You are applying to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for a permanent Resident Card, a brand new passport or citizenship. Gathering all the documents and filling out all the forms is already a very daunting enterprise. In addition, you need some of your personal documents translated and you are not sure where you can find a qualified translator. What about affidavits and certified copies?
I prepared this quick guide to help you understand terms and requirements.
Let's "translate" some terms first.
Translators and Certified Translators
A while back I wrote a post explaining what a certified translator is. Please click here to read it. In the same post you will find direct links to several associations of translators and interpreters in Canada.
Some translation associations have Associate and Certified members. At the time of writing this article, only Passport Canada required translations done by Certified Translators; therefore, translations of documents for citizenship and permanent resident card applications can also be prepared by Associate Translators or individuals fluent in both official and unofficial languages. Always check the list of requirements with the department to which you are submitting your application.
According to CIC:
Important information: Translations must not be done by the applicants themselves or by members of the applicant’s family. Family member is defined as being a: parent, guardian, sibling, spouse, common-law partner, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew and first cousin.
Note: You may want to have the translation done by a certified translator in order to avoid paying a commissioner of oaths or a notary public in addition to the translator. A certified translator should attach to the translation their declaration containing full name, contact information, language pair, membership number, date and signature (click here to view a sample).
What is an affidavit?
An affidavit is a document on which the translator has sworn, in the presence of a commissioner* authorized to administer oaths in the place where the affidavit is sworn, that the contents of the translation are a true translation and representation of the contents of the original document.
Let's unpack this. The translator prepares a declaration (click here to view a sample) and takes it along with the translation and the original document to a commissioner of oaths or notary public. Then they verify the identity of the translator and take the translator's oath who swears that contents of the translation are an exact translation of the original document. The commissioner of oaths or notary public signs and seals the declaration, the translation, and the original document. And the affidavit is done!
*In Canada an affidavit must be sworn in the presence of:
The translator translating the documents usually takes care of making the appointment with the notary public or commissioner of oaths.
What is a Notary Public or a Commissioner of Oaths?
In Canada, a commissioner for oaths is an individual who can administer oaths and take affidavits and declarations.
A notary is similar to a commissioner for oaths. But in addition of being able to administer oaths, take affidavits, and declarations, a notary public can also attest or certify documents.
What is a certified copy?
A Certified Copy is an exact copy (usually a photocopy) of the original document with the signature of a Notary Public on the document as well as the date and the seal to certify that they have seen the original.
Authority to certify varies by province and territory. It is important that you consult your local provincial or territorial authorities to find who is authorized to "certify" copies.
Note: In Alberta and according to the current Notaries and Commissioners Act, only a Notary Public is authorized to certify copies. Beware of (translation) agencies claiming that their commissioner of oaths can seal and sign the copy.
Now, let's have a look at the list of requirements.
Always check the list of requirements with the department to which you are submitting your application.
1. You are applying for a permanent Resident Card
Any document that is not in English or French must be accompanied by:
*Remember: If the translation is not provided by a member in good standing of a provincial or territorial organization of translators and interpreters in Canada, the translation must be accompanied by an affidavit swearing to the accuracy of the translation and the language proficiency of the translator.
2. You are applying for a brand new passport
All documents submitted as part of a passport application need to be submitted in either English or French.
Passport Canada accepts translations that were produced by a certified translator whose certification can be confirmed by a stamp or membership number* with a professional translation association "Should the accuracy of the translation appear suspect, the Passport Program reserves the right to request a retranslation" (click here for website).
*This means that you should ask the translator to include in their declaration their membership number or their stamp, and the name of the professional translation organization.
3. You are applying for Canadian citizenship
Any document that is not in English or French must be accompanied by:
Please remember that the list of requirements can change at any time. I strongly advise you to always check with the department or agency to which you are submitting your application.
A lot of information to digest, right? However, I hope that by clarifying some terms (that we do not use on a daily basis) you will feel more at ease navigating the process of compiling your application either for a brand new passport, a permanent resident card or becoming a Canadian citizen.
