Have you been asked to notarize a translated document and are unsure what to do? Have you done a certified translation but don’t know if it requires notarization? You’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can notarize a translated document and answer some common questions regarding this process. But first, let’s take a look at the basics of notarization.
- What is a notarized translation?
- What is a notary public?
- How do I notarize a document in another language?
- Notarization FAQs
- Final thoughts
What is a notarized translation?
This is a translation that carries the signature and seal of a notary public. The notary’s signature and seal verify the identity of the translator that worked on the original document.
Notarization has nothing to do with the quality of the translation itself. The notary public only certifies the translator’s signature, as notarization works as a fraud deterrent.
A notary public also ensures the person signing the translation understands what they are signing and do so of their own free will.
The notary public issues a notarial certificate when notarizing a document. This includes the notary’s signature and official seal, as well as a reference to what they are notarizing. This certificate is the notary’s documentation of any given notarial act.
You can see an example of this certificate in this sample from the State of Georgia.
Digital vs. physical notarization
Digital and physical notarization are equally valid, but you can always request a physical copy if needed. We recommend you check the requirements for your specific document before ordering a notarized translation.
What kind of documents need notarization?
Whether your document requires notarization will depend on the institution to which you are submitting your documents rather than on the document itself. These are some of the documents that may require notarization in the US:
- Passport applications
- DMV documents (in some states)
- Court documents (in some states)
- School transcripts and foreign diplomas
- Employment contracts
- Loan agreements
- Articles of incorporation
- Bank statements
- Vital records (such as birth, marriage and divorce certificates)
Notarized translation can also be a requirement when submitting documents issued in the United States in another country.
What is a notary public?
A notary public is a professional witness that certifies the legitimacy of a document. In the United States, notaries are public servants appointed by state governments to witness the signing of documents and to administer oaths.
Who can be a notary public?
Notary requirements vary from state to state. As we’ve mentioned, notary publics are appointed by a state government. This could be the governor, the state secretary or the state legislature, among others.
To become a notary public, regardless of your state, you must be at least 18 years old and live or work in the state where you apply. Other standard requirements include being a citizen or permanent resident of the US, the ability to read and write in English and a background check. Notary public applicants may also have to complete a course and/or pass an exam. Moreover, once they fulfill all requirements, notaries must file the bond and oath of office and buy the proper notary supplies. You can look at the requirements for each state here.
The fact that notaries are appointed at a state level does not mean notarized translations are only valid in that state. Interstate recognition of notarial acts is well established and a notarization that is performed legally in one state is valid in all other states.
National Notary Association
Another great source of information regarding notarization and notary public requirements is the National Notary Association (NNA). The NNA is the leading authority in the Notary office in the US. You can take a look at its website here.
How do I notarize a document in another language?
Notarizing a translated document is relatively straightforward. The translator will sign their translation in front of the notary public, who will then notarize it. The notary usually requests an ID from the translator so they can verify their identity.
Here is an explanation of the notarization process at RushTranslate:
- An authorized signer from RushTranslate will sign the Certificate of Translation Accuracy, authenticating and validating the work the translator has completed.
- The notary public will authenticate the signer of the Certificate of Translation Accuracy by verifying their identity and witnessing them sign the certificate.
As you can see, there is not much to it. The notarization process should be fast and easy.
You now know what notarization is and how to notarize your foreign documents. If you still have questions regarding certified translations and USCIS requirements, we’ll answer this below.
What is the difference between notarized and certified translations?
Certified translations are word-for-word translations of a document that include a signed statement or Certificate of Translation Accuracy. This statement is meant to certify that the translation is complete and accurate.
A notarized translation entails an extra step taken after a certified translation to confirm the identity of the translator. Therefore, the difference is the involvement of a notary public. This is not required if you only need your translation certified, but will be necessary for notarization.
You can learn more about what a certified translation is and when you might need one in this article.
How do I certify a translated document?
To obtain a certified translation of a foreign document, you will need to find a suitable translator or agency. Your chosen translation services provider will issue the translation accompanied by a statement of accuracy. You can ask for a digital or hard copy of your certified translation.
You can find a step-by-step guide on how to certify a translation here.
Does a certified translation need a certified translator?
No, anyone who is proficient in the two languages can issue a certified translation. However, it is always advisable to turn to a qualified translator or translation company.
If you want to know more about what a certified translator is or how to become one, you should read this article.
We should also note that notary publics do need to be authorized by a government body to notarize a document.
Do translated documents need to be notarized for USCIS?
Immigration documents submitted to USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) do not need to be notarized. The only requirement for documents in a foreign language is a certified translation.
You can learn more about translating immigration documents for USCIS in this article.
As you can see, notarization is quite a simple process. It can be even easier if your translation service provider can both translate and notarize your documents.
If you need certified translations that require notarization, RushTranslate offers both services with a quick turnaround at the hands of qualified professionals.
Updated January 16, 2023 in Translation