If you need any documents translated, make sure that you understand the requirements before you choose a language translation service. There are few situations where you can use an online or computer generated translation apart from your own personal satisfaction or curiosity. Online translators are certainly useful and cheap for personal reasons. For example, if you are having a conversation with someone in their language or you are on holiday away from home and are trying to make sense of a notice on the wall or a timetable, by all means use an online app. For anything more serious, however, you are advised to use a professional translation service.
Why certified language translators have an edge over uncertified ones
Depending on the country you are living in or the country where you are looking for a translation service, there may be a number of different qualifications that translators can achieve to improve their skills in translation. A certified language translator is more likely to have acquired these skills than an uncertified one, even if their fluency in more than one language is excellent.
Translation, as a set of skills, is more than simple fluency. A professional translator who has taken the trouble to become a certified language translator, would have learned about the use of translation technology, become familiar with useful software, become adept at proofreading and probably have developed a specialization in one or more aspects of translation. It is rare to find certified language translators who are complete generalists. Translation these days is a broad field and translators may become a specialist in legal translation, marketing translation, technical translation and literary translation as well as being able to handle bread and butter translation tasks like document translation.
Most countries have translation oriented courses which can provide a certification route for those people interested in pursuing a career in translation. Certification may be needed if the translator is to take up professional translating in the country they are living in. Even if certification is unnecessary, it may be a way of demonstrating a point of difference with an uncertified translator.
Check the rules to see if you need to use a certified language translator
In some countries, it is essential to use a certified language translator if you are providing translations of personal documents for a government department, most often an immigration department. Each country has its own rules, of course, so you should certainly make yourself aware of what is required before selecting a translator.
If you are applying for a visa or citizenship through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), you do not have to use a certified language translator to translate such things as educational qualifications and marriage certificates, but that doesn’t mean that the quality of the translation is not important.
A professional language translation agency will have translators available who will have dealt with these sorts of documents many times before, even if they don’t have qualifications as translators. Professional translators will know exactly what the USCIS is looking for in a translation and won’t let you down.
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