As a translator, you may be asked to supply a certified translation. Unlike many other European countries, the UK does not have a system of ‘sworn’ or ‘certified’ translators accredited by a particular body. Translations required for official purposes, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, legal documents, academic transcripts etc can, however, be ‘self-certified’ by any practising translator, including CIOL members and Chartered Linguists. See the UK government's guidelines on certifying a document here. However, guidelines frequently stipulate that a "certified translation" should be done by a member of a professional body, such as CIOL.
Whilst certification doesn’t in itself guarantee the quality of a translation, it does serve to identify you, the translator, and your credentials and makes you accountable for your work. In addition, the reference to qualified membership of a professional body indicates a certain level of professionalism. Where possible, you should check with the organisaion requesting a certified translation exactly what its requirements are.
How to self-certify translations
We have provided a self-certified translation statement template and suggest here how you can provide a self-certified translation as a CIOL member and/or Chartered Linguist:
- Download the self-certified translation statement template and adapt as necessary – the light text in italics is where you enter your own details;
- Member logo: download your member logo via My CIOL if you would like to add this to your statement, along with your unique CIOL link, which is ciol.org.uk/[your 5-digit membership number]. If you are a Chartered Linguist, you may also wish to commission a stamp or seal.
A self-certified translation should ideally only ever be sent by hard copy. The reason for this is to avoid the possibility of the translation being used on its own, or being affixed to a different source text for fraudulent purposes. A self-certified translation should, therefore, be affixed firmly to the source text - either by using rivets, or by folding the top left hand corner over, stapling it and stamping the back. Either variant will ensure that it is not possible to remove and/or replace individual pages of the translation or the source text. Obviously a copy may be sent by electronic means, but that will not normally qualify as a certified translation in its own right.
Source and target text should be affixed to each other and the self-certification statement.