Certified translations and other intricacies of document authentication

Series on immigration documents in the Czech Republic (1)

Legalization, superlegalization, apostilles, authentication… How is one supposed to understand all this? Let’s figure it out together in the upcoming series on the form of documents required for immigration to the Czech Republic.

In the Czech Republic, the official language is Czech. Therefore, official documents submitted to the Czech authorities must be in this language. The minor and only exception is Slovak. But what to do if we hold a document in our hands that is not in Czech or Slovak?

The option of translation is available. Beware, however, that official documents bearing signatures or even stamps should be handled by a professional, i.e. a court-appointed interpreter. A list of such translators is easy to find online. We recommend this procedure to all those who submit their documents to the authorities, particularly to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic – Department of Foreigners.

Among such documents that undergo official translation are those that foreigners provide in their applications. The most frequently encountered are translations of birth or marriage certificates, university and secondary school diplomas, as well as employment contracts.

How much does it cost to translate documents into Czech?

The preparation of a certified translation is not a cheap affair and prices vary according to the language combinations, but also the specialisation of the text, with a difference of several hundred crowns per standard page. Be sure to be careful when calculating the final price. You will rarely come across a 100% accurate estimate, given that legal translations are most often calculated on the basis of the number of resulting standard pages.

What’s a standard page? A normative page (“normostrana” or NS) is a standardized page that contains 1800 characters. It is a fair and universally used tool for calculating the “real” volume of text. Thus, a client cannot simply enter a text with the smallest possible font to ensure the lowest possible price, nor can a translator simply enlarge the font in the editor to collect a higher amount.

Applying for a Czech visa and worried about not submitting your application correctly? Let us check your documents first to save you time and money.

A Czech interpreter can help you communicate with the authorities

It is also worth mentioning the important function of certified interpreters. These professionals are most often used in official communication between the authorities and courts on the one hand, and the foreigner on the other. Interpreters are neutral and guarantee flawless interpretation. In the context of immigration procedure, a court-appointed interpreter can be encountered during an interview with the immigration police when applying for family reunification with a European Union citizen, and in everyday life, for example, during a final driving test.

Make certified copies of your documents

Once we have a certified (official) translation, we can proceed to the authorities. In most cases, our documents will not be returned, so it is advisable to go to a notary with all the documents and ask for certified copies, which will have the same weight as the original documents. If you come across the term “certified signature” (“ověřený podpis”), you can also look for notaries or branches marked with the blue “Czech POINT” sign. We will take a closer look at certified copies in the next article.

With this, we are done with the certified translations and interpretation, and we will complete the certified copies and signatures next time. But what do you do if the documents are made in a country subject to the Hague Apostille Convention or even have to go through the super-legalization process? We’ll address that in our series on authentication as well. Don’t miss the next episodes.

If you are having trouble finding a translator with the right language combination, or if you would simply like to entrust your work to professionals who will ensure the final quality, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to help you sort out the translation and verification for you.