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Immigration document translation - All you need to know

Immigration represents a significant amount of organisational and administrative tasks. Moving to a new country is exciting but can become a taxing process. You are not just relocating your whole life to another place; it also means having to navigate a mountain of paperwork. Whether you are going for academic reasons, in professional capacity, or for a long or short stay some paperwork will need to be professionally translated to be recognised in your host country. The translation of important immigration documents is a big part of this process because when relocating, having a translation of your immigration documents makes it easier to make initial contacts, especially if the language of the destination country is new to you and not yet well understood.

In this blog we will provide you with the necessary information to guide you through the process of immigration document translation. We will look at what it exactly entails, why you should get your documents translated, who can translate them for you, and costs involved.

  • What is an immigration document translation?

Translation is the process of converting text from one language to another. The translation of an immigration document is the conversion of key documents required for relocation from one language to another.

Immigration document translation entails the thorough and precise translation of legal documents such as ID, birth certificate, marriage certificate or visa by a sworn translator. A sworn translator is a professional translator who has been sworn in by the High Court of South Africa and is able to certify the documents they translate. It is very important to note that sworn translators only certify translations that they perform themselves.

  • Why should you get your immigration document translated?

Countries ask for translated documents should the documents not be in the official language(s) of the country you are immigrating to. This helps to make the immigration process easier and less time consuming. Processing immigration applications can take a long time, and you can avoid potential delays in processing applications by submitting translated documents.
Important documents needed for immigration requires (1) a copy of the original document and (2) a sworn translation of the original document with a translator's certification.

Immigration authorities may not be able to read the original foreign language version of a document, but still have to compare it with similar translated documents from the applicant’s home country. Thereby, your immigration officer can confirm that your documents are real and process your application.

Translation is one of the most important aspects of immigration documentation because it ensures that everything is accurate and appropriate according to local standards. A professional translator will need detailed instructions about what needs translating, as well as associated deadlines for each document type.

Should you decide on not sending translated documents along with your original copies this will cost you time and money. When the immigration authorities receive your documentation without the needed translated copy, you will be requested to do so. In most cases you will have to resubmit your application with the original documents and the corresponding certified translations.

  • What documents may need to be translated for immigration?

When it comes to immigration, there are a lot of documents that may need to be translated for the application process. Some of these documents include birth and marriage certificates, and educational transcripts.

The process of translating all the necessary documents can take time. It is important to plan ahead so that you do not miss any deadlines or incur additional costs when it comes to submitting your application for residency or citizenship in another country.

To specify some examples of documents that require translation needed for the process:

  • Birth certificates

  • Marriage certificates

  • Divorce or death decrees (to prove that any past marriages were legally ended)

  • Police records

  • Medical records

  • Bank statements

  • Academic transcripts

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Employment agreement

  • Passports (passport translation is a relatively unusual request, however passport translations are a requirement to enter some countries)

  • At what stage are translations required when immigrating?

Generally, translations are not needed until the immigrant has all their necessary paperwork in order to move forward with an application for permanent residency or citizenship. Supporting documents including their necessary translations are submitted as part of the initial application process. You may however, have to submit documents at other stages when requested so by the authorities.

  • What is the process of getting your immigration document translated?

The most important step is to first find out from the immigration authorities exactly what you will require for this process. Confirm which documents needs translated versions. Be precise with this as each added document will cost you money. Once this has been established, you will know how many documents requires translations and what the deadline for each is.
Now you can start your search for a qualified translator that best suits your needs. Making use of a translation agency will, in the long run, save you time and money. They have the knowledge and skill to do what you need and will ensure that you get your documents in time. They will also be able to provide much needed customer support and guidance, where necessary. Find out if the agency can translate in your specific language pair and also give them a set timeline.

Luckily for you, you don’t need to look any further. DMME has over 30 languages on offer and provides the services of certified translators. DMME is the agency to contact.

  • Who can translate my immigration documents?

Keep in mind that translating immigration documents is a different process than quickly translating some text for school or work. You will need a sworn translator with the necessary legal qualifications and authority to translate your documents. A sworn translator is a person who has been sworn in at the High Court of South Africa and is a member in good standing of an organisation of professional translators and interpreters.

Failure to submit the relevant sworn translations with your application could result in your application being delayed or denied. Immigration officers will then decide whether the translated texts meet their standards. If the authorities find that the documents are not sufficient, they may ask you to resubmit it with a new translation. This will cost you unnecessary time and money. The best option is to make use of a professional translator to ensure the process goes smoothly.

We would recommend your immigration documents be translated by experienced, knowledgeable professionals. Contact DMME for the best translation services; we offer competitive pricing and speedy turnarounds!

  • How much does it cost to have my immigration document translated?

Cost for translations may vary depending on the location, number of documents, their complexity, language pair, and the deadline. Translators in other countries may vary in cost. Best to check the agency’s reviews on online platforms before you decide on a service provider.  

Most professional translation agencies in South Africa charge between R800 – R1200 for a 2-page document.

We like to provide you with the exact amount. Get a free quote from us today.

  • Common mistakes that people make when translating their own immigration documents.

Numerous times applicants, their spouses, or other family members feel that they are proficient in both languages when translating documents only to find that they might not have the fitting skills and knowledge to successfully convert a document in the correct way.

The first mistake that is often made by someone who has translated their own immigration document themselves is not understanding all of the terminology in a particular field. People will assume what the text might refer to and this causes serious complications. Although it may seem minor at first glance, this could lead to miscommunication and applications being denied. In addition, when you translate your own immigration document it's important to keep in mind what type of audience you're targeting: international audiences may require different terminology than domestic ones.

When translating your own immigration document, it is important to know that the translator needs to have a high degree of linguistic expertise in both languages. Google translate does not qualify as a professional translation. Yes, great technological developments have made machine translation very useful, but not for all circumstances. In many instances machine translation tools are still ineffective. They might be useful translating individual words; however, they fail in converting whole phrases and longer texts. Machine translation tools are not successful in comprehending context. Thus, inserting them into a bigger text, they might not make sense at all.

Remember translated documents must include a certificate from the translator or certified translation service to verify the document’s accuracy. This is absolutely crucial as courts, embassies, and immigration departments will not accept translations that have not been done by a sworn translator.

Many people move to a different country for various reasons. When they do this, the immigration authorities usually require that you have certain documents translated into their native language.

Should you need a translation of an immigration document, DMME is the best place to go. You can trust us with your most important documents because we have been in this business for over 11 years and know exactly what it takes to translate all types of official records from around the world. We offer high-quality translations that are fast and affordable - no matter what your document or subject may be.

Contact us today if you want translations done quickly and accurately by certified translators who are experts in their field!
Read our article for tips on finding a professional document translator here.


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