It is very likely that you will need a certified translation when applying for a green card, US residency, or citizenship. USCIS (The United States citizenship and immigration services) demands that all foreign documents be translated to English.
In this article I plan to answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding translating your Birth Certificate for US immigration.
What constitutes a complete Certified Translation for US Immigration?
A complete certified translation must be translated literally not figuratively and should mimic the original documents format. This includes signatures, dashes, seals, and stamps. If something is not clear, the English translation should say “illegible.”
In addition to the translated text a complete document must be accompanied by a statement from the professional translator. The statement simply affirms that in the translator’s best judgment, the translation truly reflects the content, meaning, and style of the original document.
This is an example of a Certification statement:
Birth Certificate Translation from <foreign language> to English for <name of person>
We, <Translation Service name>, a professional translation company, hereby certify that the above mentioned document has been translated by experienced and qualified professional translators and that, in our best judgment, the translated text truly reflects the content, meaning, and style of the original text and constitutes in every respect a correct and true translation of the original document.
This is to certify the correctness of the translation only. We do not guarantee that the original is a genuine document, or that the statements contained in the original document are true. Further < Translation Service name> assumes no liability for the way which the translation is used by the customer or any third party, including end users of the translation.
A copy of this translation is attached to this certification.
(Professional organization membership would go here, accompanied by the membership number)
Can I translate my own Birth Certificate?
Unfortunately no, the petitioner or the beneficiary cannot translate their own documents.
What should I look for in a translator or translation service?
1. Professional Trade Organization Membership:
Ask if he, she or they are part of any professional trade association. Membership in a trade association generally indicates higher quality work.
2. Good reviews:
If you end up considering an online service, make sure you Google search reviews for that particular company before you purchase anything. If you end up considering a local service provider please ask for references.
What is the price range I should pay?
If you’re paying more than $70 per Document I believe you’re overpaying. However, if you’re paying less than $40 you are most likely compromising quality.
I’m sure if you do a quick search on Google there are companies that promise services for $29 dollars, $18 dollars and such. However, companies like that are notorious for providing machine translations not actual human work.
- If the document is being submitted in the US it does not have to be notarized. If it is going to be submitted to a US Embassy or Consulate outside of the US it must be notarized.
- Avoid waiting until the last moment for you to send your documents to be translated. Even if the service you choose offers next day turnaround. Things happen, computers break, translators call out, documents occasionally get misplaced and faxes sometimes don’t arrive. It’s better to be safe than sorry.