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Since there is a great deal of confusion about what a certified translation is, we wanted to take a moment to clear up some common misconceptions. In the U.S., a certified translation consists of the translation itself accompanied by a signed statement by the translator or translation company affirming that the translated text is an accurate and complete rendering of the original document. Sometimes the signed statement is called a “Certificate of Accuracy.” This certification does not prove that the translation is accurate, nor does it mean that the translator who prepared it is “certified.” In the U.S., there is no federal or state certification of translators. (There is however, federal and state court certification for interpreters.) Translators can be certified by the American Translators Association or a similar association, but this certification is not official, and a translator does not have to be certified to prepare a certified translation. Morningside requires that all translators who provide certified translations are accredited by one or more translation associations, but this is far from universal among translation companies.
Certified translations are usually required if you are submitting foreign-language documents to a court of law or regulatory agency like the FDA. Official documents like birth certificates and college transcripts also require certification. If you need to submit a certified translation, check first to see exactly what kind of certification you need. It may need to be notarized, and the translator’s qualifications and/or resume may need to be attached.
You can find more information on certified translations here.