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Translation renders data from one source language to a target language. Almost any content can be translated. In the age of globalization, translation services are utilized by the military, governments, multinational companies, the Internet and e-commerce.

Professional translators are trusted by their employers to bridge communication gaps, as well as language and cultural barriers. They relay messages from one dialect to another, ensuring that its essence and meaning are fully communicated. The question now presents itself. How is a company or institution guaranteed that the translation is indeed accurate?

Certified translations assure parties that the translation is valid and recognizes it as a legal document. This is a necessity when documents such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, passports, driver’s licenses, university transcripts, and the like, are involved.  Certified translations have the same meaning as certified true copies. They are a requirement of universities and government institutions when translated documents are involved.

The basics of certified translations

Certified translations must have the following present:

Content from a source language translated to a target language. A signed letter or an affidavit from the translator stating that the document is believed to be a complete and correct rendering of the source text.

This letter of affidavit is then notarized by a Notary Public, and now becomes a legally binding document.

It may sound a bit confusing, but certified translations need not come from certified translators. And it is important to note that a notary seal on your document means that the Notary Public has read and understood the translator’s affidavit and certifies it as true.

Having this done by a certified translator doesn’t hurt as well. Certified translators have passed some form of certification test with an organization. To look for a certified translator, check the directories of the American Translators Association (ATA) in the United States and the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC) in Canada.

Certified translations as foundations for a new life

One of the most common needs for certified translations are in immigration cases. Everyday, immigrants from all over the world attempt to rebuild their lives in a foreign land. A huge part of this process includes showing documents to prove one’s self and what one has accomplished. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, medical records, financial documents, and professional licenses help kick-start the rebuilding process.

Those undergoing this process are advised to find a reputable translation service and keep all original documents as organized as possible.

If you are coming from a foreign country, colleges, universities, and academic institutions will ask for translations to be prepared by a certified translator when requesting translations of transcripts of records and diplomas. These will serve as basis for determining the next step in your intent to continue one’s education.

Businessmen will also need a certified translation of company documents and financial records should they wish to approach banks and financial institutions to restart their business in their new home country.

Why are certified translations needed?

A 2009 study by the United States Immigration showed that there is reason to stay on alert against fake documents. 21% of immigrant worker visa applications contained fraud violations, and one fifth of those violations involved forged documents.

One can only imagine the difficulty a person would find himself or herself in if a translated document is found to have incorrect content. In immigration situations, this would take a person and his or her family a few steps back in the process, or worse, face the possibility of legal troubles. That is why it is important to find a translator or a language services company to produce certified translations.

Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation, a leading global translation agency offering its clients fully certified and legal translations.

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