What is the difference between certified and regular translations?

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Certified translations concern mainly official, procedural and tax documents and only certified translators can execute them. Are you wondering, what the difference between certified and regular translations is? You do not know whether a regular translation is enough for you or if a certified translation is necessary? The answers to these questions can be found in today’s article.

Who is a certified translator?

Translation from one language to another may relate to important documents such as birth certificate, car purchase agreement or school leaving certificate, as well as literary texts, brochures, private correspondence or various operating instructions and regulations. In some cases, you may need to use the services of a certified translator, i.e. a specialist with the necessary permissions, certifying these translation with a seal.

An ordinary translator must have good language skills and have the ability to use it both in writing and in speech to perform his or her duties. To be able to provide authenticated translation services commonly called certified, you must not only know a foreign language perfectly, but also:

  • demonstrate good command of Polish,
  • have at least a master’s degree or equivalent title,
  • be a citizen of Poland, another EU member state, EEA country or another country on a reciprocal basis,
  • have full legal capacity,
  • not be punished for an intentional crime, tax offense or for an unintentional crime against the security of business transactions,

• pass a certified translator exam

Certified and regular translations

In terms of content, certified and regular translations do not differ in any way. In both cases, the translation from one language to another should be done professionally – i.e. correctly in terms of grammar, style and language. The main difference is the legal consequences between the two types of documents.

A certified translation must meet a number of requirements, and the materials developed by the translator take the official form. In order for this to happen, the printout with the ready translation should include the seal and signature of the translator, and must also bear a certifying clause. Certified translation can be in both paper and electronic form. In digital translations, the certification has the form of a qualified electronic signature. A certified translator, by certifying the document, takes full responsibility for the translation. If the customer suffers losses due to incorrect translation, he/she has the right to take legal action and claim damages. The work – that is the rights and obligations – of certified translators are regulated by the Act on the profession of a certified translator.

Definitely smaller demands are placed on specialists in regular translations, and they are contractual in nature. Anyone who has completed a philological degree and has the appropriate language skills can become a translator. Regular translations can be both in hardcopy and in electronic form and never contain the seal, signature or other credentials of the translator.

When is a certified translation required?

You should use the services of a qualified specialist if the subject of the translation is official, or bank documentation, medical letters, as well as commercial agreements, documents confirming employment, documents required during registration of an imported vehicle and certificates regarding marital status and personal data. The submission of a birth certificate, marriage certificate or purchase or sale contract to institutions such as an office or bank requires compliance with certain standards.

Using a professional translator who certifies the translation protects your interests. As already mentioned, if you suffer losses due to incorrect translation, you can claim damages. The legal consequences for a certified translator who has done an unreliable job do not end only with the payment of compensation, but also carry the risk of losing the right to practice.

When is regular translation enough?

If the subject of the translation is books, brochures, private or business correspondence, websites, advertising materials or manuals, you can use the services of a regular translator. These documents do not require preservation of the official form of translation, there are no specific requirements for them. When looking for a translator, however, consider the opinions of satisfied customers. Not every person offering translation services guarantees appropriate quality of their services. When looking for a reliable and responsible specialist, it is best to take into account the insights of people who have already used this type of service. The offer of regular translators is so abundant that regardless of whether the search concerns smaller town or larger cities, finding a recognized specialist should not be a problem.

Why certified translations are more expensive than regular translations?

In addition to legal aspects, certified translations also differ from regular translations in terms of price. You must be aware that you will have to pay a bit more for a certified translation service. The differences in price reflect a much higher qualification of certified translators. The responsibility of a qualified specialist for translation and greater formal requirements translate into the higher cost. The reputation of the translator or the office in which he or she works also has an impact on the price of both certified and regular translations.

It is also worth knowing that in the case of certified translations, each started page of translation is billed as full, and in addition a certified translator counts each document separately. Legal regulations regarding rates for certified translations have been included in the Act on the profession of a certified translator and in the Regulation of the Minister of Justice on remuneration for the acts of a certified translator.

Regardless of whether your documents require regular or certified translation, it is worth looking for a person or a translation agency with an impeccable opinion. The translated text should have exactly the same meaning as the original and should be formatted in accordance with the principles of grammar, style and punctuation.