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

Last Updated On: August 21, 2019

inTranslation Trends

businessman in office writing in the air translation

Often when you have an important document which 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 which s/he signs that vouches for the translation are both an accurate and 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.


The format for a certified translation in Australia

Each translation must include an authorised translator’s statement stating that it is a correct and true translation created from the sighted document. The translation must show an official stamp which 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

A notarized translation is not so much about ensuring a high quality, accurate translation but more about adhering to a country’s official processes. A notary public is someone who has been given the authorisation by a government to affirm that a translation and other documents are authentic. A notarized translation is often requested for high school and university qualifications which have been awarded outside the country which requests them.

Any person who is a translator may take any translated document to a notary public, swear an oath that it is accurate and then sign the affidavit. This document is notarized as soon as the notary public has viewed and signed it. The translator doesn’t necessarily need to be certified while the notary is not required to assess the translation’s quality but is just required to verify the identity of the translator.

Most translated documents, if they are to be used for official purposes like migration to the United States, only require either certifying or notarising, but not both. Some time ago, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) required that all translated documents be certified and notarized. Today, they only require certification by the translator.


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