Certified, Notarised and Legalised (Apostille) Translations
Samurai Translators translates hundreds of official documents and is able to have these documents notarised promptly if requested by a client. Depending on the document type and the country to be submitted to, the legalisation process involves between 1 to 3 stages:
Notarisation - by a solicitor or notary public
Legalisation/Apostille - by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
Legalisation /Apostille/Authentication - by the Embassy/Consulate of the issuing country
There are many types of certification and often clients are unsure of the terms and what is required. A certified translation or notarised translation is typically needed for legal purposes. Whether you require a notarised translation or a certified translation or a statutory declaration or sworn translation described below depends on the requiring authorities. It is important to verify what type of legislation you require prior to authorizing us to work on your document.
In Japan and the U.K. there is no official legislating body in the translation industry and no nationally recognized license for the translation industry. Also unlike in a number of other countries, there is no required standardized translator's qualification accredited by a translation association, and documents translated by translators not certified by such an association are accepted as translations of official documents. In lieu of this, a Certificate of Translation including the address, telephone number and other contact details of the translation company as well as the translator's name, and the company seal is recognized by many institutions as being equivalent to a certified translation. Usually, the Certificate of Translation is printed on the company's letterhead and is affixed with the company's signature and seal. This is the method generally applied to official certificate translations and is equivalent to what is referred to as a "Certified Translation". Depending on the organization or institution, official documents may not necessarily need to be translated by a third party and self translated documents may be accepted. We, therefore, recommend that you check the translation requirements of the organization you intend to submit your documents to. If self-translated documents are permissible, you may even submit documents you have hired a translation company to execute as your own translations.
Examples of documents most often requiring notarisation are company and commercial registers, certificates of complete historical records, certificates of all present matters, articles of incorporation and association, family registers, academic diplomas and transcripts (i.e. medical) as well as other documents similar thereto.
Basic Certified Translations (Certificate of Translation)
As explained above, in both the U.K. and Japan there is no body or authority that certifies translations and a certified translation is one in which the translator or the translation company makes a legal statement in his/her or its own name asserting that a translated document is correct and faithful to the original. This service is generally required for formal non-governmental organizations such as universities, employers or insurance providers and include UK birth certificates, marriage certificates and divorce decrees, diplomas, school transcripts or other academic documents, medical reports, utility and household bills, etc. Certified translations can only be made by a professional, qualified, mother-tongue translator. The translator's certificate provided attests to the translator's qualifications and translation accuracy. We stamp and sign each certified translation page and provide a Certificate of Translation in the language required by the institution or organization to which the translation is to be delivered on company letter-headed paper including the company name, registration number, address, TEL/FAX no. and URL, and containing a written and signed declaration by the translator in charge of the translation stating that s/he is "a qualified translator, proficient in both languages and that the translation is true and faithful" with the company's seal affixed and the location responsible for the translation clearly indicated and publicly declared. No additional fee is charged for issuing our Certificate of Translation. The certificate should be kept safe as it is the certified translation's legal provenance.
Notarised Translations (Certificate of Translation plus Notary’s Stamp of Translation Authentication)
Criminal court or other official institutions or public authorities may instead demand a notarised translation rather than a basic certified translation, requiring the translator to attend a Notary Public Office to swear before the Notary Public their professional qualifications and that the translation to be notarised is to the best of their knowledge accurate. Notarisation within the jurisdiction of Japan, under law is the exclusive business of civil servants called Notary Publics. Samurai Translators prepares an affidavit for any translation we do in the language of the destination country and submit this to the Notary Public Office where the responsible translator subscribes his/her signature and affixes his/her seal on the document in the presence of a Notary Public upon which the Notary Public subscribes his/her name and affixes his/her seal. As proof of the translator's identity, the translator brings his/her driver's license or other acceptable form of identification. A Notary Public is a civil servant of the state and in principle each Notary Public Office provides the same services and we obtain notarisation services from Fukuoka Notary Public Office or Shinbashi Notary Public Office and Akasaka Notary Public Office in Tokyo and other notary public offices.
