Clients often ask us about notarized translation services. Can a notary even notarize a translation? Is a notarized translation different from a certified translation? Read our FAQ for the answers.
Not sure if you need your translation notarized? Then email us or call 616.855.4044 to tell us about your text and we’ll let you know what we think.
With notarized translation services, you get a notarized statement of accuracy. Notarized and certified, though, are two different things.
In fact, in the U.S., there’s no such thing as a “certified translation.” But this isn’t the case in many other countries. While a translation in the U.S. can’t be certified per se, a translator can be. Certified translators have passed a translation test.
The only body in the U.S. that can certify translators is the American Translators Association (ATA). The term “ATA-certified,” then, refers to a translator, not a piece of paper.
In the U.S., a notary acts as a witness in the signing of documents. Notaries cannot offer legal advice because they aren’t legal professionals. (A licensed attorney who also happens to be a notary public is the exception, not the rule. But this person would still be offering legal counsel as a lawyer, not as a notary.)
But in many other countries, notaries are legal professionals. They may provide legal counsel and assist in drafting documents. Notaries in the U.S. can’t do this. (And if a notary ever tries to give you legal advice, run the other way!)
So what’s the bottom line? A stamp and signature from a notary in the U.S. mean only that the notary has witnessed the signing of your document. That’s it.
Notarized Translation Services: FAQ
While the notary can read the English target text, she doesn’t know if the translation of the Spanish source text is correct.
So what to do? The solution is to have the vendor add a statement of accuracy. This is what the notary stamps and signs.
Notarized translation services are often enough for many types of documents (school records, for example). Still, check with the requesting party to be sure.
In other countries, a notary may be able to notarize the actual translation. Check with both a notary and a lawyer in your country to be certain.
Note: Notaries who speak two languages do not often have training as translators. So they may not be qualified to check the accuracy of a translation.
Sometimes that translator may provide an affidavit, other times not. Either way, the agency can then attach a notarized statement of accuracy. (A notary is unable to judge the accuracy of a translation.)
In many other countries, a certified translation may be produced only by a certified (or sworn) translator. A sworn translator has taken an oath before a court.