Attestations and certifications and notarizations… oh my!

By United Language Group

What is an attestation or certification of translation and why do I need one?

Attestations and certified document translations ensure the quality and cultural relevancy of the translated version of the source material. Attestations and certifications can be completed by an agency or a firm, and they may include sworn translators who have passed required court testing or not.

What’s the difference between an attestation and a certification?

Attestations and certifications offer different levels of confirmation to fit different situational requirements.

In certain countries including France, Italy and Spain, some courts may require sworn translators to be used for the certifications. They typically have to pass an official exam and be registered with the court.

For an attestation, the translator doesn’t necessarily have to pass a court test, but must prove that they are a native speaker of the target language, have a deep knowledge of the source language and have studied translation. Then the translator or the translation agency must provide a declaration of accuracy that includes the name of the translator and is attached to the stamped certified translation and a copy of the original document (or a certified true copy of the original document).

When should I use certified translations?

A certification is typically required for legal and official documents that are submitted to courtrooms, government offices or regulatory bodies around the globe or certificates such as birth, marriage, divorce, degrees or diplomas. Legal documents and documents involved in legal proceedings do not all need to be certified however, only those used for official processing.

When should I use attestations?

Attestations are useful for general contextual information being provided to the court in cross-border, multi-language litigations or any legal matter where an audit trail of the professional nature of the translation processes and resources used is beneficial. Additionally, attestations are often requested or even required in certain regulated industries such as healthcare or medical device markets.

Attestations provide a quality guarantee and documented proof of the experience and professional background of the specific translator that has completed the translation. This provides an added layer of protection and a defensible audit trail should questions arise about the translated content.

Should I get it notarized too?

Attestations and certifications can also be notarized to provide a further layer of protection regarding the identity of the person carrying out the translation. For a notarized translation, the translator, or the translation agency, signs the certificate or letter of attestation in front of a notary, who adds their signature and stamp to provide proof of the authenticity of the translation.

Still have questions? We can help you determine which certified translation services are best for your specific needs. Contact us today.

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