Certified or Notarised Translation – Which Do You Require?

A document often has to undergo translation if being used for any official purpose in an overseas country. If you were married abroad and didn't have an English version produced at the time, or are travelling to a country and require your English certificate for identification purposes, it can get confusing very quickly. Here we look at the two main types of translations, and the different situations in which your documents may require them.

In this article

What We’ll Cover

  • What the different types of translation are

  • Which you will likely require for your circumstances

  • Additional steps you may need for use overseas

Certified vs. Notarised – What’s the Difference?

A certified translation is usually produced by a company or individual translator who is registered with an official professional body. As the most common way to process translations, these can be used within the UK as well as overseas for legalisation purposes. Details of the individual’s competency in the language and professional credentials will be included with the translation.

Most translations done in the UK can be produced in this way, unless expressly requested to provide a Notarised version, otherwise known as “sworn” translation.

A Notarised translation can still be produced by a registered individual or private company, but the person who produces the translation must sign an affidavit with a Notary Public, swearing to the accuracy of the contents of the document in relation to the original. This is a much more official process and is often required for court documents, whether they are being presented in the UK or overseas. A Notarised translation is requested when the accuracy of the contents is of utmost importance and leaves little room for interpretation.

Bear in mind, the Notary Public who co-signs the affidavit does not necessarily understand the contents of the document and therefore cannot personally verify how true to the original the translation actually is. The Notary is effectively producing a declaration in which the translator accepts accountability.

When are further steps required?

In some instances, you may be required to use a specific translator or seek a verification of the translation by an Embassy before it can be legalised. This is a common requirement for Greece, for which we regularly process documents for marriage purposes.

If you are intending to get married in Greece, you must use a translator from the official list produced by the Greek Embassy in London. They will produce the document and the Embassy will verify it’s contents as part of the legalisation process. If this is not completed, you will be unable to use this when you reach your destination.

If you are using a UK document in any other overseas destination, your documents will also require legalisation. The stages are dependent on where they are being presented. For other Hague convention countries, you can simply have your original document Apostilled and then translated.

If further legalisation is required because the document is being used outside the Hague convention:

  1. The original document is Apostilled
  2. The original document is translated and bound to the translation (the Apostille is also translated)
  3. The bound translation is then sent to the FCO for a further Apostille
  4. This is then sent to the Embassy of the destination country for a consular stamp

Translation in the destination country

In some instances, using a document in the UAE requires the document to be translated after legalisation, as opposed to before. Even though the UAE Embassy and the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will accept documents in English for processing, once they are completed they may require translation in to Arabic.

This is entirely dependant on the company or department to whom the documents are being presented. It’s important to ensure that you check this with your HR or contact. If translation into Arabic is required, all legalisation stamps as well as the documents themselves are translated.

What do I do if I’m unsure if I need a translation?

If you’re using a document overseas and you’re not sure if you require a translation, we can help. We can produce both certified and Notarised translations as well as the full legalisation service should you require it. You can request a quotation here,  give our team of specialists a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a text message via WhatsApp, use our WhatsApp on mobile, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at sales@vitalconsular.com.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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