Certified and Standard Translation Differences

While the same translators perform both types of translation, the final deliverable varies greatly. This guide will help ensure you order the correct translation type for your purposes.

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Different Translation Types for Different Uses

Depending on the use case for your translation you'll require either a certified translation or standard translation. The specifics of each are detailed below, but as a general rule of thumb, you'll want to order a standard translation unless you are submitting to a person or entity who requires a certified translation explicitly. If you are unsure, please check with the person or entity you are submitting to as submitting the wrong type of translation can cause delays, rejections, and expenses to correct it.

Certified Translation Overview

Certified translations are word-for-word human translations of documents delivered in a non-editable format on RushTranslate letterhead including a signed and stamped Certificate of Translation Accuracy with similar formatting to the source document. This translation type is for official use as required by U.S. Immigration (USCIS), universities, courts, and many local, state, and federal governments.

The certification is signed and stamped by an authorized signer from our company and attests to the fact that the translation has been performed by a professional translator working for our translation agency who is fluent in the language pair, unrelated to the requestor and that the translation is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Optional services

  • Notarization: Stamp and signature authenticating the signer of the translation certification. Valid in all 50 states.
  • Expedited Turnaround: Your order will be prioritized and turnaround time for digital delivery reduced by 50%.
  • Hard Copy: Original translation with wet ink signatures shipped via USPS Priority or Express mail.
  • Currency Conversion: Currency can be converted at either the current conversion rate or a specific historical rate.

Order Certified

Standard Translation Overview

A human translation of documents or text-based content delivered in an editable format for business or personal use. Perfect for legal documents, employee manuals, business communications, blog posts, product descriptions, and many other documents and types of content. Standard translations do not include formatting, but we can usually retain your original format if you provide an editable source file that the translator can work directly in.

Optional services

  • Expedited Turnaround: Your order will be prioritized and turnaround time for digital delivery reduced by 50%.
  • Original Formatting: We can translate in Powerpoint, Illustrator or other software to retain your original formatting.

Order Standard

Quality Differences

There are no quality differences between certified translations and standard translations as the same professional translators perform both translation types. The name certified translation can be a little misleading to those new to ordering translation services as it can sound like it is of higher quality than a standard translation, but this isn't the case. Certified translations have specific requirements that the translator must follow that aren't required of standard translations.

For certified translations, the translator is required to translate all visible content from the source document word-for-word. For vital documents such as birth certificates that requirement doesn't typically prove to be noticeable, but for other types of documents that contain full sentences with more nuance it can undoubtedly be.

This is one of several reasons why you wouldn't want to order a certified translation if you aren't required to; standard translations aren't bound by the requirement of being word-for-word. A standard translation will read much more fluently as the translator will have more flexibility with word choice, grammar, etc. to accurately convey the original meaning of the document.

Pricing Differences

Certified translations are charged on a per-page basis with a page being defined as 250 words or less including numbers while standard translations are charged on a per word basis. This is an industry-standard that developed because source documents for certified translations are typically scans or images of physical documents where it is often difficult to get an exact word count while standard translations are usually selectable text that is easy to count with software.

Formatting Differences

Basic formatting is included with certified translations. We don't try to replicate the design of your source file, but we do try to match the layout closely so that anyone comparing the two will have no trouble matching each section of the text. Standard translations do not include formatting, but if you provide an editable source file, we can typically translate directly in it and retain your formatting.

Deliverable Differences

Certified translations are delivered as a non-editable PDF on RushTranslate letterhead with a certification page. You will also have the option of ordering a hard copy if you need the original translation with wet ink signatures. If you would like a change made to a certified translation you can request a revision from your order status page. The revision will be assigned to the translator to review and apply as appropriate.

Standard translations are delivered as an editable Word document without certification or our company letterhead. You are free to modify the translation any way you see fit. If you require delivery in a different format, please contact us before ordering.


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