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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.