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Certified Translation vs. Regular Translation: 12 Differences for USCIS

When dealing with documents for immigration purposes, accuracy and compliance are of utmost importance. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires certain documents to be translated for various immigration processes. However, not all translations are created equal. The 12 key differences between regular and certified translations for USCIS and why choosing the right type of translation matters.

Certified Translation for USCIS: What You Need to Know

Certified translations are a specific category recognized by USCIS. These translations are required for documents written in languages other than English to ensure they are accurate, complete, and legally valid.

Certification by a Qualified Translator

  • A proficient source and target language translator must perform certified translations.
  • The translator must include a signed statement attesting to the translation’s accuracy and qualifications.

USCIS Acceptance

  • USCIS accepts certified translations as accurate representations of the original documents.
  • USCIS requires certified translations for birth certificates, marriage certificates, and academic transcripts.

Format and Layout Preservation

  • Certified translations should maintain the format and layout of the original document as closely as possible.
  • This includes replicating seals, signatures, and any special formatting.

Legal Affirmation

  • A certified translation affirms that the translation accurately represents the original document.
  • It carries the translator’s responsibility to ensure its accuracy.

Official Certification Statement

  • A certified translation includes an official statement signed by the translator or translation company, affirming its accuracy and completeness.
  • The statement typically includes the translator’s contact information for verification.

Notarization

  • While notarization is not always required for certified translations, some documents may benefit.
  • Some USCIS offices may request notarization to further verify the translation’s authenticity.

Regular Translation: When Is It Appropriate?

On the other hand, regular translations do not carry the same level of certification and may not meet USCIS requirements for certain documents. They are suitable for general informational purposes but may not be accepted by USCIS for immigration-related documents.

No Official Certification

  • Regular translations do not have an official certification statement.
  • They are not considered legally binding for USCIS purposes.

May Alter Formatting

  • Regular translations may not necessarily preserve the formatting and layout of the original document.
  • They focus primarily on translating the content accurately.

Suitable for Informal Use

  • Regular translations are suitable for personal use, such as understanding the content of a foreign-language document.
  • They may be used for non-official purposes.

When to Choose Certified Translation for USCIS

Now that we understand the differences between certified and regular translations, it’s essential to know when to opt for a certified translation for USCIS submissions.

USCIS Requirements

  • If USCIS specifically requests a certified translation for a document, it is imperative to comply with this requirement.
  • Failure to do so may result in delays or denials of your immigration application.

Legal Documents

  • Documents considered legal or official, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and police records, should always be translated and certified.
  • These documents hold significant weight in immigration proceedings.

Academic Transcripts

  • Academic transcripts and diplomas are often required for immigration purposes, and USCIS typically requests certified translations for these documents.
  • This ensures that the educational qualifications are accurately represented.

When to Choose Certified Translation for USCIS

Explore situations where opting for a certified translation is essential to meet USCIS requirements and ensure the accuracy and legality of your documents.

  • USCIS Requirements

USCIS has specific requirements for translating documents submitted as part of immigration applications. If USCIS explicitly requests a certified translation for a particular document, it is imperative to comply with this requirement. Failure to do so can result in delays or even denials of your immigration application. Therefore, always follow USCIS guidelines and provide certified translations when requested.

  • Legal Documents

Certain documents are considered legal or official, and USCIS places significant importance on their accuracy and validity. These documents include but are not limited to birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, police records, and court orders. Given their legal significance, these documents should always be translated and certified. This ensures that the information within them is accurately represented and legally valid for immigration purposes.

  • Academic Transcripts

Academic transcripts and diplomas play a crucial role in immigration proceedings, especially for individuals pursuing educational opportunities or seeking employment in the United States. USCIS typically requests certified translations for academic documents to verify the educational qualifications of applicants accurately. Certified translations of academic records help establish the legitimacy and equivalence of foreign educational achievements.

Conclusion 

Understanding the differences between certified and regular translations for USCIS is crucial when dealing with immigration-related documents. For documents that USCIS requires, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and academic transcripts, opting for a certified translation is necessary and ensures compliance with USCIS standards.

When certified translations for USCIS, precision, professionalism, and adherence to USCIS guidelines are paramount. For high-quality certified document translation services that meet USCIS requirements, consider partnering with The Spanish Group. Don’t let translation discrepancies hinder your immigration process. Choose certified translation for USCIS submissions to ensure that your documents are accurately represented and accepted by USCIS.

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