A female translator working with a document

What Is Notarized Translation?

In Blog by Rafael Morel

Some situations might call for a notarized translation. However, when searching for notarized or certified translation services, you may come across many translation companies using these two terms interchangeably.

That leads to many people believing that notarized translation is the same thing as certified translation. That’s not true, as these are two different services, often requiring different approaches to document translation despite sharing several similarities.

Today, we’ll discuss notarized translation, its applications, and what differentiates it from certified translation. Learning all that is the first step toward a successful and reliable translation, ensuring you avoid legal problems when translating necessary documents.

What Is Notarized Translation?

A notarized translation, or document translation notarization, is a translation service certified by a notary public. A notary public verifies the translator’s identity and attests that the service followed all official procedures. To complete a notarized translation, a notary public confirms the translator’s identity by signing the document and putting their official seal on the statement.

This type of translation is often required for legal or official documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic transcripts, or immigration papers, to be accepted by government agencies or courts in another country. Notarized translations ensure that the translated document is reliable and trustworthy. However, it’s important to note that such a statement doesn’t assure the translation’s quality.

When Are Notarized Translation Services Needed?

Notarized translation services are often necessary when translating:

  • Legal documents that need to be submitted to government agencies or used in legal proceedings, such as contracts, deeds, agreements, and court orders;
  • Immigration-related documents required by immigration authorities, including birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and police clearance certificates;
  • Academic transcripts from students applying for admission to foreign schools and universities;
  • Business documents such as financial statements, marketing materials, and business plans;
  • Medical documents requiring translation when seeking medical treatment in foreign countries, such as medical reports, prescriptions, or discharge summaries;
  • Government documents required by federal agencies, such as passports, driver’s licenses, and identification documents;
  • Technical documents, including engineering drawings, product specifications, and manuals requiring translation for foreign clients or suppliers;
  • Personal documents, such as wills, power of attorney documents, or adoption papers.

Various countries might also have specific laws requiring notarized translations. The same goes for international organizations and companies, which is why it’s essential to learn whether a notarized translation is necessary before applying particular documents.

Who Can Provide Notarized Translation Services?

Although it’s not required for a notarized translation to be performed by a certified translator, it’s recommended to always use the services of professionals for accurate and appropriate translation. Moreover, it’s possible to translate such documents yourself, although it’s not something we can recommend, even when one’s fluent in the language.

Essentially, to provide notarized translation services, a translator needs to swear and sign an oath to the accuracy of their translation services, which is then validated by a notary public. The notary public doesn’t have to verify the translator’s skill or the quality of their services. Their only job is to check and verify the translator’s identity and ensure all legal procedures have been met.

In other words, anyone can provide a notarized translation service as long as the notary public attests to their identity. That lack of quality assurance is the primary reason why many companies and organizations are moving away from notarized translations and deciding to switch to the certified translation system.

Notarized Translations vs. Certified Translations

Certified translation is a translation that has been officially verified and confirmed to be accurate and complete by a professional translator who is authorized or accredited by a specific organization or government agency. Unlike with notarized translations, there is no need for a notary public to verify the translator’s identity.

The certification process usually involves the translator signing a statement declaring the accuracy and completeness of the translation and affixing their official stamp or seal to the document. Where is the certified translation used? Its applications typically coincide with those of notarized translations, ranging from legal and government documents to medical and personal documents.

Who is a certified translator? In the US, certified translators are professionals certified by the American Translators Association (ATA). However, that certification isn’t always required to provide certified translation services. As long as the translator is skilled and authorized by a specific organization or government agency, they can provide certified translation or interpretation services.

Certified and Notarized Translation: How To Know Which One To Choose?

Given these two translation services share several similarities and can be used for the same types of document translations, how can one know which service to choose? Moreover, sometimes it might be required to use both the notarized and certified translation.

Simply put, the best and fastest way to learn which translation to choose (or both) is to directly contact the party you’re submitting the document to, be it a person, government, or enterprise. That’s because various governments and organizations might have different requirements regarding translating documents.

Do I Need A Professional Translation Company For Notarized And Certified Translations?

Yes, although using a translation company for your notarized or certified translation isn’t required by law and regulations, given how vital an accurate translation is, it’s not recommended to leave such delicate matters in the hands of a non-professional.

Whether it’s notarized or certified translations in question, using the services of professional translators guarantees your documents are interpreted and translated accurately.

Here’s where Lighthouse Translations can help. Whenever you’re in need of a certified or notarized translation, our team of expert translators is bound to provide you with the most accurate translation service possible.

What sets us apart is that our translators aren’t only fluent in their spoken languages. They are also experts in their respective fields, ensuring we provide our clients with translation services tailored to their specific needs.

Contact us today and see how we can help resolve your translation problem. With our rich experience and unmatched attention to detail, Lighthouse Translations is the company you can trust, whatever your translation or interpretation needs are.