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UK government departments' requirements for certified translations

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

The UK government is where a a large proportion of our work ends up, and it seems to offer straightforward general advice on its requirements for certified translations, simply stating the following on their "certifying a document" webpage.

"If you need to certify a translation of a document that’s not written in English or Welsh, ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the translation:

  • that it’s a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’

  • the date of the translation

  • the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company."

However, closer inspection finds that it is not always so clear cut. Different departments (Home Office, Passport Office, Foreign Office, DVLA etc.) do seem to have slightly different rules. We keep up with these requirements for certified translations so we can provide you with exactly what you need. Generally speaking, the government department requesting your certified translation will give you some guidelines as to what they require, but as noted above, they're not always entirely consistent across departments, nor, at times, are they the clearest communicators. We recommend that you do all the preliminary research you can to find out what exactly you require in terms of certification, but we'll go the extra mile for you and do our own research for each specific case to ensure you receive the certified translation you need. There is no specific qualification required in the UK for a translator to be able to certify a document, but our translators are members of the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) or the CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists) or are also employed by a company which is a member or the ATC (Association of Translation Companies). This is an occasional requirement for certification for certain procedures with government departments, for example for passport applications. Membership of these prestigious British institutes ensures we are qualified to the highest level in order to guarantee acceptance. **Update: 23 June 2020** We have now been informed by the UK government that membership of similar translation organisations from other countries is also recognised as a condition for having a certified translation accepted. This means that members of, for example, the American Translators Association, can also offer a certified translation service in the UK for submission to the Passport Office. The requirements for freelancers joining our certified translation group has been modified accordingly, and now all translators with membership of an equivalent body in their home country will be considered. As you can see from our update, we're keeping up to date with modifications to requirements for the acceptance of certified translations in London and the rest of the UK. You can rely on us to deliver exactly what's needed. We're confident in the certified translation service that we offer, so we give you a guarantee that all our translations will be accepted, or your money back. That's on top of our price guarantee, which ensures that we will lower our prices to beat any other comparable quote for certified translation services in the UK.

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