Certified translations

A translated document that is intended for use by an official body, such as a government agency, a civil-law notary or an insurance company, will often need to be certified by a sworn translator. A certified translation may also be necessary for official documents intended to be used abroad. Official documents range from birth, marriage and death certificates to bills of divorce, diplomas, contracts, court rulings, wills, judicial summons, statutes and extracts from the municipal records or the Chamber of Commerce.

DaVinci Vertalingen is also your first port of call for certified translations. The sworn translator signs and stamps the translated document for the purpose of authentication, and includes a statement affirming that the translation is a faithful and accurate representation of the source document, which has been attached with a ribbon and a seal. This source document (or a legible copy) can be submitted to us by email or post. The translation will always be returned by post: due to their official nature, certified translations cannot be sent by email.

Only sworn translators are legally entitled to translate official documents. In the Netherlands, a translator is required to take an oath in the district court, after which his or her signature is registered with the court (or several courts). In addition, sworn translators are listed in the Register of Sworn Interpreters and Translators (Register voor Beëdigde Tolken en Vertalers).

Certification does not in itself guarantee the quality of a translation! The fact that a translator has sworn an oath does not guarantee the quality of his or her work. Indeed, many excellent translators have chosen not to become sworn translators, because certification is not required in their specialist field. In other words, if you want a high-quality translation, you do not necessarily need a sworn translator.

Legalisation and apostille

If the certified translation is intended for overseas use, it will in many cases require legalisation. This is a protracted and time-consuming affair. The translation produced by a sworn translator must first be verified and approved by the district court, then by the Ministry of Security and Justice in The Hague, then by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which legalises the confirmation of the Ministry of Security and Justice, and finally by the embassy or the consulate of the country for which the translation in question is intended.

More information about legalising official documents can be found on the website of the Government of the Netherlands.

In many cases, the legalisation procedure described above can be shortened and substituted with an apostille. Since1961, ‘The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization for Foreign Public Documents’, commonly known as the Apostille Convention, has been in force. If your certified translation is intended for use in a country that is party to the Apostille Convention, an apostille issued by the district court where the translator’s signature is registered will suffice.

More information about the Apostille Convention can be found on the Conventions site of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.