Do Translated Documents Need to be Notarized, Certified, or Both?

Last Updated On: November 20, 2023

inTranslation Trends

Best Ways to Be Sure a Translation is Correct

Often when you have an important document that needs to be translated you are asked to give proof that you have used a fully qualified translation service to do the job. There are two ways you can use to prove you have an official translation. One way is getting a certified translation while the other is asking for a translation to be notarized. Both of these have different characteristics that you need to consider before you choose one or another.

Characteristics of a certified translation

This is when your chosen professional translator provides a statement that s/he signs that vouch for the translation are both an accurate and certified true translation of the original document.  If your document is any of the following you should choose a certified translation:

  • a business contract;
  • a court transcript;
  • an immigration document;
  • an adoption agreement;
  • a birth, death, or marriage certificate.

What is a certified translator?

This is typically a professionally trained translator who has passed an examination and has been awarded a competence certificate from an agency such as the American Translators Association (ATA) in the U.S. or the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) in Australia. In the United States, you do not need to be a certified translator to certify a translation, but you can provide certification by attaching and signing a certificate of accuracy to every completed translation. However, in Australia, if you require a document to be translated for official purposes, such as for immigration, it will need to be translated and certified by a NAATI-accredited translator.


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    The format for a certified translation in Australia

    Each translation must include an authorized translator’s statement stating that it is a correct and true translation created from the sighted document. The translation must show an official stamp that indicates the accreditation of the certifier. Each translation needs to be accompanied by a copy of the original document that has been certified and is in the original language. This must be signed and stamped as a correct and true copy by the approved certifier.

    Characteristics of a notarized translation

    • Notarized translation focuses on adhering to official processes and is often requested for educational qualifications awarded outside the requesting country.
    • A notary public, authorized by the government, affirms the authenticity of the translation and other documents.
    • The translator can take the translated document to a notary public, swear an oath of accuracy, and have it notarized.
    • The translator doesn’t necessarily need to be certified, and the notary’s role is to verify the translator’s identity, not assess translation quality.
    • For many official purposes, such as immigration to the United States, documents typically require either certification or notarization, but not both.
    • The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) currently requires certification by the translator for translated documents, not both certification and notarization.

    In conclusion, both certified and notarized translations serve distinct purposes. Certified translations are endorsed by qualified translators and are suitable for various official documents. Notarized translations focus on adherence to official processes, often required for qualifications awarded abroad. Understanding their differences is essential for choosing the right option.

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