How To Translate an Official Document: All the Needed Steps

Rapid Translate Team

Jan 23, 2024 | 7 min read

Increasing globalization has triggered the need for people worldwide to translate official documents. The different reasons for this phenomenon center around immigration, travel, and work. However, any processes that involve interacting with other government agencies usually require official translations. Now, the question remains how to translate an official document.

Several options exist for people looking to obtain the official translations of their documents. But first, you must identify the medium you’d prefer to use when you need this type of translation. Next, you must obtain quotes that estimate the prices, delivery windows, and other minute details with the translator. Official document translation usually involves some fine intricacies, which this post discusses.

What Are Official Translations of Documents?

Regarding translation, people are often confused about the nature of documents and their requirements. Generally, official translations of documents have different requirements from their non-official counterparts. Therefore, it is always crucial to understand which documents fall into this category. So, what are official translations of documents?

Official translations of documents are translations with stamps or statements from relevant authorities indicating their authenticity and accuracy. These stamps and statements also show that such documents came from professional translators.

While these official requirements vary across different countries, the common ground is the authority it offers the translated documents. While certain individuals can offer the certifications that make a translation official, others cannot. Overall, the definition of an official translation flows alongside the requirement of the office where you’re using it.

Of course, most government authorities only accept these official translations of documents from certified professionals. Conversely, these agencies and authorities usually do not accept self-translated documents. Usually, you’ll need official translations when working with several specific documents. Documents like patents, driver’s licenses, police records, adoption papers, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and many others fall within this category.

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How To Translate an Official Document: All the Needed Steps 8

How To Get an Official Translation of a Document: 3 Effective Alternatives

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Most government agencies and relevant authorities do not accept self-translated and unofficially-translated documents. Because of this, obtaining this kind of translation can be quite a hassle, especially if you’re on a budget. But luckily, many translation service providers offer the service online, making the process more seamless. So, if you’re wondering about how to get an official translation of a document, consider these alternatives.

Hire a Professional Translation Agency

Hiring a professional translation agency is one of the first alternatives to consider when looking for official translations of documents. These translation agencies are useful for obtaining an accurate translation in the fastest turnaround time. Such agencies cover multiple aspects of this service, including legal translation, educational translation, financial translation, and website translation.

In our internet age, finding a translation company or an agency has become one of the simplest tasks. Besides obtaining recommendations from friends and family, you can search online for highly-rated options. Since these agencies consist of multiple individuals with different skill sets, it has become easier to enjoy any service you desire. 

This means they are more likely to have individual translators with first-hand knowledge of the various subjects of interest. For instance, these agencies mostly hire native speakers of the source and target languages you’re working with. Therefore, you will work with people who have a deep cultural understanding of the languages for optimized accuracy.

These translation agencies offer multiple options when it comes to official translations. For instance, most of them offer certified translations and notarizations when required. Others also offer localization services. Multiple translation agencies offer top services. For example, Rapid Translate offers services around multiple aspects of translation.

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Hire Translators From Freelancer Platforms

Besides hiring translation agencies and companies, you can also work with translators from freelancer platforms. Usually, these platforms offer various translators with different skills and capabilities. These platforms are advantageous to a high degree since they offer extensive options. This is because they allow you to hire professionals based on their expertise, qualifications, and performance ratings. 

Freelancer platforms offer a cost-effective alternative to getting qualified translators who fit your needs. Since most of these platforms are accessible globally, you can always get translators with direct knowledge of any foreign language. In addition, these platforms allow customers to ask for price quotes from multiple translators before choosing one that fits their needs and budget.

Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr connect customers with translators who can offer official translations of documents. Other platforms like TranslatorsCafe also offer helpful options for linking with translators who offer official translations. People with specific needs can hire different classes of translators, including financial, technical, website, and legal translators.

Employ Online Translation Tools

Although people usually consider online translation tools quite less accurate, they offer excellent quick translation options. These tools employ machine translation capabilities, deep learning techniques, and huge databases to create the best translations. While some online translation tools require subscriptions, some are free and open to all. 

Despite these online tools being accurate to a degree, you must not depend on them entirely for your translation activity. This is because these machines do not always consider the context of a language, making it inaccurate in many cases. Of course, it offers an overview and skeletal structure of the document in another language. But you must also take it through human inspection to make it suitable for official use.

While you can quickly run an original document through these tools, you must also pass it through professionals. Besides requiring the professionals to edit and unify the document, they’d also have to make it officially acceptable. Of course, government agencies and authorities do not accept direct machine translations. But you can always cut costs by only paying for proofreading, certification, and notarizations.

Google Translate is one of the most popular online translation tools available for free. Bing Translator and DeepL are also some reliable options you can find online.

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How To Translate an Official Document in 5 Useful Steps

While most people understand where to get official translations of their documents, the process is sometimes quite unclear. Your documents, such as academic records, birth certificates, property documents, and financial statements, require official translations when traveling abroad. The American Translators Association, ATA, recommends five effective steps for completing this activity. So, here is how to translate official documents:

1. Inquire About the Documents You Need To Translate

Before you start, contact the relevant government agency and inquire about the documents needed. This way, you can easily create a list of all the documents you need to translate. Also, find out if you must turn in electronic or printed copies. Finally, ask if you’ll have to certify or notarize such documents.

2. Find and Arrange the Documents of Interest 

After determining the documents you’ll need to translate, the next step is to isolate them from your documents. Since most of these documents are usually in paper format, scan them into PDFs for easier transmission. Ensure they’re visible and clear, and always record both sides of every document.

3. Get a Translator and Request a Quote

When looking for translators, always consider customer reviews and feedback. Since most translators have websites, getting reviews from Google and other review sites like TrustPilot is easier. However, ensure you work with qualified professionals with experience in your field of interest. It’s always a plus when your translator has an ATA certification.

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4. Discuss the Pricing, Payment Method, and Date of Delivery

Pay attention to the details when hiring a translator for your official translation job. In this case, you must understand everything from the pricing payment methods to the delivery date. Always review these details and ask questions when you’re unclear since sometimes the tasks may be time-sensitive.

5. Review the Translations Before Sending Them to the Relevant Authorities

After receiving an official translation of your document, you must review it and request corrections where discrepancies exist. Afterward, send them to the relevant authorities. Ensure you add the supporting documents where certifications or notarizations are required. This is how to translate an official document.

Several translation companies translate official documents, offering the needed supporting information for excellent prices. Rapid Translate stands tall among its counterparts in this case, helping people take their global communication activities to newer levels. Whether for business expansion, studying abroad, or connecting with other cultures, it offers accurate services. To bypass language barriers, order now to enjoy seamless communication today!

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