civil jurisdictions: Adoption, divorce, inheritance, or affiliation;
  • Rulings from Commercial Courts;
  • Diplomas or academic certificates.

In a broader sense, any document with legal value can benefit from a certified translation to ensure that it is ratified.

What kind of structure requires certified translation?

Certified translations particularly concern companies wanting to open subsidiaries overseas, or those looking to expand their business onto international markets. Therefore, many companies like these are turning to certified translations for their transportation documents, commercial contracts, and even their technical brochures, ensuring that all their documents have an official, qualitative character. For example, certified translation may be required for a preliminary sale agreement or a sale agreement for a foreign country. However, it can also be useful for legal or financial operations, such as partnership agreements.

A great gauge of confidence, certified translations can really offer added value for your content in employees' eyes! On top of certifying the accuracy and truthfulness of a document, certified translation also means that documents can be easily passed on to a legal body, if required.

If we put professional uses aside for a moment, you may also need to use the services of certified translator if an administrative or legal authority requires an official document from you in order to ensure compliance with the law and for your document to be accepted by the authorities. This may be the case if you're opening a bank account abroad or if you need to provide specific documents to a lawyer or solicitor, for example.

Now that you're all clued up on certified translation, we recommend looking into the other types of translation, such as localization or transcreation! If you're looking for an expert to take care of your translations, look no further - you can get in touch with us here at Powerling, and we'll be more than happy to find the perfect solution for your requirements!

NEWS : Powerling has recently acquired WCS group.

For more information, click here!