English and German certified UK translations of official documents
You may need certified translations of official documents if you have lived abroad for any time.
You may have birth, marriage or divorce certificates in German that you now need to present in an English translation. Maybe you studied, worked or simply lived in a German-speaking country such as Austria, Switzerland or Germany. As a result, you now have qualifications and/or references written in German and your prospective employers in the UK have asked you for a certified translation.
Another reason for needing certified translations: you may be planning to emigrate and therefore need documents in English or German. These documents usually need to be translated by a qualified translator who is a member of a professional language institute and who can certify the accuracy of their translation.
I provide certified UK translations of official documents such as:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Divorce certificates
- Death certificates
- Change of name certificates
- No impediment to marriage certificates
- Police clearance certificates
- Bank statements
- Tax statements
- Tax demands
- Custody accounts
- Pay slips
- Insurance confirmation
- Policy documents
- Mortgage agreements
- Insurance statements
- Exam certificates
- Diploma certificates
- Employers’ references
- Official registry office certificates
- Military service certificates
- Court documents
- Other legal, insurance or medical documents
- Covid test reports
- Covid antibody test reports
- Certificates of conformity
For the majority of these translations, a certificate of accuracy provided by the translator will suffice. In some cases, however, a solicitor must legalise a translation by witnessing the translator’s signature on the translation and certification page. Occasionally, authorities request notarised translations.
For UK customers I offer certified translations of official documents from German to English.
For people moving to the UK, the British government’s website gov.uk contains reliable in-depth information about certified translations for various purposes. If you are still in doubt, ring up the immigration authorities, your local registrar or ask your employer or university or any other authority you’re dealing with.
Certified translations tailor-made for you
I offer certified German into English translations. Notarised translations and translations countersigned by a solicitor are also available.
- I am qualified and experienced and a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
- Speak to me directly to discuss your needs.
- Receive a free quote by mail or telephone.
- Fast turn-around, without compromises on quality.
- Certified German-English UK translations to submit to the Home Office, NARIC, academic institutions, courts of law, consulates and employers
- Serving business clients as well as private clients
- I take pride in a reliable service with a personal approach.
- Simply send me your document to receive a quote asap.
- For a step-by-step Iolante guide to the certified UK translation process, please scroll down the page
- 1st class postage is part of the service.
Please note that translators are not permitted to certify translations done by third parties. I cannot certify translations you have created.
Types of documents for which you may need certified UK translation services
- Documents for use in a court of law
- Bank statements
- Curriculum Vitae
- School certificates/reports, diplomas and other academic qualifications
- Birth, death and marriage certificates
- Divorce decrees
- Medical reports
- Documents needed for immigration purposes
- No claims discount certificates
- Police certificates, DBS certificates (formerly CRB)
- And any other document an agency may require from you
Do you need a certificate of accuracy when getting married abroad?
Living in Germany, Austria or Switzerland you may consider getting married abroad. Maybe you live in the UK but wish for a romantic wedding in Austria? In that case, you may need a translator to render documents like birth certificates or divorce papers, into English or German. What is more, you may need to submit a certified translation to the registry office in question.
Not all Austrian register offices accept certified translations from German translators in the UK. Please check with the local registrar.
Many registry offices in the UK produce leaflets explaining the process of preparing for a wedding. What is more, they will usually provide them, free of charge, to couples planning a wedding. For Scotland, for example, the General Registrar for Scotland’s website is a source offering very detailed information. However, if living in England or Wales, the gov.uk website is most informative for the relevant procedures on how to marry abroad.
Certificate of No Impediment
If you are getting married abroad or if one of the two people planning a wedding is a foreigner in the country of their proposed marriage, you may need a Certificate of No Impediment (CONI).
You must obtain this certificate in the country whose nationality you hold. Ask the registrar at the relevant office whether you need a Certificate of No Impediment. They should also know how to obtain one. Furthermore, they are likely to know the costs involved. Last but not least they can tell you whether you need further documents, e.g. birth certificate and divorce certificate, if previously married.
Notarisation of a translated document’s certificate of accuracy
Some authorities in the UK and in German-speaking countries in Europe insist on a notarised/sworn translation. In the UK there are no “sworn translators” as such, i.e. translators sworn to a specific court and appointed by them as “officially recognised” translators. The only way to obtain a notarised English translation in the UK is for a translator to prepare the translation and a certificate of accuracy. On visiting a notary public, the notary will certify (witness) the translator’s signature on the certificate of accuracy after having checked his credentials and seen proof of their identity.
For further information on certification issues, please visit the Iolante pages on the certification process in the UK, Germany and Austria specifically. A certified translation intended for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must contain information on the translator’s competence, accuracy of the translation, the translator’s name, signature, address and date of certification.
The UK is a country governed by common law. Therefore, the concept of “publicly sworn and appointed translators” does not apply. If you need a sworn translation your translator needs to translate the document in question and then see a notary public. The notary will check the translator’s passport and qualifications. After that, the translator swears an oath that they carried out the translation to the best of their ability and that it is a true and faithful rendering of the original. The notary witnesses this oath and certifies the translator’s signature on the certificate of accuracy.
A sworn translation verifies the identity of the translator and their qualifications. However, it does not guarantee the quality of the translation. By taking the oath the translator becomes accountable for their translation.