Disclaimer. The material contained in this article is information provided for informative purposes only. Although the information contained in this blog post is believed to be accurate and informative, Patricia B. McGrory and PMG Language Services make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information contained herein or as to its suitability for the purpose for which you may wish to rely on it. As well, over time, some of the information contained herein may become outdated. Any reliance on this blog post shall be at your own risk. Patricia B. McGrory and PMG Language Services assume no responsibility for any liability which is in any way associated with this blog post.
In the publishing world, editing, copy editing and proofreading have very specific meanings. Since these processes are very well defined, an editor receiving a request from a publishing or communications company to edit or copy edit a text knows exactly what is expected. The publishing or communications company often "speaks" the same language as the editor.
Unfortunately, it is not always the case in the translation world (at least in my experience). Certainly, many translation agencies and translators understand the difference between revision, proofreading, and review, but many others do not. In many opportunities I received requests to "proofread" a translation; however, after a few questions, what the translation agency, an inexperienced translator or a client requires is a revision of an already translated text. Since my intention is to keep this article short and to the point, I am providing a quick guide to understand the services I perform when I put my bilingual editor hat on: revision, review and proofreading.
Revision is the process of comparing the translated text against the original one. This is what I call a bilingual editing. There are many ways to proceed with a revision, but a revision always involves three operations: examining the target text, comparing the source text and the target text, and recommending changes. First, I read the source text to understand the document as a whole and identify tone and audience, for example, and then, I compare the two texts side by side. The purpose is to look for mechanical and linguistic errors, such as omissions, mistranslations, punctuation, excess verbiage, etc., making sure that nothing has been left out, the translation flows smoothly, and the text is appropriate to the audience. As you can imagine, this is a time consuming process that takes several stages. It also adds to the cost of the project.
When I produce a translation, I always self-revise the final product; it is also called "check". My approach is to leave the translation for a while and come back to revise it with "fresh eyes". I have also developed my own revision process in which, for example, I identify recurring typos that a spellchecker will not correct, e.g. form instead of from, or gatos (cats) instead of gastos (expenses). Depending on the client's needs and what/how the translation will be used for, I send my translations to be revised by a third-party.
Review is what I call a monolingual editing. In this case, I only work with the translated text and, if needed, I consult the source text if I cannot understand the translation or I suspect omissions or inconsistencies. During the review process, I check grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style; I check for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts. I make sure that the text flows and that the translation does not read as a translation. This process takes less time than a revision because I do not spend time going back and forth between two documents.
In my lexicon, proofreading is a very specific task. I subscribe to the definition used by the Editor's Association of Canada: reading proofs of edited manuscripts. This is also a monolingual task. When I work with a colleague on a project and we revise each other's work, proofreading is the final stage of the revision/review process. I make sure that all approved changes have been incorporated in the final product and the translation is ready for publishing.
According to the ISO 17100 on quality standards for translation services, it is required to involve a reviser other than the translator to revise a translation. However, in my opinion and when cost is a concern, a self-revision done by a translator who is experienced, meticulous, and competent will suffice; in particular when the translator has been trained in the techniques of editing and copy editing (as I have).
When the project involves translating websites, marketing materials and articles to be published, a revision by a third party can be quite beneficial, since a "second pair" of eyes can find minor spelling mistakes or missing punctuation marks.
The role of the reviser or editor is to improve the translation by identifying mechanical and linguistic problems, and resolve them. However, "judging" a translation by imposing one's own writing style or changing words because of preference is not revising or reviewing. When returning corrections to an author or translator, it is recommended to "propose" changes and support them with evidence; this approach allows the author or translator to learn from his or her mistake or to explain the reasons behind certain choices he or she made.
What about rates and cost of revision and review? It depends on the professional. In my case, my rate is per hour because a translation done by another translator whom I do not know professionally is like a box of chocolates, you never know "what you're going to get".
Patricia enjoys reading and sharing articles related to translation, linguistics, interpretation, and anything that may be valuable to her clients and colleagues.