When do I need to get a certified translation?
Not all texts require certified translation. You only need a certified translation when the text being translated is an official document that will be used for official purposes. This includes notarial instruments (articles of association, deeds of incorporation, sales contracts, certificates of inheritance, wills), extracts from the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages (extracts from the municipal records database, passports, driving licences, birth certificates, single status declarations, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, death certificates, certificates of registered partnership), procedural documents (official records, court rulings, court orders, exhibits, insolvency declarations, bailiff’s notifications, applications for attachment), agreements (pension agreements, tenancy agreements, employment agreements, purchase agreements) and other official documents (certificates of good behaviour, diplomas, lists of marks, salary statements, certificates, employer’s statements, fiscal overviews, references).
Is the quality of a certified translation better than that of an ‘ordinary’ translation?
The fact that a translation is certified has no actual bearing on the quality. What distinguishes a certified translation is that it is an official document that is internationally recognised. A certified translation is always accompanied by a statement from the sworn translator verifying that the translation is a faithful reproduction of the original document. This assures the recipient of the certified translation that the translation contains no distortions, additions or omissions.
Incidentally, the majority of non-certified translations provided by Metamorfose are actually done by sworn translators.
When does a certified translation need to be legalised?
Generally speaking, we advise customers to have a certified translation legalised if it is intended for use in another country. In the case of a foreign document intended for an organisation in the Netherlands, legalisation is usually not necessary. It is essential, however, that the certified translation is done by a sworn translator who is registered both in the Dutch register for sworn interpreters and translators (Register beëdigde tolken en vertalers, Rbtv) in Den Bosch and with at least one Dutch district court.
What does the legalisation of a certified translation involve?
Legalisation of a certified translation means that the translator’s signature is legalised by the competent official authorities. There are two forms of legalisation: a shortened procedure and the full procedure. Which one applies in your case depends on the country for which the certified translation is intended. Countries that are signatories of the Apostille Convention accept the short legalisation procedure, whilst those that are not signatories of this convention will require you to complete the full legalisation procedure. Countries that are signatories of the Apostille Convention include all EU member states, the United States of America, Canada, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Hong Kong, South Africa, Switzerland and Japan. Many countries in Africa and the Middle East are not a party to the Apostille Convention. For a complete list of countries covered by the Apostille Convention, consult the Legalisation and Visas Information Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.minbuza.nl/en/Services/Consular_Services/Legalisation_of_documents/Legalising_Dutch_and_foreign_documents.
Exactly what do the short and the full legalisation procedures entail?
In the case of the short legalisation procedure the translator’s signature can be legalised at the district court(s) at which the translator is registered. This involves affixing an apostille (a stamp or sticker bearing the district court’s signature) to the certified translation. You can request an apostille at the central desk of the relevant district court.
The full legalisation procedure requires additional steps. The first is to obtain a legalisation stamp (note that this is not the same as an apostille!) from the central desk of the district court at which the sworn translator is registered. The next step is getting the court’s signature legalised by the Ministry of Justice in The Hague. This second signature must in turn be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. Finally, this last signature has to be legalised at the embassy or consulate of the country for which the certified translation is intended.
Can Metamorfose Vertalingen take care of legalising the certified translation for me?
Yes, we are happy to take care of either the short or full legalisation procedure on your behalf, but can only do so as far as the certified translation itself is concerned. Other forms of legalisation (such as obtaining the signature of a notary or of an education institution) fall outside the scope of our services, nor can we provide advice in such matters.
How do I find out at which district court the sworn translator is registered?
Just ask one of our project managers. You can also always confirm this by contacting the central desk of the district court concerned.
What does authentication involve, and is this also something your agency can do?
Authentication is different from legalisation. In cases where the certified translation will be affixed not to the original document, but to a copy of that original (for example a diploma), then it is advisable to have the copy authenticated. This authentication serves to verify that the content of the copy is identical to that of the original.
Unfortunately, translation agencies are not authorised to authenticate document copies. To get the document copy authenticated you will need to take it to the organisation that issued the original (such as the municipal Population Affairs Department or education institution) or alternatively to a notary.
(if you still have questions, feel free to contact us via email or by phone. The contacts are always on the right side of this page)