What level certification do I need?

Wed, 07/19/2017 - 15:02 Erika Baker

Client expectations

I get more and more enquiries asking for quotes for very specific level certification translation:

1. I need a certified translation of my birth certificate for a 4th tier immigration visa to Canada.

2. Can you quote for a translation of my degree to support a PhD application at a British university?    

3. I want to open a bank account and have to provide translated past bank statements. What level of certified translation do I need and what will it cost?

Some clients get quite cross when I explain the British three-tier system of certifying translations but ask them to check with the authority that needs the certified translations which level of certification is required.

They believe that, as a qualified translator, I should know everything there is to know about certifying translations for official purposes.

Limits to my knowledge

In reality, as a professional English-German translator I understand the British general systems for legalising translations, and I can also refer clients to my website where they find comprehensive information about certified translations (http://www.1stchoicetranslations.co.uk/certified-translations)  and about notarised translations (http://www.1stchoicetranslations.co.uk/notarised-translations).

I am not, however, an expert in immigration rules for Europeans and non-Europeans in Britain or other countries in the world. I know nothing about the various work permits available and what is required to obtain them.  I am not an expert in the various education systems and what kind of proof any particular institution asks for. And I don’t know the due diligence procedures that apply in banks or insurance companies.

Let’s work together

The real problem is that many official bodies don’t understand the certification system and simply ask the client to provide a certified translation. The British Home Office is one of the few that provides very clear and detailed guidelines about who can certify a translation and what level of certification is required.

So it’s not surprising that clients come to me expecting me to have all the answers and are unpleasantly surprised when I send them back into the jungle of official bureaucracy.

But at least they are now equipped to ask the right questions and to understand why they are asking them.

Once clients know the level of certification needed, I am happy to quote for it.