Certified Translations for UK authorities: Frequently Asked Questions

French Dictionary with legal document 2.1

Getting a certified translation of a personal document such as a birth or marriage certificate can seem like a minefield – and if you’re applying for a UK visa or passport, you want to get it right first time to avoid wasting time or money.

But there is surprisingly little information online about what your translated document should include, how it should look, and what kinds of things are acceptable. You may receive some information with your application, but the most helpful official information can only be found on these two web pages.

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3 translations into English that have suffered translation loss

Translations into English translation loss - cover

Humanity has been translating words from one language into another for thousands of years – from inscriptions in stone to religious texts, from books to films, and even songs.

But as any translator will tell you, sometimes it’s just impossible to copy everything into another language and expect it to have the same effect; some real creativity and ingenuity is needed to adapt the text to the new audience. Occasionally, the best solution is to leave some aspects behind in the original language, omitting certain parts in order for it to make sense – and be well received – in the new language. This is called translation loss.

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What to do if you’re not happy with a translation you’ve commissioned

You may not have to throw away your translation

On my blog, I like to talk about how to get the best possible translation for your money and reach the happiest ending for either you or your business – but unfortunately, sometimes things may not go as planned, either for the translator or for the person requesting the translation. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never received questions about a translation I’ve done – although thankfully, these have never been full-on complaints, just clarifications 😉

Still, if you’ve hired a translator to translate your website or business documents, but something feels a bit off…how do you fix it?

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Got a bilingual colleague? Don’t use them for business translations

Bilingual employee translating company documents

In my previous job, there was a Dutch guy and a French woman (and me) and we were always called upon to do quick translations for our teams. The company we worked for was in that funny position where there wasn’t enough demand for there to be a full-time in-house translator, but the need for small or urgent translations still arose from time to time – for things like invoice queries, training materials, and certain emails.

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The myth of sworn translators in the UK

Certified Translation

Whenever someone asks me if I’m a sworn translator, or I get a request asking if I can do a certified translation, I find myself launching into a long-winded explanation about what this actually means – which is probably a bit alarming for those who were expecting a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

I decided to write a bit more about this, because the idea of sworn translators is a misconception that continues to circulate around the UK. They sound cool, and they definitely sound like a legitimate example of a translator – after all, swearing is as official as you can get!

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3 challenges of translating tourism content

Tourism Translation

I wrote a guest blog post for the translation technology company SDL about the challenges of translating tourism content.

Although translating texts for the tourism industry can be very interesting, there is a lot more work to it than meets the eye, and it’s certainly not something that should be rushed – or left to chance.

Read an excerpt from my blog post below, and read the full article here.

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Why this “good enough” translation is not fit for purpose

 

Many translators would agree that there are two ways to translate something. While some of our clients appreciate that translations take time, require creativity and expertise, and may not word-for-word look like the original text, other clients may prefer a literal translation to be on the safe side, or may say something along the lines of “it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect” or “as long as people can understand what it says”.

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Fiverr: Do you get what you pay for? (Part 1)

jar of pennies

Last month, a friend of mine wanted a translation from English into Spanish, Italian and German, and while I recommended some of my trusted colleagues to her, she had mentioned that someone in her office had suggested they use Fiverr.

I shared my horror with my colleague and friend, Hannah Keet, and we bemoaned the fact that people seem to expect quality professional work, but are only willing to pay peanuts – but for peanuts, the quality will surely not be great. That’s when Hannah had the idea: why don’t we test this theory for ourselves through a “mystery shopping” exercise?

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