In the UK, the translator must go to the office of a commissioner of oaths (an individual appointed by the Lord Chancellor to administer oaths and take affidavits: notary public, solicitor, barrister, legal executive or licensed conveyancer) and swear they are professionally qualified and that the translation they have done is accurate to the best of their knowledge. The Notary or commissioner of oaths verifies the translator's identity then stamps and signs each page, attaching a notarial certificate to the translation. Only one bound master copy of the notarised translation and notarised Certificate of Translation is made. This is the ONLY legitimate copy and MUST stay intact. if your documents are lost you will have to have them notarised Legal costs for notarised translations depend on the Notary fees, and may apply per page.
When a translator swears to the accuracy of a translation before a Notary Public, as is the case in the UK and Japan, this is a sworn translation. This should not be confused with countries that have sworn translators who may affix their own official seal to a document and do not require notarisation.
For more details on notarised translations in Japan click here.
Legalised Translations (Apostille or Embassy/Consular Legalization)
Legalised translations are those authenticated by the either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, U.K., or by consular sections of foreign embassies. Legalization is the process through which an official document is authenticated and certified to be used internationally. Thanks to the legalization process, documents will be accepted by a foreign country different from the one where the target document was released. This can be done by:
Legalisation by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (for documents issued in Japan) or the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (for documents issued in the U.K.) referred to as an Apostille or:
Embassy/Consular Legalization, Attestation, Authentication
Legalisation by Apostille
There are many occasions when your documents may need an Apostille. The Apostille is requested by foreign businesses, legal firms, government bodies, and other organisations to verify documents. Whether you are working abroad, conducting international business, handling foreign assets or planning an overseas wedding we can help you. Documents for use abroad require prior legalisation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - current information can be found on their respective websites. Click on the links. For the most part, translations of official documents already notarised by a Notary Public will require authentication of the seal of the Notary Public by the Japanese Ministry of Justice (District Legal Affairs Bureau) or the Foreign Commonwealth Office and authentication of official seal or Apostille from the same. This means that a notarised translation is sent to either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which checks the signature, stamp and seal (of the Notary Public or magistrate) to authenticate it.
When submitting certificates to the U.S.A., U.K. France or any other of the 105 countries which are members of the Hague Apostille Convention, generally consular legalization, attestation, authentication is not required and your document can be legalised by the Apostille as described above. However, in the case of official documents and their translations to be submitted to ministries, organizations or banks, etc. in the U.S. for example, documents can be notarised by applying to the consular section of the American embassy located in the country from which you are applying from. There are many other foreign delegates (embassies and consulates) that provide notarisation services and notarisation by an embassy or consulate is very useful and relatively inexpensive. Document legalisation/attestation requirements can vary from embassy to embassy. Some embassies will insist on only original documents, while others will accept certified copies. Some embassies will accept documents notarised by a solicitor, while others will insist on it being performed by an actual Notary Public. For instance, most visa nationals in the UK wishing to travel to France have to obtain a French Schengen visa from a UK based French Embassy/Consulate. In support of their applications, married applicants are required to submit their original/translated marriage certificate. Where Indian passport holders are concerned, the certificate will only be accepted by the French consulate if the document has been authenticated/legalised by the Indian Embassy in London first. Minor applicants will be required to produce their authenticated/legalised birth certificates. This requirement also applies to certificates issued in China and in an increasing number of other countries. As a general rule, any certificate issued overseas will have to be legalised by the respective Embassy/Consulate in the U.K. It is important that you verify the levels of legalisation/authentication that is being asked of the document's country of destination.
Samurai Translators will assist you in having your documents legalised, attested or authenticated by the embassy or consulate of the issuing country in Japan or the U.K. regardless of whether they have been translated by us. As this service is separate from our translation service, the cost of applying for and obtaining such legalization, attestation or authentication and the notarisation fee for the notary public or solicitor, etc. is not reflected in the translation price. For legalisation by an embassy or consulate of Articles of Incorporation or Association, commercial and company registers and family registers, please visit the respective pages. Click on the link for more on Embassy/Consular Legalization, Attestation, Authentication.
Notarisation by Notary Public Office in Japan
When notarising your documents at the Notary Public Office in Japan, you can use the cover letter made available there but notary public offices will also accept letters prepared by the translators of the documents for notarisation. At Samurai Translators we prepare an affidavit for any translation we do in the language of the destination country and submit this to the notary public office where the responsible translator subscribes his/her signature and affixes his/her seal on the document in the presence of a notary public upon which the notary public subscribes his/her name and affixes his/her seal. As proof of the translators identity, the translator brings his/her driver's license. A notary public is a civil servant of the state and in principle each notary public office provides the same services. We mainly use the notarisation services of Fukuoka Notary Public Office or Shinbashi Notary Public Office and Akasaka Notary Public Office in Tokyo.
