While we at Lingua Translations take pride in our work, sometimes a translation on its own, no matter how accurate and superbly-crafted it is, is not able to serve as a legal document. Birth/death/marriage/divorce certificates, contracts of every nature, academic diplomas and qualifications and so on, are documents we translate on a regular basis, and sometimes their official recognition at home and overseas is paramount.

In cases where you require something other than our awards and excellent reputation to make your translated legal documents official, we can offer various certification services as part of the translation project. It’s important that you choose the right service for your document, depending on what it is used for. Being a team of linguists rather than lawyers, The Dream Team can’t really tell you which service you need, but our aim here is to briefly describe the differences in order to help you make an informed decision.

First up, would recommend you use our translation and proofreading service for any documents requiring certification – our translators are brilliant and we have every faith in them, but in legal cases it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

The most basic kind of certification we offer is a translation certificate. This certificate states that the translation is true, accurate, and completed by a professional linguist who is specialised in the particular language combination. The certificate is stamped and signed by the translator and the project manager in charge of the project, and can be provided as an electronic copy upon delivery of the files, or if you would prefer, we can also send a hard copy in the post. These are usually required for educational certificates, transcripts and so on, which may be used for official purposes but not as part of any legal proceedings.

Next up is an affidavit, which our translators provide themselves. They take their excellent translation to their solicitor and swear to them that it is a true and accurate reflection of the source, and the document is then signed and stamped by the solicitor. Affidavits are generally required where the translation serves as part of court proceedings. We then send you the hard copy of the documents, as would also be the case for the next two levels of certification.

Notarisation is a bit fancier, in that we take a certified translation (as above) to a notary public, and have them sign and seal it once we have attested to the accuracy and quality of the document. Notarised documents can be used for some official purposes abroad, for example to support marriage visa/work permit applications, or if you or your client is buying property overseas.

The highest level of certification we offer is apostille, or legalisation. We send the notarised translation, and often the original source document to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, whereupon they stamp it and certify it as being legal in the countries listed under the Hague Convention. The translation and originals are then recognised abroad as being legal documents.

So there you have it, a general guide to certification. We generally appreciate being warned in advance if a document will require notarisation and legalisation, so that we can make sure we factor posting of the documents into the deadline and ensure our notary is available, but that’s all we need, really.
So, don’t fret if you don’t have time to arrange for certification of your documents once they have been translated – come straight to us and we’ll handle the entire thing for you from start to finish!

For more information about our Legal translation and interpreting services, please visit our legal translations webpage.