13 April 2021

I.What is Certified Translation?

A certified translation is a translated document accompanied by a signed statement from the translator attesting to the completeness and accuracy of the translation. Once a translation is certified, it becomes a legal record. Reputable translation companies usually entrust certified translations only to their most experienced and best-qualified translators. At Vortex Language Centre, we have both an editor and a proof-reader to review the final translation before it is certified. This helps ensure accuracy and quality

II.Where Can You Get a Certified Translation?

When you need a certified translation, you should always turn to an accredited and qualified translation company. The translator must have years of experience in the industry and be well-equipped to meet your needs. Certification features a two-step verification process that ensures accuracy:

i – a true, complete and accurate rendering of the original document;

ii – the agency or translator’s stamp including the name, date and signature.

III.When Do You Need a Certified Translation?

Certified translations are almost always necessary for legal formalities, such as documentation used in trials or hearings.

In addition, clients may need certified translations for procedures with government entities (e.g. applying for a visa, obtaining a driver’s license, claiming public benefits).

Similarly, legal and civil proceedings, (e.g. adoption, divorce), may demand certified translations.

Educational institutions also require foreign candidates to submit certified translations of application documents (e.g. diplomas, transcripts, certificates, medicals etc.)

IV.Who can do a Certified Translation?

Qualified Translators or translation agencies can certify translations. The translator must attest that the rendering is a true, complete and accurate translation of the original document. Each page of the translation should be stamped and/or initialled (by the translator and/or certifying authority), to prevent misuse i.e. fraud, cancellation or unauthorised tampering.

V.How does Certification work?

For certified translation, the source document should be directly translated in its entity. Commas, periods, dashes and other symbols, including stamps, seals, and signatures should be included in the translated document. If there are parts that are not clear, the translator adds a “not legible or illegible” mark.

The visual format of the translated document should match that of the original document. The position of seals, stamps and other markings should be replicated in the translation.

A certified translation consists of the following documents:

i – The original document or photocopy of the document in the source language.

ii – The translation of the document in the target language.

iii- The Certificate of Accuracy or Translation Certificate that attests to the capability of the translator to render translation services, the full name of the translator or translation agency, the stamp of the translation agency, date, and signature of the translator or translation agency representative.

VI.What is included in the certification statement?

A certification statement should include at least the following information:

  • a statement of the translator’s qualifications;
  • a statement affirming the completeness and accuracy of the document;
  • identification of the translated document and language.
  • the translator’s name, signature, and date. 

VII.Certified Translation in other countries

English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, USA, Australia and New Zealand simply require certified translations to include a statement made by the translator attesting to its accuracy, along with the date, the translator’s credentials and contact details. This type of certification is required by UK government bodies such as the Home Office and UK Border Agency, as well as by universities and most foreign embassies.

VIII.Requirements for a Certified Translation in foreign countries

There is no single requirement for “certified translation”. The qualification for a “certified translation” will depend on factors such as how and where the translated document will be used.

Different countries will have different requirements for a translation to be considered “certified” or “accredited”. Even within a country, requirements may vary according to the purpose of the certified translation. And, finally, depending on how difficult it is to find a translator, such requirements may be ignored by authorities such as a court.

i- British requirements for Certified Translations

The BRITISH accept self-certified translations provided by a UK-based translator under the following conditions:

  • The translator is a member of an official professional organisation such as the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI) or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL).
  • The translator works for a company that belongs to the Association of Translation Companies.
  • The translator is member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

For translations done by translators living out of the UK, two requirements must be met:

  • The British examiner must be satisfied the translator is a member of an official body in the country they are resident in. Or
  • The relevant Foreign Embassy has certified the translation as a true copy.

ii – Certified Translation in the United States

In the United States, the translator does not need to be certified in order to provide a certified translation. Individual translators can certify their translations, as well as an employee of a translation company.

N.B.: Although there is no rule prohibiting certification for yourself or family members, it is generally frowned upon. Such translations risk being rejected by the end user.

iii – Certified Translation in Cameroon

As a translator, you may be asked to supply a certified translation. Unlike in some countries, we do not have a system of “sworn” or ‘certified’ translators accredited by a particular body. Translations required for official purposes, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, legal documents, academic transcripts etc, can however, be “certified” by any practising translator or agency.

Compiled by

Ashu Synthia and Nzouetom Emerand,

With contributions from  Tchoutezo Sarah and Lisa Tjonog,

interns at Vortex Language Centre.


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