Notarized translations: What is a notarized translation and do you need it?

Translations extend beyond product labels, booklets, and printed materials. There are some documents that need to get sent to the authorities and officials to aid in a case or a decision. If that’s the case with your text, you might require a notarized translation.

Why notarized translations are important

There are strict rules about notarized translations in each country. Non-notarized translations are often left in the hands of a language service provider. Although the meaning of the text translated might be the same as the meaning of the source text, there are times when personal tone or style can get added to the finished copy, altering the meaning ever so slightly.

Notarized translations are a word-for-word translation of the source text. This text must be conducted by a Notarized Court translator and certified for use by the courts and authorities.

The translators authorized to work on text that is intended for the courts or authorities understand the importance of exact translation. Compliancy plays a major role in the language service provider’s (LSP) approach to the text. If a person describes himself or herself as anything other than a Notarized Court translator, they cannot provide a translation for use in the courts. These people can actually have injunctions brought against them for producing those translations.

Do you need notarized translations?

There are certain occasions where a notarized translation is required. Some examples include:

  • Legal certification translation, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or divorce certificates.

  • Translation of court orders, including judgment translation and wills.

  • Education related documents, such as academic degrees or diplomas.

  • Family papers, including adoption papers, naturalization papers, and immigration documents.

Finding a notarized court translator

Finding the right person to conduct your translation is not easy. You need someone you can trust and someone who will provide you with a court approved translation. Without this, your case or claim could be in jeopardy.

Here are a few of the most critical components to look for in a notarized court translator.

Your translator should be a native speaker of the translation language

There is no substitute for mother tongue level speaking and comprehension. Your professional translator should be a native speaker of the language that you need your official documents translated to.

Your translator should have experience in a related field

In addition to having a native understanding of the language, your translator should also have an intimate familiarity with the field he or she is translating for. For example, if you need immigration documents translated, your translator should have experience in immigration law in addition to translation.

Lawyers or other expert translators should proof your documents

It always helps to have a second pair of eyes on translated text. Because the courts and authorities are going to use your documents, having a lawyer or other expert translator proof read the translation is smart. This will catch any minor mistakes that could hurt your case if submitted.

Your translator should respect your confidentiality

Court documents, and those documents that must get handed over to authorities, contain sensitive information. Sometimes this information reveals something about your family’s status. Sometimes it reveals something about your corporation. No matter what type of sensitive data is in the document, you need to have complete confidence that your translator will not reveal anything he or she reads to outside sources.


Having a notarized court translator work on your documents is essential to your privacy and future. Without finding the right person to translate the text, you could put your case at risk. Look for someone who is an authorized notary of the court, bilingual native speaker, and who has experience in the appropriate field.


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