Certified Affidavit Translation

First of all, what is an affidavit, and what is it used for?

Affidavits are statements of fact that have been signed and sworn. These documents are essential for various court proceedings, including trials.

Here are a few basic characteristics of affidavits:

  • Attorneys are generally responsible for writing affidavits in the U.S. court system;
  • Affidavits contain a list of numbered claims pertaining to a court case, which can have a profound effect on people’s lives.


Certified Affidavit Translation

Since the United States has undoubtedly lived up to its reputation of being a “great melting pot,” not everyone in the country has mastered the English language yet. Even if they speak and write English relatively well, they may not be especially comfortable with courtroom testimony.

So, anyone being asked to sign a court document such as an affidavit, attesting to important facts that will be considered in court, may need an affidavit translation into their native language. No one wants to sign anything when they are not entirely sure of what the statement means.

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The best process for a certified affidavit translation

  • An attorney drafts an affidavit in English.
  • The affidavit is submitted to experienced professional legal translators for translation into the native language of the affiant (person who will be signing the affidavit, therefore attesting to its truthfulness).
  • Upon completion of the affidavit translation, the translators submit it to the drafting attorney for review by that attorney and the affiant. Assuming that the affiant’s command of English is very limited, the translators will also supply the attorney and affiant with an interpreter. The affiant will then review the affidavit for translation and mark it up with any corrections. Communication is key here. The interpreter also bears the responsibility for reviewing the affidavit translation with both the affiant and attorney to make sure that they are both on the same page regarding the claims in the affidavit.
  • Once the affiant has marked any necessary corrections in the affidavit, the translators will then make the corrections in the affiant’s native language. Then they will translate the corrected document back into English so the attorney can easily read and understand any changes made to his original affidavit.
  • The attorney then reviews the changes and makes any other changes he or she deems necessary.
  • When the translation process is considered complete and accurate, the affiant signs the document in his or her native language. Then, the translator must provide a certified translation accompanied by an attestation by the legal translator. Naturally, the court will require both the English and the certified affidavit translation.


As with any other legal document, the job of the legal translator is to ensure that the original language of the affidavit and the affidavit translation express the exact same claims. The translator must use a traditional legal format and legal vocabulary to maintain consistency and avoid any confusion.

Differences in languages and cultures can result in the words being used in the original draft document and the translated version not having an exactly similar meaning. Court proceedings take words seriously, and the outcome of any court case relies heavily on an accurate portrayal of the issues at hand. Therefore, the importance of the translator and interpreter using correct language and accurately portraying the overall tone of the affidavit cannot be stressed enough.

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What qualifies a translator as a professional legal translator?

The importance of painstakingly accurate translations when court proceedings are involved make translators, who have met rigorous standards such as certification by one or more of three internationally recognized translation organizations, an absolute must.

  • Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI)

This organization serves as an interface between industry, commerce, media, and government as well as the general public. Members of ITI must uphold the ITI Code of Professional Conduct. It is headquartered in London, England.

  • American Translators Association (ATA)

The ATA certification is recognized as “the industry’s most respected and recognized credentials.” Its three-hour credentialing exam is no cakewalk. Translators seeking this certification will be expected to demonstrate comprehension of the source-language text; write fluently and accurately in their target language, and demonstrate command of standard translation techniques. The organization maintains an office in Alexandria, Virginia.

  • National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT)

The certification exam for NAJIT was created by members of the translation profession who possess the federal certification credential as interpreters. This organization has a Bench and Bar Committee with the stated goal of “[improving] the relationship between interpreters and members of the bench and bar.” NAJIT is located in Atlanta, Georgia.