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What to Look for In a Certified Document Translator

If you have important documents translated between languages, it is important for you to make sure this is done correctly. That is where a certified translation can be helpful. At the same time, you need to make sure you hire the right person to translate your documents. What are some of the factors you should consider when you look for the right certified document translator?

What Is a Certified Translation?

In the United States, there is no special requirement for someone to certify a translation. Therefore, you should make sure that you dig into the background of the person you ask to complete the translation. A translator can either:

  • Complete the translation and certify it on his own or her own
  • Look at someone else’s translation and certify that it is correct

It is the responsibility of the translator to review the translation for both accuracy and completeness. It is also important to make sure the translation does not change after it has been certified. This is why translation companies can certify translations that are completed either by freelance translators or by their own employees.

Certified translation
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Translator Certification

This certification from the translator is usually provided as a statement. This statement will include:

  • The qualifications of the person completing the translation
  • A signature that verifies the translation as both complete and correct
  • The original language of the document and the targeted translation language after the process is finished
  • The name of the translator, his or her signature, and the date it was completed

It is important to note that there is a difference between a certified translation and a notarized translation. A certified translation comes with the statement above at the end of the job. This statement attests to the validity, accuracy, and completeness of the translation. If someone needs a notary attached to the translation, this is a separate process.

The notary process does not have anything to do with the translation itself. A notary public acknowledges that the person who is referenced on the document (and signs that document) is who they say they are. It is not unusual for someone to have documents translated and notarized. The notary process is separate from the translation process.

Why Do You Need a Certified Translation?

Business agreement
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

There are several situations where you might need to have a certified translation. Some of the most common examples of certified translations in the business world include:

  • A merger and acquisition process taking place between two companies whose first languages are different.
  • Important financial statements for various corporations that need to be translated before the recipient can properly analyze them.
  • There are testimonies from corporate officers that need to be translated between two languages before they can be read smoothly.
  • Articles of incorporation
  • All company contracts


There are also a few personal examples where someone might need to have a certified translation. These are usually legal or official documents that are being sent somewhere. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Documents related to court including depositions, official statements, and witness testimonies
  • Birth certificates
  • Transcripts from colleges and universities
  • Living wills
  • Any and all immigration documents
  • Certificates of Marriage
  • Insurance documents
  • Tax statements

Some of these documents might also have to be notarized once the translation process is complete. Remember to keep a copy of the document in its original language if someone wants to look over it afterward for accuracy. There should also be a translated copy and a statement attesting to the translator’s competency and the accuracy of the translation.

What To Look For in a Certified Document Translator

If you are looking for a certified translation, then you need to find a certified translator. A certified translator is a linguist who has passed an exam that assesses their ability to translate from one language into another accurately. This exam is usually administered by a professional authority, such as the American Translators Association (ATA), or the local government. It is important to note that a certified translator might also have a degree from a local university; however, this is not the same as this high-level certification, which can only be obtained by passing an exam.

Furthermore, note that these exams are only tests of translation in one direction. For example, one test examines someone’s ability to translate from English to Spanish and a separate exam that tests someone’s ability to translate from Spanish to English or even German to English and English to German.

The Right Credentials to do the Job

Therefore, it is important to find a certified document translator who has the right credentials to do the job. Some of the factors to consider include:

  • The translator has plenty of experience translating documents to and from the target language
  • Ideally, the translator has passed the translation exam in both directions
  • The translator has a degree in the target language from a local university, which would be a bonus

It is also good to examine what industries the translator has translated documents for in the past. There is a lot of industry jargon that has to be translated accurately. It is a good idea to see if the translator has experience in that industry.

Furthermore, there are ATA certifications offered in 27 languages. This means that, depending on the target language, there might not be a certification in that field.

Contact Etcetera Language Group for Certified Translations

If you are looking for a certified document translator to translate documents for personal or business use or something specific such as Arabic to English translation services, then contact a company like Etcetera Language Group. You want a company that provides desktop publishing services, document translation services, and proofreading services. Check out the company’s reviews from prior clients endorsing our services. Make sure they provide translation services in dozens of languages, and their translators are expertly trained and highly skilled in providing accurate, complete, and efficient translations. 

Featured Image by Tessa Kavanagh from Pixabay