Frequently asked questions
You’re in a hurry? Here you will find a brief summary of all important information on certified translations.
An overview of certified translations:
Public authorities usually require official documents such as birth certificates to be presented as a certified translation (beglaubigte Übersetzung) by a court-approved translator. A certified translation requires the translator to take the greatest of care and a few points need to be observed: The original document must be translated in its entirety including all headers, footers or comments, omissions need to be justified and precisely identified, and reference must be made to logos, emblems, signatures or stamps in the translation. This entails copying the layout of the text as well as possible so that it is easy to compare the translation with the original text. At the end of the translation, the translator confirms the accuracy and completeness of the translation and authenticates the document with their stamp or their signature. The translation is then attached to a copy of the source text.
I am a sworn translator (allgemein ermächtigte Übersetzerin) for English and German. In spite of my excellent foreign language skills, I almost exclusively translate into the German language according to the native speaker principle. This way, I can ensure that my translation is accurate both linguistically and as regards content. For certified translations (beglaubigte Übersetzungen) into English I collaborate with an experienced English native speaker, so as to ensure the highest possible quality.
Many public authorities in Germany and abroad require an official translation of foreign documents in order for them to be recognised. Typical documents that require a certified translation (beglaubigte Übersetzung) are for example birth certificates, marriage certificates, certificates of good conduct, diplomas, employer references, salary statements, bank statements, driving licences or divorce decrees. The certified translation of these documents can be presented to the court, the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Registration Office), universities, the Bürgeramt (Citizens’ Registration Office), potential employers and other official authorities, for example.
What is the difference between an allgemein ermächtigter, beeidigter, vereidigter and öffentlich bestellter Übersetzer?
There is no difference. The terms allgemein ermächtigter Übersetzer (authorised translator), beeidigter/vereidigter Übersetzer (sworn translator) or öffentlich bestellter Übersetzer (publicly appointed translator) simply mean that a translator is court-approved. The title depends on the federal state in which the translator obtains official approval from the court. Only court-approved translators may provide certified translations (beglaubigte Übersetzungen). The translator must meet special requirements and prove certain qualifications in order to become a court-approved translator.
Yes. Certified translations from an authorised (ermächtigt), publicly appointed (öffentlich bestellt) or sworn (vereidigt/beeidigt) translator in Germany are recognised throughout the whole country. The place of authorisation is irrelevant. You do not have to live in Berlin or Hildesheim to hire me.
Although my certified translations are accepted in many countries you should consult the competent authority abroad as to whether they have special requirements regarding the translation.
Usually, it is enough to send me a complete copy of the document as a photo or scan by email and to then present the competent authority with the original document together with the translation. I attach the copy of the source text to the translation, so that the original and copy can be compared with each other. In rare cases, the competent authority insists on a translation based on the original. If you show me the original document, I would be happy to note in the Translator’s Declaration that I was presented with the original.
No, that is unfortunately not possible. You can have copies certified in the Bürgeramt (Citizens’ Registration Office), town hall, by municipal administrations, courts or notaries (depending on the type of document). You can find additional information for Berlin in the Service Portal for the City of Berlin or on similar citizens’ portals for your place of residence. If you require several copies of a certified translation, it would be best to disclose this directly in your request so that I can send you several copies straight away.