For the most part, translations of official documents already notarised by the notary public office will require authentication of seal by the Japanese Ministry of Justice (District Legal Affairs Bureau) and authentication of official seal or Apostille from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See below for the notarisation process (taken from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website).
Applicant → Public Agency → Notary Public Office → (District) Legal Affairs Bureau → Ministry of Foreign Affairs
*One-Stop-Service (only available in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture)
Notary public offices in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, are able to grant a certificate of official seal attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Apostille), certificate of stamp attested by the Legal Affairs Bureau at the same time as provide notarisation services.
Authentication of official seal (on official documents issued in Japan) is often required when submitting diplomas or graduation certificates, certificates of legal capacity to contract marriage, family registers and health certificates or reports, etc. to foreign agencies or institutions in order to study, marry or take a position abroad and also when submitting commercial registries or company registers (certificates of complete historical records) when opening a branch or business office overseas, etc.
Depending on the country of the agency or institution you are submitting such documents to, you may be required to obtain authentication from a foreign delegate in Japan such as an embassy or consulate. However, you may also be required to have these documents authenticated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to obtain authentication from a foreign delegate. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Consular Affairs Bureau, Certification Section, Centre for Consular Services and the Osaka Branch) grants authentication of official seals stamped on official documents issued by public agencies in Japan or by organizations equivalent thereto (independent administrative institutions or public corporations).
If documents such as power of attorney contracts, resumes and CVs, Articles of Incorporation and Association and other public documents to be translated to English, as well as private documents produced privately or by a company are notarised by a notary public and the seal of the notary public is authenticated by the District Legal Affairs Bureau, these can be authenticated by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It should be noted, however, that the authentication of documents by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is a prerequisite to embassy/consular authentication and therefore embassy/consular authentication must still obtained in order to submit such documents to the country of their intended submission.
(Note 1) Certified copies of commercial registries/company registers issued by a registrar will need to have the seal of that registrar authenticated by the legal affairs bureau with which the registrar is affiliated with.
(Note 2) Some countries may specify institutions (hospitals) for issuing medical certificates or reports, however, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not provide authentication of official seals on medical certificates and reports issued by private hospitals.
When submitting certificates to the U.S.A., U.K., France or any other of the 105 countries which are members of the Hague Apostille Convention, generally legalization, attestation, authentication from an embassy or consulate in Japan will not be required. If the official document to be submitted is attached with an Apostille from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it will be treated and accepted by receiving institutions as though it had been authenticated by a foreign delegate (embassy or consulate) in Japan.
This information has been extracted from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For full and up-to-date information please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affair's website.
→ For information on the authentication and application process please visit http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/toko/todoke/shomei/index.html
Unless otherwise specified, when requesting for notarisation by a notary public, in order for us to have the translation we perform for you notarised, this will include authentication of the seal of the notary public by the Legal Affairs Bureau (District Legal Affairs Bureau) and authentication of official seal or Apostille from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you do not require any one of these authentications or Apostille, please clearly state the same in your notarisation request when you place an order with us. Please also indicate whether you require authentication or Apostille from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Generally, for countries belonging to the Hague Convention, an Apostille is required, while for countries which are not members, authentication of official seal is required. Furthermore, authentication of official seal, etc. by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot be issued twice for the same document, therefore, if the original document has already been authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructs not to apply for authentication of seal again for the translation of the document. If the official seal on the original document has already been authenticated, notarisation of the translation of the document at the notary public office may need authentication of the seal of the notary public by the Legal Affairs Bureau. Please be sure to check your individual circumstances. We understand that it is possible to apply for embassy or consular authentication based on the authentication of official seal obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
If you intend to have your translations notarised by the notary public, you will need to attach some form of identification clearly stating the identity of the applicant and subscribe your signature or affix your seal in the presence of a notary public, however, there are different ways depending on who is applying for notarisation.
