Although technically most translations are the same, as in “what does this word mean in this other language?” there are actually four different kinds of translations.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of translation.
Certified – This is one of the most common translation types we deal with. Really, a “certified” translation is any translated document that’s verified by a translator to be accurate. Most government agencies require a certified translation before submitting a document, such as proof for an immigration case or credentials to apply for a graduate program. If it can’t be said that the translator performed the job to the best of their abilities, it can’t be turned in! Thus, a certified document can be anything, like a birth certificate or a letter from a family member.
Notarized – A notarized document is any document that has been stamped by a notary. This simply means they are a “witness” to the document and verify that the signers of the document are who they claimed to be. Notaries are licensed by the state to perform simple acts in legal affairs such as this, so not just anyone can be a witness. Notarized documents are also rather common. Marriage certificates are one of the most common types of notarized documents, but they can also be diplomas, wills, and adoption papers.
Sworn – A “sworn” translation has a little bit of wiggle room depending on the country from which it originates. In other countries, like Spain, translators are officially sworn in by a government ministry or appointed by the courts. These documents are legally binding in of themselves. In the United States, translators simply must include a statement on the document saying they stand behind their work.
Apostille – In some cases, the signature and work of the above mentioned translators needs to be authenticated. When this situation comes up, you would hire an apostille. This double checks the document to make sure it’s not a forgery. They are only valid in countries that are members of the Apostille Treaty. You generally only need apostille translators for marriage, divorce, and some citizenship documents.