How to obtain a certified translation in France ? | Keith Elliott

How to obtain a certified translation in France ?

A certified translation can be obtain in many ways, but before you read further and if you are very new to certified translation here’s an article about how certified translation services work in France.

The traditionnal way would be to go to your local Town Hall or District Court. Though the former may maintain a copy of the official list, and the latter most certainly will. Sworn translators can be found in telephone directories of course, and you can access an individual sworn translator or agency web-sites, leaving your personal details and in some case a quote may be obtained.

However if you prefer getting into contact with him or her directly, simply look up the certified translator closest to you on the official Court of Appeal web-site. You will usually find a land-line number and a mobile-phone number, and in many cases an e-mail address. Any discussion from then on depends entirely upon your needs, his availability and work-load, as well as the fee and turnaround time.

The following is essential to appreciate. If you have contacted a certified translator, then you require a certified/sworn translation. You may scan the document to him if that should be particularly urgent. But he or she cannot hand over the certified translation of that document without seeing, checking, and legalising the document which was scanned and sent electronically in the first place. This is why living close to a certified translator may prove to be an advantage. Though the French postal service is reliable, many people do not like sending, say their mother’s fifty year old birth certificate, in the post. They generally prefer to come to the translator’s office on a set day and time so that he can then verify that the document he has been translating is indeed genuine and that it is indeed the one he has been working from, before he hands over his certified translation, and certifying the source document itself, as his official capacity obliges him to do. If distance is an issue however, and should you opt for dispatch by post, make sure that you do so by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt. That extra five Euros cost will guarantee confirmation of its safe arrival and remove stress from the process. The certified translator will then be able to legalise the source document in the way elucidated in the paragraph “what makes a translation certified?” before returning both the source and the target documents, again by registered post with acknowledgement of receipt.

There is a third way. Obtaining a ‘certified true copy’ of a document used to be possible by simply going to your local Town Hall and requesting one, which would be stamped and dated by the Mayor or deputy Mayor, thus alleviating the need of sending off an original source document. However changes have come in, and it is best to ask your Town Hall directly about accessing that service. Though it is not compulsory to provide a certified copy of a document coming from a French administration when approaching another French administration, some documents in a foreign language may still apply for official duplication. That application may be submitted to your local Town Hall or the Prefecture. In both cases, a fee will not charged.

Embassies and consulates may offer a translation service. Contact details may be obtained on line or in telephone directories. The certificating consular official will then sign date and stamp both the source and the translated documents and in this way vouch for the genuineness of the translator and his signature. This form of certified translation bearing an apostil may be particularly appropriate for documents which have to go through the Home Office or the “Ministère de l’Intérieur”. The same may apply to documents transiting the Foreign Office or the “Ministère des Affaires étrangères”, such as those related to overseas adoption application.

Keep learning more about Certified translations in France.

Certified translator, English / French, Charente

Keith Elliott ©2019
Certified translator, English / French, Charente