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Certified translations for use at British embassies and consulates abroad


Many of those of us who live abroad may find that we need to supply documents to our home embassy at some point. A recent example of this is that of a British friend of mine who is living in Barcelona and who recently had a baby. She needed to submit the child’s birth certificate as part of the process of applying for her first passport. The birth certificate issued by the Spanish authorities is in the Spanish language, as you may well expect, so she needed a certified English translation to be submitted along with the original. As you might have guessed, that’s we were we came in. This is just one example among many possibilities of when a certified translation is needed for submission to an embassy, and it’s not always our own country’s embassy. Foreign nationals applying for a British visa or similar will also need to provide certified translations of their documents as part of the process, assuming they come from a non-English speaking country. This may seem fairly obvious and it is a very common occurrence when dealing with embassies, but in our experience they (British embassies and consulates, at least) are not very helpful at supplying information on what exactly is required when it comes to a certified translation, nor at pointing people in the right direction for where and how to go about getting one.

A recent look at the website of the British consulate in Malaga gave a link to a list of authorised Spanish certified translators recognized by the Spanish government, but these translators mainly provide translations into Spanish, rather than from Spanish into English. Not much help if you need a certified translation for use at the British embassy, where they insist, not unreasonably, that documents be supplied in English. To us this seems like an oversight on their part, they should be pointing people in the direction of British translators who are qualified to provide certified translations in line with the guidelines set out by the British government itself. Being part of that very same government, it really shouldn’t be that tough for the consulate to manage this. We sent the consulate a message pointing out this lack of information, but it was no surprise that we didn’t hear back from them. They’re obviously very busy and have better things to do, but we feel that a link on their website sending people to the websites of reputable translators, organisations and companies able to provide them with the Spanish to English certified translation they need would be a helpful addition. And we don’t just mean out own website! It would be good if people were given the opportunity to shop around. Luckily, we do have a price guarantee so even if that helpful scenario were to occur, we’d be able to offer the cheapest prices around for certified translations, and in the case that a competitor quotes at a lower rate than us, we will reduce our price to beat it. In reality it’s a purely academic consideration, since it seems the consulate doesn’t want to add any links (I am still hopeful for a reply, and I’m aware that responses from consulates sometimes take time, so in the event that they do eventually get back to us I will update this post accordingly). So, we’ve taken up an alternative measure for reaching the many thousands of Brits living abroad who may need a certified translation for use at their nearest embassy, as well as the countless other non-Brits who might be carrying out official procedures with British embassies and consulates the world over. Luckily, there is a great resource for getting the word out there, in the form of the many hundreds of Facebook groups for ex-pat Brits living abroad. For now we’re focusing on joining these groups and letting people know that we’re here to help if they need us. It’s probably quicker and easier than standing outside all the embassies handing out our business cards! Although I may give that a try at some point at my local British consulate in Malaga. So, if you’re a Brit living abroad who needs a certified translation for use at your local British embassy or consulate, or you’re applying for a British visa or carrying out paperwork for any other official procedure, just let us know and we’ll do all we can to help. Our usual price-guarantee always applies so you can be confident that you are getting the very best rate, while out 5-star Google reviews (138 and counting) give you the confidence to trust us to provide a service of top-notch quality, both quickly and with a friendly and helpful attitude. If you’d like to spread the word and link to us or share our blog posts in your local Facebook group or on your own website, we would be very grateful. We are always happy to share links to your own website too, which is helpful not only for reaching a larger audience but also for a boost to the ranking on Google and other search engines. As ever, thanks for reading. All the best from sunny Malaga!

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