The most effective way to translate official documents is by hiring a professional translator and having the translation notarized, but it is not legally required in most instances. Translated documents to be submitted in the United States need to feature an affidavit of translation that attests to the document's accuracy.
A translated official document needs to come with an attestation certifying that the translator is competent and fluent in both the translation languages in order to be valid under United States law. The translator can place this signed attestation at the end of the document or on an attached affidavit.
The law prohibits beneficiaries of translated documents from performing their own translations, even if they are fluent in both of the languages required. Additional regulation requires that documents meant for submission outside the United States, such as to a foreign consulate or embassy, must be notarized to be accepted.
Anyone who is competent to perform a translation can do so, but must produce a translated document that matches the visual format of the original, including all signatures, seals, stamps and dashes contained therein. The translator must declare illegible any wording or writing that is ambiguous or otherwise unclear.
The affidavit of accuracy for a translated document must contain specific wording that attests to the accuracy of the translated document as well as the name and address of the translator.