Can I get a translation Notarized Online?

What makes a translation valid?

How can I assure that the translation I have paid for is true and correct? When working with a translation company -- or any sort of professional company, for that matter -- the client expects that the completed work received will be of a certain standard and will be acceptable for its intended purpose.

In many countries, official translations used for government business are regulated by what is known as a “sworn translator”, which is a language professional who has taken a test held by the government on his translation knowledge. Assuming the translator passes the test, he will be enrolled in a government list of accredited translators and be given a stamp and unique identification number. Every time the translator completes a translation, he will stamp it, which serves as a seal of quality, stating that the translation has been done by a competent and authorized translator.

Certified translations

Conversely, in the United States, the concept of a “sworn translator” does not exist. Rather, US government institutions request that translations submitted be a “certified translation”. To make a translation certified, the translation itself is performed by a professional translator or translation company, and includes a “Letter of Certification”, stating that the document has been translated by someone competent in both the target and source languages, and affirms that the content of the translation is true to the original. The translator himself or authorized representative of the translation company then signs the document, which makes it valid for official use.

In some instances, a simple signature is not sufficient, and a notarization of the “Letter of Certification” is required. It is important to understand that, in the US legal system, a notarization does not authenticate the validity of the content of the document being signed, rather that the person signing is who he states to be. It is another step in safeguarding the quality of the translation, because the onus of the translation’s quality is directed to the person signing, who swears that the translation is true and correct before the notary.

Online notarizations

For years, the traditional way of getting something notarized was by physically going to any number of places where a commissioned notary worked -- banks, law firms, etc. -- and signing the documents in person. That process changed drastically in 2011, when Virginia's Governor signed House Bill 2318/Senate Bill 827 into law. This was the first bill in the country to allow commissioned remote notaries to notarize documents online, via audio-video technology, for signers across the country.

This was a great leap forward, as people needing notarized documents no longer had to wait in line and physically appear before a notary public. The technology became unexpectedly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many physical offices were closed to clients.

How does the online notarization process for translations work?

There are currently several companies offering remote online notary services, such as Florida Document Specialists. A prospective client can visit their website to schedule an appointment at the time of day that suits them best. On the Florida Document Specialists website, the client uploads the translated documents along with the Certificate of Translation provided by Idiomatic Translations, which is to be signed by the notary public. Following a quick identification verification, the client joins a video call with the notary public, where both parties state to be as they say to be, and digitally sign the documents. Upon completion, the client receives the notarized documents via email.

It’s worthwhile mentioning that, although remote online notary services such as Florida Document Specialists are registered notaries public in the State of Florida, their online notarization is valid in all 50 states, and can even be used for obtaining Apostilles, which requires prior notarization.

Do you need notarized translations for the United States or abroad? If so, Idiomatic Translations can help. Please visit our website for a free quotation here.

notarized translations