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By Riteba McCallum
October 7, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Certified Translators

Maybe you’ve been asked for a certified translation of an official document and you’re not sure what that means. Maybe you’re looking for a translator for your project and you’re not sure whether you should include certification as a criterion or what the benefit would be of working with a translator who is certified vs one who is not. Whatever questions you have about certification, this article will try to answer them. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Certified Translation?

A translation is said to be certified (also called a sworn translation) when it bears the seal of a certified translator, who essentially guarantees the accuracy of the translated text.

In many jurisdictions, translators are certified by their local professional association or order. In the United States, for example, the American Translators Association (ATA) provides certification. In Canada, certification is granted by provincial bodies like the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes du Québec (OTTIAQ), which in turn are federated under the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC). In France, on the other hand, translators are certified by the Court of Appeal.

The criteria to become certified as a translator varies based on the body granting certification. It is common the need to take a test and/or to submit a portfolio of work to be reviewed by a committee. In Quebec, since 2020, a bachelor’s degree in translation is all that is required to be certified by OTTIAQ. Certified translators also need to be members in good standing of their professional association.

How Can I Tell if a Translator Is Certified?

Translators who are certified typically use a post-nominal like C. Tr. or CT in their signature or online profiles. Organizations that provide certification, like OTTIAQ or the ATA, also maintain a directory of members who are certified, so you can verify whether someone who claims to be certified actually is.

Do I Need a Certified Translation?

Certified translations are mainly required for the translation of official documents, such as the translation of birth certificates and marriage licenses for an immigration application, or the translation of academic transcripts when applying to university.

The institution requiring a certified translation will normally specify exactly what they mean by this. For example, the Government of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship website defines a certified translator as: “a member in good standing of a professional translation association in Canada or abroad. Their certification must be confirmed by a seal or stamp that shows the translator’s membership number.”

What Are the Benefits of Working With a Certified Translator?

Some clients prefer to work with a certified translator even if they don’t require their documents to be officially certified or stamped. It provides an extra reassurance of the translator’s qualifications, which can give you peace of mind, especially when you aren’t able to judge the quality of their work yourself. In addition, most certified translators are bound by a code of ethics and have a commitment to ongoing professional development.

That said, there are many excellent translators who are not certified, and there are other ways of judging a translator’s qualifications, like considering their educational background, their professional experience, and testimonials from other clients. At OXO, our in-house and freelance translators come from a wide variety of backgrounds and each have different strengths and qualifications. Some are certified, and some aren’t.

Selecting the Right Resources for Your Global Content

Finding the best resources for your global content and assessing their fitness to provide accurate, premium-quality language services can be tricky. At OXO, you can rest assured that we will assign the most qualified and carefully tested resources to your account based on your needs. We can also recruit and put together a dedicated team for your account if you have enough volume. Book a free consultation to discuss your resource needs today.

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