If you have us apply for notarisation and go direct to the notary public office
This is the most common option and it is also simpler for our clients and is the most common way that notarisation requests are handled by the notary public office.
In this case, our translators will go directly to the notary public office and will sign a declaration pledging the content the Certificate of Translation issued by us in the presence of a notary public. Once we have obtained authentication of seal by the Legal Affairs Bureau, Apostille or authentication of seal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we deliver the same to our clients by post. The fees imposed by the notary public office and the fees charged for our company to apply on your behalf and obtaining authentication, etc. and other fees are explained in the table below.
Where application for notarisation of a document translated by us is made but the client goes in person to the notary public office
In this case, the client will act as an authorized agent of the translator responsible for his/her translation and will require us to issue him/her with a Power of Attorney (and certificate of seal) of the concerned translator. At Samurai Translators we handle applications made in this way. We will deliver you a Certificate of Translation signed and sealed by the translator of your document printed on company letter-headed paper stamped with our company stamp. The issue of the Power of Attorney (and certificate of seal) of our translator will incur a fee of 5,250 yen.
Where application for notarisation is made by the client going in person to the notary public office and applying for notarisation of a document delivered by us as a his/her own document
In this case, the client take full responsibility for the content of the translation and will have to prepare a declaration regarding such content in his/her name. It may help to look at the templates offered by the notary public office or the phrasing used in our Certificate of Translation. Please remember that if the document is a corporate document and the declaration is made in the name of the company or a representative director thereof and an employee of the company will attend to matters at the notary public, such employee will require documents indicating power of attorney from the Representative Director, the company register, the company's certificate of seal (or certificate of seal of the representative director) and other documents may be required. (For more detailed information contact the notary public office directly).
If clients request that we prepare their sworn statements/declaration for them we handle such requests. The paperwork fee for preparing our declaration or a sworn statement by the representative director pledging that the content in the English text is accurate and true is 3,150 yen.
Procedures for authenticating private documents (for documents to be submitted outside of Japan)
It is often presumed that only official or public documents are authenticated, however, even private documents are notarised by a notary public therefore if a certificate of the seal of the notary is obtained from the legal affairs bureau of the relevant region, the document can be legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
One-Stop-Service (only available in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture) (A) Notary public offices in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, if a request is received from an applicant, a certificate of official seal attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, certificate of stamp attested by the Legal Affairs Bureau or Apostille may be granted. Be aware, however, that In the case of authentication of official seals, authentication from an embassy or consulate in Japan is still always required.
Notarisation Fees (by Notary Public or consular section）
Notarisation Service Fees
|Product Name (also enter embassy of destination country)||Fees (including handling fees)|
|Notarisation (consular)－ U.S.A.||21,600 yen|
|Notarisation (consular)－ Canada||16,200 yen|
|Notarisation by Notary Public (Apostille/Authentication of Official Seal by Ministry of Foreign Affairs)||22,000 yen|
* Notarising a translation at a consulate is not the same as authentication of seal by the Legal Affairs Bureau, Apostille or authentication of official seal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
* Please state if Apostille or authentication of official seal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not required (where Apostille or authentication of official seal for the original document has been obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) when notarising documents at the notary public office.
* The consular section of the Canadian Embassy has set dates for notarisation services so you have to book accordingly. If we unable to coordinate the our translators schedules with the date indicated by the client in the application, we may not be able to accept requests for notarisation services at the embassy. We are always available for notarisation at the notary public office. * Notarial services for translations at the Canadian consulate may be limited to the documentation for certain purposes. At this stage we are able to have our certificate of translation on citizenship application documentation notarized at one of Canadian consulates.
Service for attestation/authentication by consular section in embassy following authentication of official seal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
You can have documents which have been certified by a notary public, for which the seals a notary public have been authenticated by of the Legal Affairs Bureau, or the official seals have been authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attested/authenticated by a consular in the consular section of the embassy of the country to which documents are to be submitted to. We are happy to carry out the necessary procedures for those who wish us to handle the obtaining of attestation/authentication on their behalf. Please don't hesitate to contact us for details. Click here for more detailed information on service for attestation/authentication by consular section in embassy following authentication of official seal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Process from order to delivery
The procedure for notarisation of translations of family registers, company and commercial registers, Articles of Incorporation and Association and other documents is as follows: