Certified translation – what you need to know

We saw an increase in the number of requests from our private clients to provide certified translation of their personal documents, most of the time, from a foreign language into English, for the purpose of  fulfilling the requirements of the ICA – Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, MOE – Ministry of Education and MOM – Ministry of Manpower. Needless to say, they are for immigration, education or work related purposes. On the other hand, our corporate customers also request for certified translation of medical studies and legal documents. Even though the term “certified translation” is used very often, there are many misconceptions about what the term actually means and how the process is different from what is used in other countries.

Some countries have certified translators, sworn translators, court-certified translators or public translators who have taken and passed specific exams that allow them to certify their translations by affixing an official stamp. However in Singapore, there is no regulation/requirement (at least not yet) that certified translations must be performed by certified translators, sworn translators, court-certified translators or public translators. Consequently, when a certified translation is required for immigration or other official purposes, there are often misunderstandings or confusion.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

  • Do I need a certified translator to provide the translation of my official documents?

No, the translator does not need to be certified by anybody in order to be qualified to provide a certified translation.

  • Can you provide a certified true copy of my original documents?

No, a translator does not and can not do that. What a translator does is to certify that the translation of the original document was completed to the best of his or her ability.

  • So what is meant by certified translation? What does it involve? 

Ideally, a certified translation should have a cover sheet or certificate that bears a statement declaring that the translation was completed by a qualified translator to his or her best knowledge and ability along with the language combination translated. The initials of the person signing the certificate should appear on every page of the translation and copy of the source document.

At Sage Languages, our certificates also include a unique number and a date. If required, we can also get a notary public to notarize the certificate to confirm the identity of the person signing the certificate of translation.

  • Can certified translations be delivered via email?

No, certified translations must be delivered in hard copy.

If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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