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What’s the difference between notarized and certified translation?

Notarized or certified translation?

Notarized and certified translation services are some of the most requested services among translation companies. These two different types of translation are often confused with one another and are, at times, requested when they’re not needed. While they share some similarities, there are differences between these two types of translation and in the way in which they are used. If you are a business that has begun to expand globally and are putting together a marketing strategy, it’s not always easy to know which of these services you’ll need. So what are the differences between a notarized and certified translation and in what instances are they required?

What is certified translation?

highest quality translation standards

Man signing image by Sozavisimost on Pixabay  – Certified translation is for when you want the translation to be as accurate as possible.

Certified translation refers to translations that are done and signed by a sworn translator. The purpose of certified translation is to prove that the document has been translated correctly and is of the highest quality. Certified translations focus on the quality of the translation and are meant to ensure that it meets the highest-quality translation standards. Further, the translator is held liable for the translation and information presented in the document.

What is notarized translation?

certified legal translator needs to have a professional degree

Certificate Image by stux on PixabayNotarized documents focus on the legal side of translation.

A notary has authorisation from the government to authenticate and oversee specific legal documentation. Notarization proves that a document meets a set of standards and that it abides by a law or regulation. A notarized translated document focuses less on high-quality translation accuracy and more on meeting the legal standards and requirements of an institution or legal system.

What is the difference between notarized and certified translation?

Where things tend to get confusing between the two is that both certified and notarized documents have legal connotations to them in that the translator or the notary is liable to documents they are working with. The biggest difference between the two is that a notarized document doesn’t have the same demand on translation quality.

A certified legal translator needs to have a professional degree that majors in translation and they usually complete tests that prove their capacities as a translator and allow them to be part of formalized unions and groups to ensure consistent high- quality translation. This step is not required in notarization. When a document becomes notarized, it has often gone through a certified translation already and the notarization process is the additional step in ensuring that the document meets certain requirements. When the document is handed over to be notarized, a public notary isn’t looking for its translation accuracy but rather that it meets a set of legal requirements and that the person that did the translation is accountable for the information that is contained in it. Notarizing certifies the document or certificate itself, rather than the translation. Certified legal translators often sign an affidavit that is sworn in the presence of the notary which will contain the notary’s seal and signature. Sothink of notarization as an additional legal authentication process.

When to use certified translation services?

Legal documents are the most common types of documents requiring certified translation services. Here are a few common examples,

  • Immigration paperwork
  • Court documents
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage or divorce certificates
  • Backgrounds checks
  • Service agreements
  • Business contracts
  • Patent translation
  • Adoption paperwork
  • Medical bills
  • Business licenses
  • Legal deeds
  • DNA exams
  • Academic qualifications and/or transcripts


They usually complete tests that demonstrate their capability as a translator and enable them to join formalized unions and groups to ensure consistent high-quality translations.
The translator will then sign and stamp the documents, provide an official statement verifying its accuracy and provide credentials attesting to their skill and quality.

When to use notarized translation services?

When it comes to a notarized document, which performed, the translation is not important, what is important is that it meets a set of legal requirements which is all a notary will check for. The most commonly notarized items are usually on education-based documents and related administrative documents. For example, if you have qualifications that were acquired in another country and are in one language and you need to provide these documents to another education facility in a different language. Notarizing these documents proves that the education credentials from one country translate to meet the same standards in another.

Examples of items that don’t require certified translation or notarization

While having certified translation is essential for sensitive information and legal documents, these services also come at a different cost. While it’s important to employ a good translation agency for your translation and localization strategy, not everything needs to be officially certified. Examples of items a translation company can localize and translate that don’t necessarily need to be certified,

  • General workplace procedures or training guides
  • Marketing items such as signs, social media posts, websites, etc.
  • Email notices
  • Essays or homework
  • Most eLearning platforms and courses

While it is important that all of these items be translated properly, especially if you’re localizing, they are not legally imperative materials that require certification.

The importance of language translation services

When it comes to business documentation and translationit’s best left to language service providers and professionals. A quality translation company can help you discern what you need to have certified or notarized and more. Certified translation services can offer the assurance needed for sensitive legal documents that require high quality translation and will meet the standards for any regulatory body and be ready for notarization if required.

At Into23, we have a team of certified legal translators here to help your business thrive and meet the highest standards of translation. With all languages covered, let us become your language service provider and help your business succeed globally.

The 6 keys to effective eLearning translation in Asia

The eLearning industry is projected to be worth 181 million USD by the end of 2025, with an annual growth rate of 12.26% per year. Driven by the widespread adoption of eLearning platforms by educational institutions and employers around the world, as well as the increased popularity of online course providers, eLearning made the jump from supplementary service to primary platform in 2020.

The industry has continued to grow in 2021, as workplaces expand their online skills training platforms and commercial eLearning providers more effectively engage their users with gamified app experiences, data driven personalized services, advanced modules, microlearning (short bursts of platform access) and content optimization, including the use of audio and video.

