Apostille Translation Tips from a Legal Translator
As a well-known legal translation service, we at often get questions from clients, whether they are individuals, small law firms, or major multinational businesses. One of the most common questions we receive when working with multinationals who do considerable business overseas is how to certify vital documents with Apostille, and whether that Apostille also needs to be translated.
Accordingly, we will take this opportunity to answer those questions. To give you a short answer to both questions – whether to use Apostille in the first place, and whether it needs to be translated – the answer is, in the old legal tradition, it depends.
In this blog, we will first define what Apostille is, and then we will cover when it should be used and whether it must be translated. Of course, if you need specific certified document translation, we welcome you to attach your document for an estimate from our website at www.translationforlawyers.com.
What Is Apostille?
Apostille is a type of certificate. It is specifically used by countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention called “Abolishing the Requirement of Consular Legalization for Foreign Public Documents of 1961.” Under that Convention, countries that are members agree to allow for the exchange and verification of documents, including Apostille. Thus, Apostille is an international certification of a notarized document in the countries that participate in the Hague Convention.
Do Certified Translations Need to be Apostilled?
Not always. If you are translating and notarizing a particular document in the United States that is meant to be used in a foreign country, and that country is a participant of the Hague Convention, then you need the Apostille.
However, you do not need Apostille if the destination country is not a member of the Hague Convention. Rather, with a non-member country, you would need to engage with the Secretary of State in that destination country to find out how to have your translated, notarized document recognized.
How Do You Get Apostille?
The process for getting the Apostille varies depending upon the State in which you reside. In general, however, you would either mail the document you need certified by Apostille to the Secretary of State in your State, or visit the Secretary of State’s office in person to receive the necessary Apostille authentication.
Do You Need to Translate the Apostille?
Under the rules of the Hague Convention, the answer would be no. However, being technically correct does not always take care of the situation. Normally, having (i) the relevant documents translated into the destination country’s language, (ii) the certification of translation translated into the destination language, (iii) the documents notarized in English, and (iv) Apostille from the Secretary of State in English should be enough to satisfy the Hague Convention. In other words, the notarization should certify the documents, and the Apostille makes that notarization internationally recognized.
However, you may still need to be ready for push back. We have seen in practice a lot of smaller agencies in destination countries either apply the Apostille process incorrectly or being unaware of Apostille. A number of our clients, before they came to us, had documents rejected by the destination country because there was English text in the documents. Because the Apostille was not translated, the destination country would not accept it because not everything was translated.
To avoid that problem, you would be wise to translate the Apostille. However, the next question becomes, don’t you need to notarize the translation of the Apostille? The answer is generally no. Provided that your packet of documents contains notarized and certified translations that should be sufficient to have your documents accepted.
In sum, you need Apostille if you are looking to have a certified document translation recognized in member countries that have signed on to the Hague Convention. For non-member countries, you would need to learn the rules of the destination country from that particular country’s Secretary of State. Also, you technically do not need to translate Apostille for a member country; yet, you may need to be prepared for a member country that does not follow the Hague Convention rules to the letter. To be safe, have that Apostille translated just in case.
How a Legal Translator Can Help with an Apostille Translation
Our legal document translation service has a vast amount of experience with Apostille and translating documents to be used in foreign countries. So, you should get a seasoned legal translator to help you with Apostille.
For help with the translation of contracts, academic documents, and other legal materials, you need look no further. We at All Language Alliance, Inc. provide the reliable service you need to get accurate, professional certified translations done right the first time. Email our Apostille translation service today.
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