How to Translate Birth Certificates

Written by cindy chung
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How to Translate Birth Certificates
It is a good idea to translate your birth certificate if you are travelling or immigrating to another country. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Many individuals use their birth certificates as proof of identity or eligibility for government services. For example, U.S. immigrant visa applicants must submit their birth certificates to the consulate or embassy processing their visas. Applicants for state driver's licenses can use their birth certificates as a primary form of identification. When the birth certificate uses a language other than English, government agencies and other institutions usually require a certified translation of the document. Individuals can ask another person or hire a translation service, as long as the translating party meets the receiving agency's requirements to produce an acceptable certified translation.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Use an original copy of the birth certificate as the basis for the translated version. Create a new document adhering to the same format used in the original birth certificate, so that a reviewer can easily compare the two versions. Provide an English equivalent for each word or phrase used in the birth certificate, taking care to preserve the meaning of the original language as accurately as possible. Take extra care with the individual's birth name, date of birth, place of birth, both parents' names and the issuing agency's official seal when translating for immigration purposes, as U.S. immigrant visa applicants must establish this information.

  2. 2

    Write a translator's statement confirming the accuracy of the translated version as compared to the original birth certificate. The translator must state that she is competent to translate fluently between the relevant foreign language and English.

  3. 3

    Number each page if necessary. Include the translator's name, contact information and translation date. Print the completed translation on the translator's official letterhead.

  4. 4

    Follow local procedures to sign the document in front of a notary, if required by the agency or institution receiving the birth certificate. For example, Utah only accepts notarised translations of foreign birth certificates for identification card applications, while Michigan does not require notarization. Sign and date the prepared document as instructed by the notary to result in a certified translation.

Tips and warnings

  • Ask the consulate or embassy of the country issuing the birth certificate to assist with the translation or to recommend a translator. Follow any specific requirements imposed by the agency or institution requesting the birth certificate. Submit the original document and certified translation together, when required.
  • Do not create a certified translation of your own birth certificate; instead, another individual or a certified translation service should complete the task.

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