Notarized Translation

German to English Notarized Translation Services

This page contains information pertaining to German to English notarized translation questions.


What is a notarized translation?

A notarized translation is a translation which is accompanied by a certificate of accuracy, the signature on which has been certified by a notary public.

What is notarized certification?

Some government agencies require the signing of the certificate of accuracy to be witnessed by a notary. The notary also has to confirm the identity of the person signing the certification document. The translator has to provide proof of identity and proof of current address. This process is significantly more costly than a certified translation, as it adds to the time required for carrying out the translation and the notary's charges have to be included in the bill.

Notarization does not guarantee the quality of the translation.

What is the difference between a certified and a notarized translation?

A certified translation is a translation which is
a) accompanied by a declaration signed by the translator, a company official of a translation agency which facilitated a translation or an (embassy) official confirming the accuracy of a translation, or
b) accompanied by a certificate of accuracy, the signature on which has been certified by a solicitor as being by the person signing the declaration.

When a notary public witnesses the signature on a certificate of accuracy, is it called a notarization.

To have a document notarized, the translator visits a notary, proves his identity to him and signs the certificate of accuracy in front of the notary. The notary then confirms that the person identified himself and signed the document in his presence.

What does notarization not prove?

A notarized translation does not prove authenticity of the original document. It is merely proof that the document was signed by a person who identified himself to the notary. It does not guarantee the quality of the translation or the translator.

Who can notarize a translation?

In England, notarizations are carried out by public notaries. Notaries are public officers who serve the public by taking affidavits, witnessing and authenticating the execution of certain documents and performing other official acts.

N.B. It is important to check with the institution stipulating a translation what their particular requirements are. In my experience, more often than not, notarization is not required. However, the American authorities are more likely than other countries to require notarization of documents.

Do you provide notarized translations?

Yes, I provide notarized translations from English into German and German into English. I visit a local notary who carries out the notarization. See also: "What does a notarized translation cost?"

How do I obtain a notarized translation from you?

Contact me by phone or mail to find out my availability. Once we have agreed that I can undertake your translation within your required time scale, please check whether the agency stipulating a notarized translation requires me to work from the originals or whether they accept me working from copies and then signing and attaching the copies. This is the way I usually work.

You should then send me whichever they require. On receipt of the relevant documents, I will undertake the translation(s), attach the document(s) you sent me and my certification, visit the notary, sign the certificate of accuracy in his presence and send it all back to you by recorded delivery.

Do you need the original documents?

If the agency which requires a notarized translation also stipulates the translator to work from the original document or a certified copy, then you will need to supply me with one of these. I will attach that original/certified copy to the translation and send it back to you after notarization, so it's all ready to be sent off to the agency involved. Please send originals by recorded delivery.

If you are informed that a photocopy of the original document fulfils the requirements for the notarized translation, then you only need send me a legible photocopy which I will sign and attach to the translation, so that the agency can compare the copy I worked from with the original, if applicable.

I mostly work from photocopies which are often sent to me electronically as PDF files or as photocopies in the post.

Which language pairs do you work in?

I undertake translations from English into German and German to English. I provide certified translations and notarized translations.

What does a notarized translation cost?

For a certified translation, my prices start at £30 for a Polizeiliches Führungszeugnis (Criminal Record) or a one-page birth certificate. To have a translation notarised and then send it off by recorded delivery takes an additional hour of my time plus the cost of the notary (currently in excess of £60). Please send me a mail to enquire about up to date prices.

I can have any sort of translation notarized, I am not restricted to the types of documents listed on this page. Please ring or mail me for a quote.

Why are notarized translations so pricey

The process of providing a notarized translation is significantly more time consuming than other translation work: After carrying out the certified translation, the translator has to visit a notary public - which takes at least half an hour - and visit the post office to arrange recorded delivery. Due to notaries higher hourly rates, the cost for the notary tends to be higher than that for the translation.

How much time should I allow for a notarized translation?

If the translation can be done from a copy and you are able to send me a PDF file (please make sure that the complete document is visible and readable), I can often undertake a one-page translation the day I receive it. However, it takes time to arrange to see the notary, so please allow a week minimum. I will post the documents the same day I see the notary and, subject to Royal Mail delivery times, you should receive the documents 24 hours later.

If you need to send me documents in the post, the process may take a little longer, though, if you tell me when you have posted the documents I can then book an appointment with the notary for a few days hence, so the difference may not be significant.

In any case, the time needed depends on the volume of documents requiring translation and my current work load. Please check my availability before sending any documents.

I was divorced in Germany/Austria/Switzerland, how do I prove this to the British authorities?

You need to have the equivalent of the British "decree absolute". In Germany that is the divorce decree (Scheidungsurteil) document which is clearly marked with the date from which the decree becomes final. This tends to take the form of a rubber stamp stating "rechtskräftig ab dem...".

Can a notarized translation be sent out by email or fax?

No, it is not possible to email or fax these documents to you, as the original notarized certificate together with the corresponding source language document plus its translation have to be submitted to the agency requiring the notarized translation.

Please allow sufficient time for this process.

When might notarization be required?

Documents often requiring notarization include:

  • Birth certificates (Geburtsurkunden)
  • Criminal records (polizeiliche Führungszeugnisse)
  • Documents required for immigration into the United States

In which country should notarization be sought?

As a rule, documents should be translated and the translation certified and, if required, notarized in the country of application. Some agencies will accept translations from the country of the document's origin only. Check with them!

How do I find a UK-based translator who can have his translation notarized?

Either find a translator on the Internet or via Yellow Pages and ask him if he is able to have his translations notified. If a translator lives very rurally, it may not be feasible for him to visit a notary, as the time involved may be disproportionate to the time the actual translation takes. However, a rural notary may charge less than a city notary. So it is worth asking.

Alternatively, contact the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translating and Interpreting or visit their websites to find a qualified translator.

Can you provide a sworn translation?

Yes, after carrying out the translation, I can visit a notary public and swear an affidavit that I am a qualified translator and have carried out the translation to the best of my abilities. I can prove my qualifications to the notary public by providing the relevant certificates.

There are no "Sworn Translators" in the UK. For more detailed information on the system of sworn translators in Germany read "Certification of Translations in Countries other than the UK".

Can I obtain a sworn translation in the UK?

If you have been asked to provide a German court with a sworn translation, you need to find a German to English translator who is sworn-in at the court requesting the translation. Ask the court for a list of "vereidigte Übersetzer". To become a sworn translator at a court in Germany, the translator has to have his main residence in the relevant Federal Country. It is therefore currently not possible for a translator who has his permanent residence in the UK to become a sworn translator to a German court.

The system of sworn translators is not used in the UK. A translator can "certify" his translation or he can swear an oath in front of a notary and thus provide a "sworn translation". This is a very expensive option, though, (due to the high notary charges) and time-consuming for the translator.