For the preparation of certified translations of academic diplomas and transcripts, the translator is legally required to prepare a word-for-word translation with no interpretation and no evaluation. A translation is not an explanation or evaluation; rather it is an accurate rendering, into a different language, of what the document actually says.
Degrees in various countries have different names than in the United States. Unless the translation is a direct translation, for example "Master" = "Master" we have to leave the degree name in the origin language. For example, a French university degree entitled "Licence" can only be directly translated as "License" in English. This is, of course, an accurate translation, but does not convey the appropriate degree. Therefore, we leave the French word "Licence" in the translation.
A certified translation is distinct from credential evaluation. An evaluation explains the meaning of the academic document. Specifically, it explains a student’s academic performance in terms of an education system and grading system other than the one where he or she originally went to school. There are companies specifically licensed to provide credentials evaluation.
Those seeking an evaluation of academic records that are transcribed in a language other than English must first have those documents translated by a professional and impartial translator.
Here are some suggestions to go by:
Find out which types of academic documents are needed: diplomas, certificates, exam results, course records, transcripts or course descriptions your chosen colleges, universities require. Then, find a credential evaluation company that can meet your requirements, and what requirements they have for translation.
There are "brick and mortar" and "internet" translation companies. Each type offers advantages and disadvantages. As an internet company only, USCTS is able to offer more competitive pricing and provide rapid turnaround on most projects. Do your homework though, and don't just go for the advertised cheapest price or the fastest. A reputable, professional translation company will have been in business for a number of years, be a member of professional associations (American Translators Association, etc.), be licensed, have a professional, well-operating website, have a working telephone number, and a rock-solid guarantee policy! A good, professional translation company will review your documents to determine how much time and effort it will take and then provide you with a comprehensive quote. Then the company will spend the amount of time it takes to prepare the translation. When the translation is ready, it will review it with you and answer and questions you might have, and then prepare a beautiful, well-formatted perfect translation.
Your translation will only be as good as the documents you submit. If your documents are unclear because of age or smudging, then your translation may be incomplete. The translation company cannot guess or use your input to complete the translation. If the document cannot be read, the translation will be incomplete.
Often academic transcripts are full of jargon or acronyms. While translators are professionals, they cannot be expected to know every acronym or abbreviation. So, if you have a lot of acronyms or abbreviations on your documents, provide a list in advance to assist the translator.
Providing the translator with documentation about the meaning of uncommon words or phrases will result in the most accurate translation possible.
Reference materials are not personal notes on how you want the translation to read, but objective third-party sources such as published dictionaries, glossaries or an academic institution’s published course catalog.
Review the confirmation copy of the translation very carefully, remembering that the company is legally required to prepare a word-for-word translation with no interpretation and no evaluation. We value your input, and we want to make sure that you are happy with the translation. However, you have to always remember that we are not preparing the translation for you. We are preparing the translation for the educational institution or credentials evaluation company.
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