Translating and legalising documents are two of the most complex tasks a translator is likely to tackle. The reasons vary but often come down to complex technical jargon and the lengthy bureaucratic processes required to attribute legal value to a translated foreign document.

The legalisation of documents: what does it involve?

Translating and legalising documents

It won’t suffice to simply translate a foreign document in order to legalise it. In fact, the legalisation process requires validation of signature(s) affixed to the original document. The Italian legal system uses this ‘validation’ process to certify the authenticity of said signature(s) before attributing legal value to the document in question.

In order to legalise a foreign document, you need to book an appointment at the Italian consulate in the country where the original document was issued.

The document legalisation process has been abolished in countries that adhere to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. In these countries, the legalisation process has been replaced by an apostille process. This means that citizens of countries that adhere to the convention need only visit their Foreign Office to obtain an apostille in order to legally validate documents for use in Italy.

What is translation compliance and how is it achieved?

A certificate of compliance certifies that a translation corresponds in its entirety to the original text.

If the issuing country does not adhere to the Hague Convention, you must first obtain legalisation from a consulate. You must then contact a translator accredited by the Italian consulate to carry out the translation itself. Once the process is complete, the consulate stamps the translation in question. At this point, the document is considered legally valid in Italy.

If the issuing country does in fact adhere to the Hague Convention, once the Foreign Office has legalised the original document, it must be shown to the Italian consulate so that it may be sent to an authorised translator, who will translate it and subsequently request that it be certified as a legalised translation.

How to obtain a legal translation of an Italian document

If you require a legalised foreign document translation from Italian into another languageyou will have to find a reliable translator of your own accord without being able to consult a dedicated list or register of official translators. In fact, these sorts of list simply don’t exist in Italy, and therefore, a native speaking translator will have to take on responsibility for the entire legalisation procedure, which includes appearing before a public official and swearing on the compliance of his or her translation with the original document.

Since this is a relatively complex process, we recommend entrusting the translation and legalisation of Italian documents to a professional agency, such as Eurotrad, who will be able to complete the process quickly, freeing you from the worries that come with complex administrative processes.

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