Global Talent Visa for Arts & Culture: How to find a certified translator

Photo by Francesca Tirico on Unsplash

If you are applying for a UK Global Talent Visa, you may find that you need to include translations of some of your evidence. The Arts Council requests that if any pieces of evidence are in another language, they must include a full translation from a certified translator. But what does this mean, and how do you find a certified translator?

  1. What is the Global Talent Visa?
  2. Certified translations
  3. Finding a qualified translator
  4. I can help!

What is the Global Talent Visa?

The Global Talent Visa is an immigration category where “talented and promising” individuals in specific sectors can apply to work in the UK. Now that the UK has left the EU, all EEA nationals and EU citizens now also need a visa to live and work in the UK.

If you are applying for a visa because you want to work within the arts & culture sector, Arts Council England (ACE) has some additional information about what disciplines are included and the eligibility requirements. But there is one section that might trip you up: on the ACE website, it says that if your evidence is not in English, it “must be accompanied by a full translation from a certified translator.”

I have already explained in another blog post that this is a bit of a misnomer: as the translation industry is unregulated in the UK, we do not have certified translators. There isn’t a national certification or qualification that we all have to take, so translators can have very varied qualifications (or none at all!).

This might sound worrying – how can you be sure that you’re even getting a legitimate translation? Well, we can create certified translations.

Certified translations

In line with the UK government website, the following is needed in order to certify a translation.

If you need to certify a translation of a document that’s not written in English or Welsh, ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the translation:

  • that it’s a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
  • the date of the translation
  • the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company

But does that mean that anyone can translate your visa evidence? To double-check, I reached out to the Arts Council to find out what they are looking for when they receive translated evidence.

Here’s what they said (I have redacted the representative’s name):

“Hello Natalie,

Thank you for your email. We need translations to made by a professional, qualified or accredited translators [sic], but they must ‘certify’ the translation – so to do this the translator must attest that the translation is a true, complete and accurate translation of the original document and provide details of what makes them qualified to make this statement – so for example, each page of the translation should be stamped by the translator and they must provide their registered address (if it’s from a translation organisation), or details of their qualifications (if from an individual).

This is to stop/deter people from submitting search engine translations or personal translations, where the translation cannot be verified as being accurate and true.

Hope this helps”

So, the Arts Council is following the same advice as on the government website – they just got their wording a little unclear. But I had more questions – I don’t know many self-employed translators who own a stamp, and in all the years that I have provided translations for many passport and visa applications, I have never needed to print off, stamp or sign the translations.

I wrote back and attached my own declaration: it includes the wording as set out on the government website, proof of my Chartered Institute of Linguists membership (membership number), my post-nominal letters (BA (Hons), MA, MCIL, CL) and my contact details. Would this be sufficient for them, even if I don’t have a stamp?

They replied (quite quickly, to be fair):

“The certification doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a stamp. If the certification attached attests that the translation is a true, complete and accurate translation of the original document, provides details of what qualifies you to make this statement and provides your registered address (if it’s from a translation organisation), or details of your qualifications (if you’re an individual translator) then we can accept this.”

Finding a qualified translator

So, as long as your translator has some credentials, they can translate and certify your documents. And as long as they include the certification wording detailed on the UK Government website, then the translation should be accepted.

To be on the safe side, I would recommend using either a translation company registered with the Association of Translation Companies, or an individual translator who is registered with a professional association, such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation or Interpreting. This will give you a little peace of mind as the translators will have proven that they take their profession seriously, hold a translation qualification or diploma, and have a certain amount of professional translation experience.

I hope this helps if you are in the process of applying for a visa, or even if you’re a translator translating application evidence. For further information, check out my other blog posts The myth of sworn translators in the UK and Certified Translations for UK authorities: Frequently Asked Questions.

I can help!

As a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, I can certainly help you if you need a certified translation.  You’re welcome to contact me if you need a translation from French or Spanish into English – but if you need another language combination, I may be able to recommend an equally experienced translator to you.

Please note that the above information mostly relates to applying for a Global Talent Visa in the arts & culture sector and should not be relied upon as a legal opinion. If it contradicts instructions that you have received from an authority, then you should of course follow those first. I am not in a position to give individual advice or support in your personal visa application.

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