Dealing with the death of a loved one alone is difficult and emotional. Handling the related paperwork at this time can add to the grief. This is why finding trustworthy professionals to take care of it is vital.
In this article, we’ll go over what death certificates are, when you might need to translate them, and explain the translation process. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions on this topic.
- What is a death certificate?
- Why would you need death certificate translation services?
- What is a certified translation?
- How to translate a death certificate
- Final thoughts
What is a death certificate?
A death certificate is a document issued by a government organization or certified medical practitioner when someone passes away. This document certifies when and where the person died, as well as the cause of death. It will also include identification information of the deceased.
Where can I find a death certificate?
This will depend on the country where the person passed away. This type of certificate could be issued by a church, a vital records office, or a registrar of public record, for example.
Why would you need death certificate translation services?
Death certificates need to be submitted in many different contexts to prove someone has passed away. If the person in question has died abroad and the document is in a language other than English, you will need to have them translated.
Here are some of the situations where you might need death certificate translation services:
- Registering a death
This is the most obvious common to translate death certificates. If the document is in a foreign language, you will need to translate it to register that person’s death.
- Repatriation of remains
If someone has died abroad and you want their remains to return to their country of origin, you will also require death certificate translation services.
- Arranging burial or cremation
Death certificates are also needed to arrange the deceased person's burial or cremation and other funeral proceedings.
- Insurance settlements
If the deceased had a life insurance policy, death certificates will be required by the insurance company to settle any claims.
You will also need to translate a death certificate to settle whatever inheritance the dead person might have left.
- Settling estate
Related to the previous point, you will require death certificate translation services to settle the deceased person’s state.
- Closing bank accounts
Banks and financial institutions often require a copy of the death certificate to settle and close accounts.
- Getting remarried
If your previous spouse has passed away, you might need to submit a copy of their death certificate to get remarried.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) might also ask for the death certificate of family members during your immigration process.
As death certificates are official documents, they will most likely need a certified translation. We’ll look into what this means next.
What is a certified translation?
A certified translation is a word-for-word (literal) translation of all visible text in a document. These are done for documents with official uses (like death certificates) where the receiver requires certification to verify that the translation is complete and accurate.
When you have to submit a document written in a foreign language before a government or educational institution in the United States, it generally requires a certified translation. This type of translation is commonly required for submission to USCIS, universities, courts, and government agencies.
What does certification entail? Well, the translator or translation agency you choose will add a signed statement to your death certificate translation that says it is a complete and accurate rendition of the original document. This is also known as a “Certificate of Translation Accuracy.”
We should note that, in the United States, a translator does not need to be certified at a federal or state level to provide certified translation services. As long as the translator has sufficient skills in the relevant languages, they can issue certified translations. However, the translation must follow certain quality control protocols and you should ensure that the person or company who completes it is qualified to do the work.
You can learn more about certified translations here.
How to translate a death certificate
Now that we’ve covered what a death certificate is and when you might need to translate yours, we’ll move on to the translation process. It can be broken down into four steps.
1. Find an appropriate translator or translation company
The translator or translation company you choose should have the relevant qualifications to undertake the death certificate translation. For example, if you need your document for immigration purposes, you should ensure they offer immigration translation. They should also have a 100% acceptance rate with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
2. Ask for a quote and delivery time
Both the quote and the delivery time may vary depending on how many documents you need to translate. Other factors that affect the cost and delivery time are the length of the document, the format, the specific language combination, if you require certification and/or notarization and if you need the translation urgently. However, death certificate translation usually takes around 24-72h.
3. Submit an electronic copy of your document to your translation provider
When submitting a copy of your legal documents to your translation provider, you should make sure to include both the front and the back of all pages.
You should include your contact information (i.e., your name, phone number, and email address). You should also note the language of the original document (source language) and the language for the translation (target language).
4. Receive your certified translation
Once the translation is complete, the translation provider will make sure it is reviewed for accuracy. You will then receive an electronic copy as well as hard copies by post as needed.
As you can see, the process is relatively simple and shouldn’t take long.
Where can I translate a death certificate in Spanish?
RushTranslate provides certified birth certificate translation services for 65 languages, including Spanish.
How much does it cost to get a death certificate translated?
As we’ve mentioned above, the price for translation services will vary depending on different factors. This includes the length of the document, the specific language combination, and if the translation needs to be certified. There may also be a rush charge if you need your death certificate translation urgently.
For this article, we’ll consider certified translation as that’s what you are most likely to need for death certificates. Translators or translation agencies tend to charge per word or page (one "page" is about 250 words). Regarding cost per word, prices vary from $0.08 to $0.50/word. The cost per page may range from $20 to $130.
RushTranslate charges $24.95 per page, with 24-hour delivery and 100% guaranteed approval by USCIS.
Can a family member translate my death certificate?
In theory, anybody with the required knowledge to translate from the origin to the target language can deliver a death certificate translation. Whether this translation gets accepted or not will depend on the discretion of the organization or agency receiving the translation.
To be safe, you shouldn’t have a family member or friend translate a death certificate, as this could be seen as a conflict of interest. Moreover, it's always best to work with a professional translation agency or translator that has a 100% guaranteed acceptance rate for these types of processes to avoid any delays.
Do I need to find a certified translator?
As we’ve seen, certified translations have a specific set of requirements. Although anyone with knowledge of the two languages in question can issue a certification, it is advisable to find a qualified professional.
However, this does not mean you need to find a certified translator. A certified translator has proven the quality of their work in some way. In the United States, translators earn their certification when satisfactorily tested by the government or a professional institution.
As we’ve mentioned, translators don’t need to be certified to provide certified translation services. However, you should strive to work with a professional translation agency or translator.
Death certificate translation can be a delicate topic, but this type of document is often required to settle various types of paperwork.
We hope this article has given you some insight into the process and shown you how to find high-quality translation services for death certificates.
Updated January 9, 2023 in Translation