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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 had a baby there. She needed to submit the child’s birth certificate as part of the process of applying for her first British 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 where we came in. This is just one example picked from 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 consulat