Certified translation of private documents

Certified translator of English-Spanish and Spanish-English

Certified translation of private documents

Individuals who are physical persons may need certified translations of all types of documents. The commonest are civil, legal, tax, academic, and medical documents.

Civil documents are those that allow you to exercise your rights as citizens of the country in which you live (identity documents and passports; birth, marriage, and death certificates; census certificates; driving licences; etc.). In general, they are usually forms or documents on plastic supports that must be completed by the appropriate public official. If you wish to exercise your rights in a foreign country where a language is used that is different from your own, you may probably need a certified translation of the documents.

Here is an everyday example: a Spanish national who marries a foreign national from a country where the language is not Spanish. The foreign national must provide copies of birth certificates, civil-status certificates, and census certificates; if divorced, the marriage certificate with the entry relating to the divorce and the decree granting the divorce; and if a widow(er), her / his previous marriage certificate and the death certificate relating to the deceased spouse. All the documents listed will require a certified translation.

Legal documents mainly include decisions and rulings (in relation to adoption, divorce, etc.); notarial acts and powers; contracts of employment, lease agreements, etc.; pre-nuptial and divorce agreements; claim forms; and probate documentation.

The commonest tax documents that individuals usually must have translated are income-related documents and tax certificates.

The commonest medical documents include official medical certificates and medical reports relating to injury or illness.

Finally, academic documents form a very broad category of documents that require certified translation. The main reason for that is the international movement of students of various nationalities studying in a foreign country. That requires students to provide their previous educational certificates to the said country, and the subsequent validation of their studies. Furthermore, employment matters can also sometimes require the translation of an academic record as a prior requirement for obtaining a job.

Criminal records

A criminal-record certificate may be required, for example, to apply for a residence or work permit. If you need a Spanish criminal-record certificate to be able to work abroad, it needs to be apostilled or legalised before it is translated [aquí]

Birth certificate

A certified translation of a birth certificate is needed for a range of formalities, e.g. applying for a residence or work permit, a census certificate, or a Foreigner’s Identity Card, to enter into a marriage or to register a child’s birth with the Civil Registry, as well as for formalities relating to international adoption.

Marriage certificate

When a marriage takes place abroad, a certified translation of the certificate is needed for formalities that a couple may have to carry out together or that affect both of them, such as applying for nationality, census registration, registering a child’s birth with the Civil Registry, formalities relating to international adoption, etc.

Death certificates

When death occurs in a foreign country where a language other than Spanish is used, a certified translation of the death certificate is needed to repatriate the body or ashes. If the deceased person was a foreign national, a certified translation is needed for probate if the testator owned assets in her / his country of origin.

Family record book

A certified translation into English of a family record book will be needed if, for example, your under-age children are travelling as unaccompanied minors to an English-speaking country, or if they are going to study abroad.

Census certificate

A certified translation of a census certificate is needed for a range of formalities, such as international adoption, applying for a visa, a residence permit, or a work permit, and exchanging a driving licence. It is also usually necessary in divorce proceedings.

National Identity Document / Passport

A certified translation of an identity document or passport is needed for a range of formalities carried out in a foreign country, such as applying for a work or residence permit or a visa; carrying out commercial transactions; entering into a marriage; being a party to any legal action; etc.

Certificate of identity and civil status

A certified translation of a certificate of identity and civil status is usually required in other countries when a foreign national wishes to enter into a marriage. It may also be necessary when a single-parent family applies for international adoption. Finally, it is usually necessary to collect pensions or grants, or to receive a legacy.

Certificate of single status

A certified translation of a certificate of single status is needed for foreigners to marry in Spain.

Driving licence

A certified translation of a driving licence may be required if hiring a vehicle, to take out car insurance for a foreigner, or in the event of a traffic accident.

Disability card

A certified translation of a disability card is needed to show the degree of disability in a foreign country.


A certified translation of a will and all the related documentation will be needed in the language of each country where the will must have effect. For example, a Spanish national may make a will in Spain, but a certified translation into English of that will is needed if the testator owns assets in any English-speaking country, or if any of the testator’s beneficiaries is English-speaking and must prove her / his inheritance in her / his country of origin.

Notarial documentation

From simple affidavits to deeds of sale of property, taking in general powers of attorney or powers of attorney granted for lawsuits, certified translations of notarial documents are required for them to have effect in a foreign country.

Declarations of income and tax certificates

A great many legal and financial transactions abroad require certified translations of declarations of income or tax certificates. Those transactions include international adoption, obtaining international scholarships or grants, etc.

Medical certificates and reports

Official medical certificates are required in many circumstances, such contracts of employment in another country, international adoption, etc. Medical reports are often connected with the details of a claim for injury or illness.

Legal documentation

From notice of claim to final judgement, taking in expert evidence, various legal decisions, provisional rulings, etc., certified translations are also needed of legal documentation in proceedings heard abroad or to which one of the parties is a foreigner. One of the commonest examples is divorce petitions.


In general, a certified translation of a contract is needed if the language of one of the parties or the language of a country where the contract must have effect is different from the language of the contract.

Academic documents

Certified translators often have to translate academic documentation. That is the case for qualifications and transcripts that institutions require as a preliminary requirement for enrolling foreign students on their courses as well as for qualifications obtained so that they can be validated in the country of origin; all the documents listed require certified translations. It is also very common to produce certified translations of certificates giving the level of English. Similarly, certified translations are also needed of academic documentation provided by people who obtain jobs abroad.

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