Use Certified Translators to Immigrate to Canada

Applying for a visa or permanent residence in Canada can be a daunting process, especially when your application requires that your supporting documents be officially translated into either of Canada’s official languages, English or French. There used to be some confusion on who exactly could translate your documents, but some recent updates to IRCC’s requirements for translations have finally cleared the air and spelled out the different scenarios and steps applicants need to take to translate their immigration papers.

What Is a Certified Translation?
Let’s start with the main update: only certified translators can produce certified translations. IRCC has clarified the definition of a certified translator, probably your best ally in the application process.

“A certified translator is a member in good standing whose certification can be confirmed by a seal or stamp that shows the translator’s membership number of a professional translation association in Canada or abroad.”

Certified translators belong to industry associations, whose mission is to protect the public and maintain and uphold the professional standards of the profession.  They do this by certifying translators and interpreters and providing ethical guidance and professional development

In Canada, the only associations of certified translators are the provincial associations, overseen federally by CTTIC. In Alberta, certified translators must be members of ATIA, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta. All Canadian provinces have their own certifying body; CTTIC lists them all here.

Not living in Canada? No problem! IRCC will accept translations by officially accredited translators in your country, or you can still use the services of a Canada-based certified translator. Your translator can provide an electronic copy of your documents to be uploaded to IRCC’s system, no matter where you are.

How Do I Know if a Translator Is Certified?
You will occasionally see the title “certified translator” being applied loosely to aspiring translators who are still in the process of becoming certified or hold a certificate from an organization that is different from the provincial associations. IRCC clarified that these translators can’t produce certified translations, and your documents may be rejected.

Certified translators are easily recognizable by their membership number, which you can find on their seal or stamp. The translator will apply their seal and number to the declaration of translation, which accompanies your original document and its translation. With this declaration, you have the guarantee that your translator has competently translated the document and is responsible and liable for the accuracy of its contents.

What If I Can’t Find a Certified Translator in My Language Combination?
You can get a notarized translation, but only when no certified translators are available. This process adds a few steps and hoops, but it will eventually get the job done. In this case, a non-certified translator can be used as long as their translation is accompanied by an affidavit issued by a notary public or commissioner of oaths.

To issue an affidavit, the translator has to swear to the accuracy of the translation and to their proficiency in the source language and the target language in front of the commissioner. Usually, this step involves an additional cost to the applicant as the translator has to rely on a third party to complete the translation job.

The situation becomes more complicated if you are applying from outside Canada, as the commissioner in your country will have to be competent in either English or French. Additionally, all stamps that are not in English or French must be translated as well, adding to the number of documents to be translated.

Regardless of the situation, your translation can never be done by a family member, your immigration consultant, or yourself (or your good friend who spent six months in Spain and now says they are fluent Spanish speakers and translators!). This applies even when a family member is a translator, including a certified one. To ensure impartiality, the same goes for affidavits. IRCC identifies a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first cousin as family members.

Certified Translators Are a One-Stop Shop
After considering all the different cases, choosing a certified translator is definitely the quickest way to get a translation certified. The whole process is entirely handled between you and the translator without third parties, additional services, or extra waiting times.

“As always, trusting a certified professional in their field pays off.”

Certified translators remain your best solution for quick, reliable, hassle-free certified translations. Their certified status guarantees that their skills and experience have been vetted by the provincial certifying body, they stay up to date with the latest developments in the industry by furthering their professional development every year, and that they go about their practice while adhering to firm ethical standards meant to protect their clients’ interests.




Francesco Sframeli

Business Development and Marketing Assistant

Francesco is an Italian translator and interpreter. He holds a master’s degree in translation and interpreting from the University of Trieste, in Italy, with a focus on legal translation and court interpreting. After moving to Canada in 2017, he became interested in business development, marketing, and international trade. Working for our offices in Calgary and Edmonton, Francesco’s goal is to support WWB in its climb to become a leader in translation and interpreting services by attracting fresh linguistic talent and growing its reach in North America and the global market.

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