We cannot emphasize the importance of your immigration documents enough. It is the difference between successful and unsuccessful immigration to Canada. Everything from your passport to your other pieces of identification needs to be in order. You probably know this already.
But, what if your country issues documents in your native language? What if your passport and medical reports are in Filipino, Hindi, or Arabic? Will it hinder your applications for a visa, permanent residency, or citizenship?
This is where document translation comes in. French and English are the two official languages in Canada. For this reason, documents need to be translated in either French or English.
What is Document Translation?
For non-English and non-French documents, the IRCC requires applicants to get their immigration documents translated. In Canada, document translation is the translation of all supporting documents into either English or French.
Besides being in Canada’s official languages, translated documents need to be accurate. They must also be accompanied by an affidavit. This is given by the certified translator of the supporting documents. Also, applicants need to present both the original and translated copy of documents.
The most obvious reason is comprehensibility. The people reading your documents need to understand the contents. They will not be able to do this for documents not written in English or French.
Who Can Translate Documents?
The only authorized people to translate documents are certified translators. A certified translator is not just a person who knows English or French. He or she is must be certified by the Canadian Translators, Terminologists, and Interpreters Council, or CTTIC. This is a person who completed the tests given by the CTTIC. Of late, there have been many private translation companies inside Canada. The IRCC requires these firms to have CTTIC-certified translators for immigration documents.
They need to be members of the translation associations of their provinces as well. Every province in Canada has an association for translators. They are the only people who can give English or French translation to documents in Canada. Below are these associations by province:
- Alberta: ATIA
- British Columbia: STIBC
- Manitoba: ATIM
- New Brunswick: CTINB
- Newfoundland and Labrador: CTTIC
- Northwest Territories: CTTIC
- Nova Scotia: ATINE
- Nunavut: CTTIC
- Ontario: ATIO
- Prince Edward Island: CTTIC
- Quebec: OTTIAQ
- Saskatchewan: ATIS
***Important: English or French translation by translators in the above associations do not need to provide an affidavit.
However, CTTIC-certified translators may not be available in your home country. In these instances, some translators could translate and certify any original document of yours. But, the translated documents need to be accompanied by an affidavit. This affidavit must come from a notary public or lawyer. IRCC allows this through countries with consular missions with Canada.
Where Can I Translate Documents for Canadian Immigration?
Again, only a translator from any of the translation associations in the earlier section could provide translations. The English or French translations of documents could be used for permanent residence and citizenship applications. So, in Canada, you could get your documents translated in the country.
But, you may be living outside Canada. In this situation, you could get the services of a translator in your native country. You will have to ask translators a few questions though. First, you need to ask if they have provided similar translations of documents. This way, you would know about their experience in the task. Another thing you need to ask is their legal network. In other words, you need to ask if they know a notary or lawyer. As mentioned earlier, document translations outside Canada are acceptable to the IRCC. But, they need to be accompanied by an affidavit that says:
- The document is accurately translated.
- The translator belongs to a recognized translation association in the country
- The contents of the translation are the same as the original.
- A notary or lawyer was present and acknowledges the translation
So, to summarize, translations could be done in and out of Canada. For people in Canada, English or French translation services are available from a CTTIC-certified translator. Outside Canada, translations of any original document should be accompanied by an affidavit from a notary or lawyer.
Can I Translate My Documents?
Maybe you are a person who completed a French course. Perhaps, you scored 12 in your last CELPIP test. Maybe, recently, you took the IELTS and got an overall band score of 9.0! With these skills, translations to English or French shouldn’t be a problem. So, could you just translate your documents?
If you have read the earlier sections, you would already know the answer to this question. And, the answer is no. No member of your family can translate your documents for you either.
To reiterate, only certified translators in Canada could translate immigration and citizenship documents. Outside the country, only certified translators can provide a certified translation of documents. Also, the translation must come with the original document and an affidavit from a notary public or lawyer. These are the guidelines of Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada or IRCC.
True, the process might take some time on your part. Nevertheless, hiring a certified translator for original documents would be the best idea anyway. Probably the most convincing reason is the accuracy of a certified translation. Remember, certified translators are not just skilled in English or French. They have also completed courses and tests specifically for the translation of original papers in different languages. For this reason, any certified translation of immigration paperwork is always going to be more accurate.
Another reason is related to the authentication and legalization process. To put it simply, a certified translation of an original document helps IRCC and Global Affairs Canada determine if the document is real or misleading. Furthermore, a certified translation helps IRCC process your citizenship application later on.
How Much Does Certified Translation Cost?
Fees for certified translation are usually charged based on two things: page number or word. In other words, some companies and firms charge by the page. Others charge by the letter. For example, in Toronto, some agencies charge $50.00 for the first page and less for succeeding pages. For other translation agencies, they charge 10 to 20 cents per word.
As you might have imagined, the better option would depend on the length and number of documents.
Please, do not make the mistake of not having a certified translation for your immigration documents. Get your documents translated. And, if you live outside Canada, get them notarized and sealed.
You will be doing the boys and girls at the IRCC office a favor. Most importantly, you will be doing yourself one too. Submit your original documents to a professional translator, and watch the fast movement of your application in Canada.