Publicly appointed and sworn translators abroad
In contrast to the UK, countries like Germany and Austria with a civil law system have publicly appointed and sworn translators. Here, translators have to fulfill a number of criteria and can then be sworn in at the court of the district they are resident in. This then entitles them to supply certified translations in their registered language pairs to any German authority. Please visit our pages which deal with country-specific certification rules to find out which rules apply in the UK, Germany and Austria.
The UK certification process
1 Choosing the right translator for the job in hand
Which type of certification do you need?
Clients are often uncertain whether they need a certified, notarised or sworn translation of an official document for use in the UK or whether an “ordinary” translation will do. The answer to this question must be sought from the authority asking you for the translation. They are the ones to decide what kind of translation and which level of certification are acceptable.
Self-certified UK translations may be carried out by translators who are members of a professional body such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the ITI. Membership entitles a translator to certify their own translations. I have been a member of the CIoL since 1992.
In which country should a certified translation originate?
Please note that UK certified, notarised or sworn translations of official documents will be acceptable to UK authorities. As a rule, it is best to have a certified translation done in the country for which you need them. However, some employers, government agencies or authorities accept translations from the country in which the documents originated. Please check with the respective authority if they accept a certified German translation from a translator in Britain.
2 Obtaining a quote
1. Provide the translator with a copy of your document
For a precise quote, a translator needs to see the document(s) that you want them to translate. In the UK there is usually no need to send the original document to the translator. However, you will need to send the original to the relevant authorities with your certified translation.
2. Understand your quote
How does a translator arrive at a price for a certified translation in the UK?
Apart from the obvious time needed to carry out a translation, there are many hidden aspects to certified translations. Many of these mean that the translator spends longer on a certified translation than they would on a similar translation which does not need certification. What is more, there are extra costs.
- The necessity for membership of professional bodies and/or exam fees
- 100% accuracy (to transcribe dates, names, numbers etc.) requires extra diligence which requires extra time
- Time-consuming formatting issues
- When documents have features such as stamps and signatures, they are non-machine-readable. This, in turn, makes them more labour intensive (CAT tools not usable)
- The need to provide hard copies to clients and not just sending off an email
- Visit to a notary public for a sworn/notarised translations
- Visit to the post office for special delivery/signed for
On top of these costs, translators may also incur disbursements. These costs paid out on behalf of the client will always be clearly shown in a quote and on the invoice.
3 Agreeing on job specifications
The deadline needs to allow time for the translation, the certification process and the posting time. For a notarised translation, you need to allow time to visit the notary (they may not be available every day).
2 Type of certification needed
You need to specify whether you require a certified, notarised or sworn translation.
3 Additional copies of certified translations
Authorities may not return the certified documents you send to them. You may need more copies of the same in future. Ask your translator to send you more than one copy. This tends to come at a relatively low cost to you.
4 Completing the translation process
Once the translator has translated your document(s), they will email them to you, so you can check that they are correct. (Please be aware that translators have to translate what’s written in the document. They cannot “correct” errors made by registrars.)
Once you ok the proof and the invoice has been paid, the translator will certify the translation in whatever way you agreed upon in advance. Since the start of Covid-19, more and more authorities have been requesting pdf scans of certified translations rather than hard copies. However, strictly speaking, only the hard copies with the original signature are a legal document. You should always keep your hard copies, even if the person who has requested the translation is currently happy with a scan alone. The rules may change again in the future.
3 Who can provide certified translations in the UK?
The 2 professional bodies for translators and interpreters in the UK are the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL) https://www.ciol.org.uk/ and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) https://www.iti.org.uk/. Both have strict admission criteria, a code of conduct and disciplinary procedures in case of complaints. Full members of these organisations can provide certified translations in the UK.
The Home Office mentions the CIoL and ITI as reputable bodies: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-documents
The DPSI (Diploma in Public Service Interpreting) is an interpreting qualification (with some translation elements) (https://www.ciol.org.uk/ciol-diploma-public-service-interpreting-dpsi).
The term “translator” is not protected in the UK, anybody in the UK can go and have a stamp made that says “certified translator” which has no legal standing whatsoever.
“Erika has helped me greatly when I needed a certified translation of my employment contract at short notice. Erika’s professionalism and the quality of her translations are second to none. She is also a pleasure to communicate with, always responding swiftly and patiently answering all my questions. She was transparent about time scales and costs from the beginning and has really exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend her translation services to anyone looking for a great service for a fair price.”
“Erika was incredibly professional and a joy to work with. She completed my certified translations for the Home Office very quickly and communicated clearly throughout the process. I highly recommend her services.”
“I cannot thank you enough, you are an absolute star, many many thanks, wow that’s the first time I’ve smiled in a week. I feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted off me, thank you so very much, that is amazing thank you. I was expecting a very long drawn out process to get a certified copy from Amtsgericht Celle but you’ve made that a whole lot easier many thanks.”
Phil Martin needed a certified copy of a divorce certificate from the respective German county court.
“I was very pleased with your translation service! The emails or messages have been answered almost instantly and the translation was received quickly as well. Very nice and helpful contact. I can definitely recommend your service to anyone! Thank you very much.”
Certified translation of birth certificate and police clearance certificate.