The expansion of the eLearning market drives service providers to offer their programs in multiple markets to reach new audiences, which requires the use of eLearning translation services and website localization. The pace of development in the industry has resulted in increasingly complex platforms with more content, which makes effective translation and software localization challenging, considering the scale and scope of material to adapt.

Machine translation services are ineffective in this context, considering the nature of the application. eLearning translation not only requires attention to detail, but also an extensive level of quality assessment in order to ensure that course materials effectively engage users. Linguistic QA specialists can identify and evaluate the lexical and grammatical options which make the difference between efficient progress through course modules and ambiguity that can challenge users’ patience.

eLearning platform design in any language carries inherent cultural connotations. Everything from curriculum planning to content and the layout and user interface has a culturally specific context in the original language and culture that the module is developed for. This comprises the source language and content. There are six elements which make all the difference between successfully adapting to different cultures and lessons ending up lost in translation.

  • Text
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Layouts
  • Graphics

Text: The basis for eLearning platforms and modules

Text is the simplest but most important aspect of eLearning translation and software localization. Opting for simple machine translation  is unlikely to provide accuracy, and while machine translation with post-editing ensures a level of quality and consistency, it does not  provide a framework for cultural context and therefore has limited scope for localization.

Cultural context often accounts for variations within same language. For example, people from Hong Kong use an English transliteration for the word strawberry,  (士多啤梨)  while in other regions it is translated as 草莓.

While Cantonese is spoken in Malaysia, local lexical variations arise from from Hokkien, Hakka and Malay influences, which contribute loanwords like (play) which in Hong Kong is written . There are also considerable variations in pronunciation.

For eLearning platforms,  the most efficient translation and localization solution when faced with cultural variations within a single language is to identify the most important market and develop the eLearning translation accordingly.

It is important to consider which language to use for localization in Asia: most content localized for the Malaysia market is in English. However, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Mandarin are widely used in Asia.

While there is considerable regional variation in Chinese language usage, the cost effective approach is to develop eLearning translation and localization for the most important market.  Articulate Rise is a widely used course authoring tool for eLearning platform developers. Rise 360 is well suited to text-heavy courses, which can be challenging to translate into multiple languages. We can quickly and efficiently process translation and localization for all courses designed with Articulate Rise.

Audio and Video: professional eLearning voiceover services

Multimedia localization in particular requires a solid understanding of regional and cultural context in the target market, in order for audio and video content to effectively supplement the text. Articulate Storyline is a streamlined multimedia content solution for eLearning platforms, and we can effectively process and translate all assets from Storyline 360 projects.

elearning voiceover services and multimedia localization

Localizing the text provides a basis for the eLearning voice over, which should also be developed for the most important market.

Planning, developing and organizing a workflow for high quality translation of text, video and audio between completely different languages requires expertise and experience with  providing localization and translation services.

Images: Visual learning and culture

Visual content in images and video should also be assessed for cultural relevance. While American Football imagery effectively conveys concepts to North American audiences and translates reasonably well in Europe, it may distract Asian learners who are less familiar with the sport and might not intuitively grasp concepts illustrated with quarterbacks and goalposts. Sports like soccer and tennis are more culturally neutral and help make content more easily localized across markets.

Layouts and Graphics: The culture of colour, and how it affects UX

Image and text elements should also be maintained separately, in order to avoid difficulties with translating and localizing images with text. Videos should ideally have captions set up as distinct elements in order to streamline translated versions. The design language for video caption and user interfaces should ideally provide a degree of flexibility, because colours have different associations in different regions and cultures.

For example, the colour red indicates passion in Western cultures, while it is associated with prosperity and luck in Asian cultures. In South Asia, the colour the colour orange is associated with the Hindu religion, while in the Middle East, green is associated with Islam. Streamlining colour configuration settings makes for an efficient eLearning localization strategy. Designing elements with flexibility and configurability in mind is an important step for eLearning platforms to take so that they can effectively translate their content for different markets with software localization services and expert translation services. Another efficient approach is to opt for culturally neutral design elements in order to effectively serve a wider eLearning audience.

eLearning translation and eLearning localization go hand in hand. Unlike legal language translation services, culture cannot be separated from language in an educational context. While marketing transcreation is an essential aspect of adapting an advertising strategy which would certainly enhance eLearning platforms, the scale of eLearning projects are generally best served by cost-effective localization and multilingual translation services with specialized eLearning voice over carried out by experienced professional translators who can optimize your platform and efficiently scale the reach of your services while ensuring they are effective for every user.

Into23 provides comprehensive eLearning and localization services with unmatched quality, speed and value in Asia. Our translation system supports Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise content, which streamlines the setup of translated and localized courses. We can deliver a complete portfolio of course translations in any number of languages you require, including all audio and video content, in one go. Our clients never have to worry about keeping track of 25 different translations and coordinating launch dates. In Hong Kong’s English to Chinese translation services market, attention to detail and appreciation of cultural context is key to effectively serving markets.

Our experience in the region, global partnership networks and passion for language and culture enable us to develop effective solutions tailored to the scale of your project.