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Should I have my documents translated before or after you notarise my documents?

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In short, it depends.

Please check the specific requirements of the intended destination country or ask your lawyer in the intended destination country. Otherwise, we recommend translating your documents only AFTER they have been notarised and you should translate them once they arrive in the intended destination country.

Australia issues documents in English

Documents from Australia are usually in English because English is the official language in Australia. This means that if you’re sending Australian documents to a country where English isn’t the official language, you’ll probably need to translate your documents from English into the official language of that intended destination country.

So when should you translate your document and who should translate your document?

Translating before notarisation

If your documents must be translated from English into another language, ask your lawyer in the intended destination country whether your documents must be:

  • Translated BEFORE we notarise your documents; or
  • Translated AFTER we have notarised your documents.

Subject to whatever you’ve been advised, we do NOT recommend translating your documents BEFORE notarisation. This also means, your documents should not be translated before being stamped with an apostille or authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Translating your documents before notarisation generally means the translation also requires notarisation. Notarising the translation and notarising your documents will be more expensive than just notarising your documents.

More importantly, if you translate your documents before notarisation, it means your documents will be in English, the translation will be in the translated language, and then the notarisation will be in English again. If your documents must also be stamped with an apostille or authenticated by DFAT, then those stamps will also be in English.

Basically, if you translate your documents before notarisation then at the end of the process you’ll have a mix of languages throughout your documents. The intended recipient may still not be able to fully understand everything else that has happened or been stamped after the translation).

Translating after notarisation

If your documents must be translated from English to another language, we recommend translating your documents after they have been notarised, stamped with an apostille or authenticated by DFAT (if required). This approach ensures that the entire document, including the notarisation, apostille, or authentication (all in English), will be translated into the official language of the intended destination country.

It’s important to note that the primary purpose of translation is to facilitate comprehension for individuals in the intended destination country, enabling them to read the document in their official language. However, this means that the translation does not form part of the legal process.

We also recommend having your documents translated by a translator who is accredited in the intended destination country. Read on…

Translating in Australia

Unless your lawyer in the intended destination country has advised otherwise, we strongly advise against translating your documents in Australia.

Each country has its own official, recognised, or accredited translation framework. In Australia, translators accredited by NAATI perform official translations. While Australia widely recognises and accepts NAATI-accredited translators, the intended destination country may not.

Accordingly, if you must translate your documents (including the notarisation, apostille, or authentication) for another country, we recommend using a translator who meets the translation accreditation requirements of that country, possibly even within that country itself.

Other FAQs

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Home > FAQs > FAQs – Translation > Should I have my documents translated before or after you notarise my documents?