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What You Need To Know About Translation Certification

certified translation services

Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 12:53 pm

Certified Translations, Notarized Translations, Apostilles- What Exactly Do I Need?

If JR Language were a movie, the first scene would begin like this:

(Telephone rings)

JRLANGUAGE:  “Good morning!  JR Language, how may I help you?”

CUSTOMER:  Hello, do you provide certified translation services from (source language) into (target language)?

JRLANGUAGE:  Yes, we do.  And what do you need translated?

CUSTOMER:  Wonderful, I’ve got a birth certificate.  I need it translated and certified for immigration ASAP.  Now please tell me- would you be able to notarize it as well? Do you know if I need the document notarized?

As in any movie, the world of translation can be filled with surprise twists and turns- particularly regarding translations of documents that need to be used in different countries and require certification. 

The process of certifying and notarizing a translation is as simple as a notary stamping and signing the certification page of a translation.  But, that simple act of notarizing comes with questions of whether or not the notarized translations would be accepted at all.  There are different levels of certification needed for the translation, depending on the institutions’ requirements -which are not determined or dictated by translation companies.  Some documents require more levels of certifications than others, and that is established by the organization, instruction or government requesting them.

What is a notary? The role and responsibilities of a notary differ for the United States and other countries.  This is where some confusion arises for some of our clients.  Let’s clarify:

  • U.S Notaries are public officials commissioned by state governments to act as impartial witnesses in the signing of important documents and to administer oaths.


  • Notaries in other countries are often highly trained legal professionals, in some cases even lawyers, who are able to provide legal advice and draft documents.

What is the process of notarizing a translation in the US? And, what does it mean?  Here at JR Language, we have our own notary on staff.  Once a translation is ready and a certification is issued, we present the certified documents to the notary and he places a notary seal and stamp on the certification page verifying that the signers of the documents are who they say they are.  In other words, the notary certifies the signature and identity of the signer but not the accuracy, legality, or authenticity of the translation itself.  The signers of the certified translation are the ones who are responsible for accuracy of the translation(s).

There are 2 levels of certification in the process just described, one is the certified translation and the other is the notarization of the certified translation. At that point  the translation will be certified and notarized.

Different organizations require different levels of certifications- Because different institutions and countries have different requirements, it is important for you to research and find out exactly what type of certification service you need for your translation.  Each customer’s case is unique. 

Levels of Certification: The levels of certification are layered in the sense that the first level of certification is needed for both notarizations and apostilles. For a translation to be notarized it needs to be certified. And for a translation to be apostilled it needs to be certified and notarized.

At JR Language, our top priority is to serve our clients and provide the translation services that they require.  We would like to impart this important message to all- before using certified translation services, please determine which level of certification you need: certified translation, notarized certifications, apostille or authentication of the translated documents. Do your home work before translating your documents! Ask questions, so you receive the right level of certification that is required for your translated document to be accepted.

Any questions, guidance or explanations that you might need, we will be happy to help. JR Language provides  all the levels of certifications available.

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.