What is a Certified Translation and Why Do You Need One?


Have you ever wondered what a certified translation is and whether or not you actually need one?  Well, we hope to clear that up for you here and now. Certified translations are required only in certain instances, and there a lot of misconceptions about them, including the misconception that they need to be performed or witnessed by a Notary Public.

What is a certified translation?

Certified translations are translations that are accompanied by a certificate which states that the translator or translation company has performed an accurate, faithful and complete translation of the source document.  However, in the United States it is NOT mandatory to be a certified or licensed translator in order to provide a certified translation! Seems a bit odd, doesn’t it?  As a matter of fact, unlike many countries around the world, in the United States there is NO federal or state licensing for translators. Therefore, it is extremely important to select the right translation service provider to make sure the document is translated and certified by an experienced professional who employs and guarantees quality control.

When will I need a certified translation?

Certified translations are mainly required for official use only and are usually required by Federal

and State Agencies as well as schools and universities.  Let’s explore this a little.

1.) Federal & State Agencies

Among the federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the major requestor of certified translations as it deals with foreign legal documents to process requests for individual immigration to the United States, immigration of family members, adjustments of status, naturalization, work permits, and the adoption of children from other countries, among others.  Studying or attaining citizenship in the USA or bringing your adopted or own child to the USA may depend on a carefully prepared certified translation carefully crafted. Make sure you hire a professional service that will handle your documents seriously, and consider them as important as you do.

The following are the most common documents for which a certified translation is needed:

2) Schools and Universities

Another area where certified translations are often needed is in education.  Educational institutions in the United States require applicants from other countries to provide them with certified translations of academic transcripts, diplomas, resumes, curriculum vitae, etc.

So, what must a certified translation contain?

1. The certified translation must be on official company letterhead showing the name and address of the translator/translation company, signature, and a date of certification.

2. A statement signed by the translator or translation company representative attesting that the translator or translation company is competent to translate and that the translation of the source document is accurate, faithful and complete.

Note: Neither a notarized translation nor an original copy is required by the USCISI any longer.  Ordinary, legible, photocopies of documents (original document and translation) are accepted.

Where can I go to get quality certified translation?

As you can clearly see, certified translations are required for the most important life changing events related to immigration, adoption and education.  Language Concepts Consulting´s team has over 20 years of combined experience preparing certified translations.  Don’t take a chance with your most important government and educational documents.  Go with a trusted source for your certified translations.

Language Concepts Consulting is here to help when you need us.  Please give us a call at 480.626.2926 or visit us at www.languageconceptsllc.com.

Kathy Paredes



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