In many countries, such as Australia, both Government and major companies require the services of a certified translator. In Australia, all documents in a foreign language to be submitted as part of an application to the Australian Government, must be translated and certified by a NAATI Certified Translator.
In other countries, the certified translation will then need to be certified by a notary or the signature of the certified translator need to be officially recognised by the country’s consulate. This is the case of Portugal. People who need to submit documents in another language to the Portuguese Government, will need to have them translated into Portuguese (in Australia, it should also be done by a NAATI Certified Translator) and then will need to get the translator’s signature recognised by the Portuguese Consulate. Usually the Consulate’s website has a list of NAATI Certified practitioners that can be used to translate documents. This is the current practice in Australia, but regulations may vary depending on the country you are submitting the paperwork. Some countries do not have a system similar to Australia and therefore, translations may need to be certified by a notary or any other official body. It is always important to check the regulations within the bodies you are applying to.
Why a certified translation?
A certified translation is done by an accredited professional, who has to comply with certain requisites and prove their qualifications to the accreditation body, in order to get that accreditation. In the case of NAATI, these credentials must be renewed periodically and the practitioner must show proof of their continuous work and professional development, in order to keep their credentials. They also have to comply with a code of conduct. If a client is not satisfied or believe a translator is in breach of this code, a complaint can be made to the accreditation body and an investigation is made. If the claim is proven, the practitioner may be punished. So having a stamp with a name and license number is a guarantee it was done by someone qualified to do it.
Can a Certified Translator review someone else’s translation and then certified it?
This is actually something I came across with last year. A client contacted me and said they had a document already translated, that just needed to be certified. According to our Code of Conduct, we can only certify our own translations. So if that client had paid for that translation, it was very sad that he had to pay to have it done again, so it could be certified. This is something I always advise my clients of, if the person cannot certify their translation, then the person won’t be suitable for their needs.
Can a Certified Translator certify translations in both directions of a language pair?
It depends on their certification. Some colleagues are certified in both directions, others, like myself, aren’t. I can only certify translations from English to Portuguese, that doesn’t mean I cannot translate from Portuguese to English, but I did not sit the exam to have qualifications in both directions, so I could certify in both directions. It is something I want to do in a very near future.
So when you are looking for a certified translator, make sure you search for a practitioner that works in the direction you need and that fulfils all your requirements.