Certified Translation Service
Apostille and document legalization
Document legalization is required for documents which are intended to be used overseas in countries which work in compliance with the Hague Convention
A. It depends. If it is a correspondence or a translation of technical documentation, web-content, advertising materials and such, than there is no need in official validation of performed translation. A client makes the decision whether to accept a translation or not. On a contrary, in case of translating a document that should be filed somewhere, such translation ought to be officially validated. The purpose of such validation is to impose personal responsibility for the content of a translation, which appears for an accepting party as the actual information contained in a document. Regulations and practices of such validation vary in different countries.
Q. HOW DOES A TRANSLATION GET VALIDATED IN THE U.S.?
A. Translations may be certified and notarized.
Q. WHAT IS CERTIFIED TRANSLATION?
A. Translation that contains an affidavit of translation accuracy written by a qualified translator, a certifier. Translation as a business activity is not regulated in the United States, and no license or special permission is required. Practical knowledge of source and target languages is sufficient, though it doesn’t guarantee that a translation would be accepted anywhere. Many organizations, like colleges or DMV-agencies, have their own lists of authorized translation agencies. Translator’s affidavit ought to be subscribed by a certifier, and a company seal should be also attached, if the certifier represents a company.
Q. WHAT IS NOTARIZED TRANSLATION?
A. Certified translation that contains a notary public verification of the certifier’s signature. Such certification must be performed by a qualified licensed notary public and be signed with an official notary seal affixed.
Q. SHOULD A TRANSLATION BE APOSTILLED?
A. No. Apostilles validate public documents and have nothing to do with their translations.
Q. IN WHAT COUNTRY A TRANSLATION OUGHT TO BE PRODUCED?
A. A rule of a thumb is that a translation should be produced in an accepting country where a document is supposed to be submitted. If a foreign document is to be submitted in the United States, then its translation has to be certified/notarized in the U.S. in order to satisfy an accepting body on the territory of United States. A foreign notary public cannot be considered the U.S. authority, and a foreign notary certification is not valid on the territory of United States. The same goes with translations of domestic documents intended for foreign countries. Foreign country notary public should notarize such translation or it won’t be accepted in that country. Therefore, a translation ought to be produced and certified in the respected foreign country. There is one exception though, which represents an option of using services of foreign consular offices.
Q. CAN A TRANSLATION BE VERIFIED IN A FOREIGN CONSULATE?
A. Yes, it can. Actually, this is the only appropriate way to produce a translation domestically. Consul of a foreign country has powers of a notary public of that country. They can verify a translation certifier’s signature in a foreign consulate. The drawback of such alternative is its high cost and long processing time, as well as necessity for a certifier to appear in person in a consular office and to present there sufficient proofs of translator qualifications as consistent with specific requirements of respected foreign country, or to require services of reputable and familiar to respected consular offices translation agency, which may significantly raise costs..
Q. IF I NEED TO SUBMIT THE U.S. BIRTH CERTIFICATE IN UKRAINE, WHERE SHOULD I MAKE ITS TRANSLATION?
A. Either in the U.S. or in Ukraine. If you do it in the United States, then it ought to be notarized in Ukrainian consulate in the U.S. Otherwise, a translation can be produced, certified and notarized In Ukraine. In Ukraine presumably it is going to be cheaper and quicker.
Q. WHAT SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO A CONSULATE?
A. In order to verify a translation in a foreign consulate, original document (it can be a notarized copy of the source document) with an apostille already affixed together with certified translation of that document into the target language should be submitted to the respected consular office for processing.
Q. WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN CASE OF CONSULAR LEGALIZATION?
A. If you submit a document for consular legalization and attach its translation, then they can perform two acts in a consular office – consular legalization of a document and consular verification of its translation.
Q. SHOULD A TRANSLATION BE ATTACHED TO A DOCUMENT TO RECEIVE AN APOSTILLE?
A. No. Once again, an apostille as a form of international certification of a public document has nothing to do with translation issues.
Q. DOES AN APOSTILLE VERIFY A TRANSLATION?
A. Absolutely not!
Q. SHALL AN APOSTILLE BE TRANSLATED?
A. No. Respected Hague Convention on apostilles introduces a standard form of a unified international certification of a public document, so called apostille. It is supposed to be printed on an official language of a country where a document is issued. Members of the Convention are obliged to recognize an apostille from another country participating in the Convention without any reservation. Member is deemed to be the government (its officials) of a country that ratified the Convention. Therefore, a refusal to accept an apostille on the grounds of absence of its translation into the language of an accepting country is inconsistent with provisions and the meaning of the Hague Convention.
Q. SHOULD CERTIFICATIONS BE TRANSLATED?
A. Yes, they should. The fact of a matter is that pursuant to the Hague Convention an apostille certifies a foreign public document. What makes a document public for foreign use? The signature of a public official that can be recognized by a body authorized to issue apostilles. Government/court body that is capable and authorized to recognize the signature of a public official signed/certified the document. In some cases the signature of a public official that originally signed/certified the document can be authenticated by apostille directly. In other cases intermediate certifications might be necessary. For example, in New Jersey they register notary publics in the Secretary of State office, which is authorized to issue apostilles. In New York they record notary publics in County Clerk offices, while County Clerks are registered with the Secretary of State office. The Secretary of State is not capable to authenticate signatures of notary publics directly, and a multi-step authentication is required. For international purposes a foreign public document is what an apostille (or a consular legalization) makes valid in a country other than where the document was produced. For accepting organization a valid foreign document is what apostille is affixed to and what it validates. That means all certifications are considered to be a part of a document. Therefore, a document must be translated altogether, certifications included.