When is a certified translation required
If a foreigner wants to come to the United States of America to either immigrate or to work or to study or to marry an US citizen, then that person needs to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a relevant visa. Depending on the visa, the applicant will also have to submit supporting documents such as marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, driver’s license, police clearance certificate, academic diplomas and other such official documents.
The USCIS’ expectation is that all documents should be in English. In case documents are in a language other than English, then the documents need to be translated into English and certified.
What is a certified translation?
English translations for the USCIS, and other US private and public institutions such as US colleges, US schools, US courts, US passport office, etc, should be done in compliance with Federal Regulations (8 CFR 103.2(b)(3)) of the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Immigration Regulations/Powers and Duties – Availability of Records”.
The translator must certify that he/she is fluent in both English and the source language and that he/she is competent to translate. Furthermore, he/she must certify that the translation is both accurate and complete.
Certified Translators can provide USCIS compliant translations in 48 hours.
Dos and Don’ts for a translator
There is a difference between translating an official document and literature. In the case of literature, the translator has the option of “paraphrasing”; but in the case of an official document, there is no such luxury and the translator must “metaphrase” (literal translation).
A translator should consider the below points while translating official documents:
– The document should be translated in its entirety and accurately. There should be no omissions. Lines, seals, stamp, etc, which are present in the original document should all be translated.
– A translator cannot add content that is not there in the original document. For example: If the marriage date is missing in the original marriage certificate, it cannot be add it in the English certified translation.
– If there is something in the original document that is not clear, then the English language translation should make a note that it is not legible.
– The visual layout of the English translated document should match the layout of the original document. For example, in the translated document, the name and signature of the issuing authority should be in the same location as that in the original document.