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Certified Translations: Authorised Translators at Work for You!

Signed, sealed and delivered

Have you ever tried to refer to a legal text, for instance in the context of a lease or after an accident, or in a professional matter like protection against unlawful dismissal? Then you would know just how involved, legal phrasing for edicts and their commentaries can be.

Special qualifications are undoubtedly required to issue certified translations.

This involves an absolutely infallible translation of documents for administrative, official and legal purposes. Translations relating to legal proceedings, marriage between two different nationalities, naturalisation, immigration or semesters abroad are mainly those that require certification.

Certified translations are needed for documents like

  • Deeds of assignment
  • Adoption papers
  • Certificates of employment
  • Degrees and diplomas/leaving certificates
  • Eligibility certificates for marriage
  • Driving licences
  • Birth certificates
  • Court verdicts
  • Trade register extracts
  • Résumés
  • Patents
  • Divorce decrees
  • Wills
  • Contracts
  • Certifications

Certified Translation: Sworn or Authorised by Court

Attestation involves certification of the veracity and sufficiency of a document by a colleague who is authorised or sworn by the Regional or Higher Regional Court. As terms, "Sworn" or "Authorised" both mean the same but vary in usage from state to state. Thus a translator in North Rhine Westphalia is "authorised", whereas he is a "sworn" translator in Bavaria or Lower Saxony. In Germany, only about three percent of professional translators meet the stringent requirements to qualify for this.

Only state-approved translators or colleagues with a Masters' degree are allowed to issue certified translations. And for good reason: all such translations carry special probative value. Authorised translators may also approve and attest the sufficiency and veracity of translations. This could be for in-house or external translations.

Special competency required

Issuing or attesting certified translations implies holding an unequivocally established qualification. Besides being fully competent as a translator, it calls for an evidence of in-depth knowledge and command over contemporary use of legal language. This applies to the various legal domains particularly, Civil, Criminal and Administrative Law including the related procedural law. A public official or notary cannot certify translations owing to the lack of the required linguistic (or foreign language) skills.

For qualifying to issue certified translations one has to either...

  • get good final grades with "Law" as the major subject in translation and interpretation studies
  • or, attend the "Summer School Legal Language" course conducted by the German Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) and pass the course examinations.

It also requires testimony of personal eligibility. Among others, this could be in the form of a Certificate of Good Conduct, a perfect résumé, or good record, absence of debt and the explicit willingness to accept urgent assignments or very large assignments.

All the formal and professional preconditions being met with, the translator is then officially accredited by the competent magistrate. It is an authorised translator alone, with unequivocally established competence endorsed by the Superior Court, who can issue certified translations. A specimen signature too is deposited at the court.

Certifying Translations in Practice

Actual certification is done by checking the translation. This has to even visually match the original document like a birth certificate. In other words, even the layout has to be taken into account. A copy of the original document is attached to the certified translation. The folded edge has then to be stamped. The authorised translator thereafter appends his certification note, his stamp and his legally binding signature.

Do you need a certified translation? For instance, would you like to register your patent in another country? Or are you planning to get married to a foreign national? The translation agency SATZGEWINN would be glad to assist you and make an individual offer. Mail us your scanned document and let us know when you would like to have it back. After a thorough analysis we will make you an offer by mail.

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