Certified translations using qualified, registered translation professionals
ITI, ATC and CIOL recommend qualified, registered translation professionals and companies for certified translations.
When public authorities need a certified translation of a document that is not in English, it is important to choose a qualified, registered translator or translation company. This expectation is clearly set out by the Government in Certifying a document.
Public authorities can reduce the risk of error or omission by only using a translator or translation company with a clear affiliation to a recognised professional body or association such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), Association of Translation Companies (ATC) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL).
ITI, ATC and CIOL maintain easily accessed public registers of accredited companies and translators:
As per government guidance the translation document is best annotated or accompanied by a certificate with at least the following information:
- The translation is ‘a true and accurate translation of the original document’
- The date of the translation
- The name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company
Businesses, public service and UK Government agencies can take confidence in the quality assurance processes of ATC member companies, and in the accreditation processes for experienced professional translator members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (MITI, FITI and Corporate LSP members) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (MCIL and FCIL). All three organisations endorse each other’s guidance for certifying a translation.
Background for Members
If you translate official documents for use by the UK’s public sector, Government agencies or for businesses in the UK, you will know that there are differences in the expectations and requirements for certified translations.
There are also differences in how certified translations are produced, laid out, and certified by translators and translation companies in the UK. In Europe and around the world practice varies greatly with most countries having clearer standards and more requirements than in the UK. The UK is unusually deregulated by international standards.
These variations can cause confusion and delays in translation and certification processes, and can make it challenging for translators and translation companies to confidently provide a service that they know will be accepted by the receiving organisation.
What can we do?
Three leading UK associations have joined together to work on harmonising expectations for certified translations.
The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) have come together to promote the accredited, experienced professional translator members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (MITI, FITI and Corporate LSP members), the Chartered Institute of Linguists (MCIL and FCIL) and the use of ATC member companies. All three organisations will endorse each other’s members and each other’s guidance for certifying a translation.
CIOL Chief Executive John Worne comments, “The diverging practices stem from the fact that, unlike in many other countries, no sworn or state-authorised system for certifying translations exists in the UK – and this landscape is unlikely to change. Working together with the ITI and the ATC, we will promote the use of properly qualified and accredited professional translators and quality assured translation companies, for the benefit of both the users and producers of these translations.”
ITI Chief Executive Paul Wilson adds, “Our members regularly report on issues with authorities whose requirements on producing certified translations can vary greatly. Through this initiative, we will guide public authorities towards qualified and accredited members and partners who can provide a true, complete and accurate certified translation.
ATC CEO Raisa McNab welcomes the collaboration, “Uncertainty serves no one. No one benefits from translations carried out by a next door neighbour who has an A level in French. Our aim is to ensure that certified translations in the UK are produced by suitably qualified, registered translators and reputable translation companies, and we look forward to working with the ITI and the CIOL on this initiative.”
What Members can do
Members can help in promoting the use of qualified, accredited translators and translation companies in the UK is hugely important. In your dealings with clients, public sector authorities, UK Government agencies, and businesses, keep an eye out for divergent practices.
Refer people to this joint position from the ITI, ATC and CIOL and advise them of the benefit and reduced risk in using people and organisations with proven translation credentials.