Translation of official documents, such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, and similar, requires a lot of precision. These translations will be used as official documents in foreign countries, therefore they also have to meet the requirements of the specific country for which they are intended.

A certified translation is done by a certified translator, who completes the document with his/her statement and signature, guaranteeing that the translation matches the original perfectly. Confirmation of the authenticity of the signature is done with Apostille, which is printed, fixed, or attached to the document.

What Is Apostille?

Many of you have probably not heard of Apostille yet. It is some sort of stamp that has been used to certify or legalise public documents since 5 October 1961, when the Hague Convention was signed. With the help of Apostille, the legalisation of official documents became much simpler.

By signing the Convention, the signatory states agreed that in order to legalise a foreign document, it will be enough to certify it by a stamp called Apostille directly in the state, where the original document was issued. This significantly shortens the process of legalisation of official documents, but it is still necessary to make sure to meet the requirements of individual countries.

Which Documents Must Have an Apostille Stamp?

The Apostille stamp is used for all official documents issued by various authorities of a state, confirming the authenticity of the stamp and signature of the official person on the document, but not its contents.

For which official documents do you need an Apostille stamp?

  • documents issued by bodies and employees of the state judiciary court offices, the public prosecutor’s office, and court enforcement officers;
  • administrative documents issued and notarized by public notaries;
  • official notes on entries in public books;
  • official signature authorizations on private documents (judgements, birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, certificates of citizenship, diplomas, transcripts…)

Who Can Issue an Apostille?

When you need an Apostille, you must contact the competent district courts or the Ministry of Justice. There, they will confirm the authenticity of the signature of the judge, notary, court interpreter, or other signatories of the document.

There is one important difference to pay attention to. The signature of a notary can only be certified by the district court that has the jurisdiction in the place where the notary is based, while the signature of a court interpreter can only be certified by the Ministry of Justice.

Apostille for Court Translation

When you need a certification of a court translation, you need to be aware that this is a very precise procedure that can only be done by professional translators, called court interpreters. But before you bring your document for translation, you need to find out if your document needs to be certified with an Apostille.

If you find that you need an Apostille on a court translation, you must first certify the original document with the court that issued the document. Only then a court interpreter can translate the document and the Apostille stamp for you at the same time.

The Authentication Requirements Depend on the State and Institution

Not all the countries have the same certification requirements, so it is necessary to have detailed and confirmed information about them before you have the document translated. In some countries the Apostille stamp must be on both documents – on the original and also on the translation. In this case, the Apostille is placed on the original,  consequently the court interpreter translates the document and the Apostille. Then he places the Apostille on the translation.

The requirements differ depending on the specific institutions. Therefore, it is necessary to find out in advance whether you need an Apostille certification only on the original, on the translation, or both.