Are you looking to enroll or apply to a US university but have foreign documents? Do you need academic documents translated for USCIS? Then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll go over the process of getting your degree certificate translated. We’ll also discuss when you will need to translate it, who can do the translation and how much it costs. But first, we’ll go over the concept of academic translation.

  1. What is academic translation?
  2. The challenges of academic translation
    1. Subjects
    2. Grading systems
  3. Types of diplomas and degree certificates
  4. When do you need a degree translation?
  5. Getting a translation of your degree certificate
  6. Translating your degree for the United States
    1. Special requirements in the United States
    2. Official translation
    3. Certified translation
    4. Notarized translation
  7. Translating your degree to submit abroad
  8. FAQs
    1. How do I translate my degree for immigration?
    2. Where can I translate my certificate?
    3. How much does it cost to translate a transcript?
  9. Final thoughts

What is academic translation?

This field of translation deals with various types of academic documents. These include high school diplomas, bachelor’s degree certificates, master’s degree certificates, and transcripts, among others. Academic translation also deals with essays, articles or even books. In this article, however, we’ll focus on academic certificates.

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The challenges of academic translation

Academic translation is a specialized field and, as such, it has its own unique set of challenges. Let’s look at the two main ones.


Subjects taught both in high school and university vary greatly depending on their location. There might be different names for the same subject or different subjects altogether.

Here, the translator will have to include a description that makes sense within the American education system.

Grading systems

Grading systems vary considerably from country to country. If your degree or transcript is in a foreign language, then it probably has a different grading system.

This means the translator will need to understand the system from the country of origin and be able to provide an equivalence in the US education system. This will help those reviewing the documentation understand how your grades compare to local ones.

Types of diplomas and degree certificates

Just to give you an idea, we’ll list the types of diplomas, degree certificates, and other academic documents that might require translation services.

  • High school diploma translation
  • College diploma translation
  • Associate degree translation
  • Bachelor’s degree translation
  • Master’s degree translation
  • Ph.D. and doctoral degree translation
  • Report card translation
  • Academic transcript translation

When do you need a degree translation?

If you have a foreign degree in a language other than English, there are many instances where you’ll need to have it translated. We’ll look at the main ones below.

  • When applying to a school or university within the US.
  • For employment purposes or employment-based visas.
  • For immigration purposes, to be submitted to USCIS.
  • For citizenship requests.

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Getting a translation of your degree certificate

Now that we know when you might need to translate your degree, let’s take a look at how to do it.

Translating your degree for the United States

Below, you’ll find the process to obtain your degree certificate translation. We’ve added some extra steps that are not required by all institutions but are good to keep in mind nonetheless.

  1. Notarize/Apostille in your country of origin

Although not always required, some universities or institutions may ask that your degree or diploma undergo some certification in its country of origin before translation. This may take the form of special certification by your university, the Ministry of Education, or a notary.

It might also entail getting your document apostilled. An apostille is a document that authenticates the signature of the authority that signs or certifies your document to the 116 countries that are members of the Hague Convention. The apostille will have to be translated along with the original document and any relevant certifications.

Always take care to ask whoever is requesting your degree translation if they have any specific requirements.

  1. Find an appropriate translator or translation agency

After you check you have the relevant certifications, if any, you should ensure the translator or translation agency you choose is able to issue a translation that meets any relevant requirements.

  1. Ask for a quote and delivery time

Both the quote and the delivery time may vary according to how many documents you need to translate. Other things that affect cost and time are the length of your document, its format, the specific language combination, if you need a certified translation, and if the translation is urgent.

  1. Submit an electronic copy of your documents to your translation provider

When you send your documents to your chosen translator or translation company, there are some details you should include. They will need your name, phone number, and email address, as well as the language of the original document (source language).

  1. Receive your translation

When the translation is complete, it will be reviewed for accuracy. You will then receive an electronic copy and hard copies by post as needed.

  1. Credential evaluation

Once you have your translation, the university you are applying to might request a credential evaluation. This entails submitting your documentation to verify its validity or its equivalence to a US degree. World Education Services and Educational Perspectives are two great companies that carry out this evaluation.

Special requirements in the United States

Below we’ll go over the special requirements you may need to fulfill when it comes to your degree translation.

Official translation

An official translation is a translation that is legally valid. This generally means it has been stamped by an authority. In the United States, the term is often used in the context of certified or notarized translations.

Certified translation

A certified translation is a literal (word-for-word) translation of all visible text in a document that is intended for official uses. The receiver will require a certification to verify that the translation is complete and accurate.

When you need to submit a document written in a foreign language before a government or educational institution in the United States (such as USCIS), it generally requires a certified translation. This means the translator or translation company in charge of the translation will add a signed statement (also known as a “Certificate of Translation Accuracy”) that says the translation is a complete and accurate rendition of the original document.

You can find out more about certified translation and its requirements in this article.

Notarized translation

A notarized translation is a certified translation that includes an extra step to ensure its validity. It is signed and sealed by a Notary Public.

It’s worth noting that the Notary’s signature and stamp on a notarized translation only confirm the identity of the person whose signature has certified the translation. Notaries do not authenticate the original source document or certify the quality of the translation itself. Notarization is simply an additional authentication for the certified translation.

You can find out more about notarized translation and its requirements in this article.

Translating your degree to submit abroad

Just like within the US, requirements for degree translation can vary from country to country. Therefore, the first step here is to check what the institution you are submitting your degree to expects when it comes to its translation.

Does your translation need to be apostilled? Well, in the US, apostilles are usually issued by the relevant Secretary of State.

Does it need to be certified? What is the certification system like in that country? For example, while in the United Kingdom the system is similar to that of the United States, some countries—such as Spain or France—require sworn translations. These are issued by sworn or public translators. These translators are certified by a translator’s association, or authorized or appointed by a government body—such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Justice.

Moreover, some countries accept translations issued in the country of origin, while others will require documents to be translated locally.


We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, but you might still have some questions regarding your degree translation or academic translation in general. Here are some frequently asked questions on this topic.

How do I translate my degree for immigration?

When it comes to translating your degree for immigration purposes, the first thing is to check USCIS requirements.

Translations to be submitted before USCIS must be typed, not written; should follow the same format as the original; and be certified. Moreover, the certified translation should be printed with the translation service provider’s letterhead and include a certification statement.

It’s essential to follow all requirements to make sure your translation is accepted by the USCIS and avoid delays in the immigration process. You can find the section from the Code of Federal Regulations that discusses the US Citizenship and Immigration Services translation requirements here and more information on translating immigration documents in this article.

Where can I translate my certificate?

RushTranslate offers degree translation services, both standard and certified. You can find more information about this here.

We also specialize in certified translations for USCIS with 24-hour delivery and a 100% guaranteed acceptance rate.

How much does it cost to translate a transcript?

As we’ve mentioned, the price of a translation varies depending on different factors such as the length of the document to be translated, the type of document, and the specific language combination. There may also be a rush charge if you need the documents urgently.

Translation service providers usually charge per word or page (the industry defines one "page" as 250 words). When it comes to cost per word, prices vary from $0.08 to $0.50/word. The cost per page usually ranges from $20 to $130 per page.

RushTranslate provides degree translation services in over 60 languages starting at $0.10 per word for standard translations and $24.95 per page for certified translations.

Final thoughts

The process of degree or diploma translation can vary greatly depending on the institution receiving the translation. We might sound like a broken record, but checking translation requirements is key.

We hope this article has helped you understand the translation process and the potential requirements for your degree translation.

Updated December 1, 2022 in Translation