How to Do Birth Certificate Translations

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Your birth certificate is an important document that authorities use to establish your identity, so it is imperative that any translation into English meet the required standards as set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure compliance with the law. Translators often work in tandem with interpreters, but, according to Lorena Terando, who completed a study for a graduate certificate review at the University of Wisconsin, few interpreters are certified and may not even be professionally trained.


After you have meticulously translated the document into English, add your name and address at the bottom of the form declaring that you are non-partisan and that you have sufficient knowledge of both English and the language from which you are translating. Corroborate its accuracy; then sign it in the presence of a notary public, who will validate the signature. Attach the certified translation to the original birth certificate and submit it to the appropriate agency.


If you use an interpreter for the transliteration of the document, he must swear that he is competent and that he interpreted the document to the best of his ability. You should know how to reach the interpreter in the event a hearing ensues and his testimony is required. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that a translator is credentialed by a specific agency, such as the American Translators Association, the United States government or a foreign consulate or court. He must submit a Certificate of Translation, which is a formal document that demonstrates that he has accurately translated a foreign-language document into English.


Submit the original translation of the birth certificate to the USCIS. Every word must be carefully translated from the document into English. The parents' and child’s names, as well as the date and place of birth on the birth certificate, must mirror those on the application. This critical step can eliminate problems that might arise in the regulatory process. A translated birth certificate is required for you to obtain a passport, an international adoption, admittance to an American university and immigration to the United States. If you make a mistake on the translation, it can present a serious inconvenience and, sometimes, a denial of the request.

Professional Service

If you choose to use a professional translation service, ensure that it is certified by the USCIS. It should guarantee the birth certificate will be accepted by the USCIS and that your document is sent securely to the appropriate agency. These services usually provide a notary to facilitate the process. The Department of Social and Health Services has a code of professional conduct to which translators and interpreters must adhere. In addition to being accurate and culturally sensitive, they must also be trustworthy and proficient.


About the Author

In 1968 Lillian Wade began teaching English with writing as an essential component, overseeing class newspaper projects each year. Wade holds a Bachelor of Science in business education with a minor in English from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Science in career education from California State University.

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