Certified translation agencies are those that are able to provide all levels of document certification. There are three levels to translation certification, and translation agencies that are experts in their field, like TranslationLeague, are able to obtain the first two levels and help you with the process of the third level when required. When deciding on a company to provide your translation services, it is important to choose certified translation agencies.
Levels of Translation Certification
The first and most basic level of translation certification is the signature of the translator. The translator will sign a statement verifying that the information in the translation is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. This signed statement is enough to provide the first level of certification.
This certification level is the most common and accounts for almost 95% of domestic certifications. Businesses translations use signature certification for documents used internally and marketing documents. Because there are no legal reasons to pursue higher level certification on documents for internal use, there is nothing that requires a business to pursue higher level certification.
Notarization & County Clerk
The second level of translation certification offered by translation agencies is notarization. A translation may require notarization if it is a legal document, business contract or of similar nature. A business that is signing a contract with a foreign company will often require notarization to ensure that all signatures are valid. A notarization certification verifies the signatures on the document. The translator signs the statement verifying authenticity in front of a Notary Public, who then affixes a seal verifying the signature.
A Notary Public can not verify the translation itself, but they can verify that the person signing the document is as represented. The same process is applied for County Clerk certification, with the exception of a county clerk verifying the translator and not just a notary.
The third and most intense level of certification is an Apostille. An Apostille is only required on very specific types of legal documents, such as:
- Marriage Licenses
- Divorce Decrees
- Last Will & Testaments
- Citizenships and
- School transcripts
An Apostille must be obtained by the government of the target country (where the final translation is being used).
For example, if you are traveling to France and need a copy of your transcript translated with an Apostille, you would need to visit the French Consulate. The consulate would be able to provide an Apostille for your document translation. Translation agencies are able to guide you through the process, but they cannot directly obtain an Apostille.
Important: Some consulates require you to use their approved translation agencies, so call ahead of time to determine what is necessary for obtaining an Apostille.
Choosing Translation Agencies
Reliable translation agencies claim to be certified, but what they are actually referring to is their ability to produce certified translations. There is no federally regulated certifying body in the United States.
TranslationLeague translation agency is able to provide translations at all levels of locally available certification, and we employ expert translators.