The 5 most frequently translated and certified document types in the UK

Professionally certified translation services have been an important part of our everyday lives for over two decades now. With the developments in technology as well as ease of international travel and a rapidly progressing globalisation, more and more people find themselves in the need of converting their documents from one language into another.

The number reasons behind requiring a competently certified translation can be truly countless – from visa, educational or job applications to perhaps some more ‘day-to-day’ activities such as renting a car or applying for a new job. If any of your formal documents are not presented in the official language of a country you intend to use them in, you will most likely be asked by the authorities to translate them.

Nonetheless, even if you are able to speak both languages fluently, you will not be able to formally translate the documents yourself. Instead, you must approach a registered translation agency, which is able to provide officially certified translation services and specialises in translating documents similar to yours or a freelance linguist registered with an suitable organisation. By doing this, you will be able to demonstrate to the authorities, such as the Home Office etc., that the language provider takes a full responsibility regarding the accuracy of the translated documents and that they are completely true to the original text.

Which documents are most frequently translated and certified in the UK?

As mentioned above, translating and certifying your documents is a process, which must be completed directly by a professional agency or a registered linguist. As a result, we decided to approach such an agency, and based on their specific insight and data, create a comprehensive list of the most frequently translated and certified documents in the Untied Kingdom. Translation Services 24 UK, which is perhaps one of the fastest growing providers of certified translation services in London, shared their expert data with us, and so we are now able to share these findings directly with our readers.


According to the expert data supplied by Translation Services 24, passports are the most frequently translated personal document in the United Kingdom. People translate this type of official document from and into English, and the reasons behind doing so are practically infinite.

From mortgage applications to international travel requirements such as acquiring visas or even legal court cases – translating a passport may be required by the authorities in a wide range of situations, as it is the most common personal identification document.

Driving License

Most frequently, translating a driver’s license is required by people who are visiting a foreign country and wish to rent a car. In order to do so, the company needs to see a proof of eligibility in their native language. As authorities in some countries may not be able to or feel comfortable with using English to communicate, this document must also be translated in case of a police inspection or other such situation.

Diplomas & School certificates

Translating school or university diplomas as well as other educational certificates is an every-day occurrence for professional translation agencies and linguists. With almost 500,000 international students currently in the United Kingdom, official documents are translated into English from a number of different languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese and Arabic. By doing this, international students are able to clearly show whether they meet the requirements of their chosen institution and present the grade equivalents.

Marriage & Divorce certificates

Getting married abroad has become very fashionable in the recent years and so the number of Brits who decide to ‘tie the knot’ on paradise islands grows continuously. Nonetheless, whenever a marriage ceremony takes place abroad, the official documents will be issued in the country’s native language. Consequently, translating marriage certificates from Greek, Spanish or Portuguese is often requested by UK authorities in order to prove their authenticity. One of the most common situations where a marriage certificate translation is needed, is during a mortgage application.

Bank statements and Financial documents

As banks may expect you to translate your marriage certificates in order to obtain a mortgage, you should not be surprised if you are also asked to professionally translate any financial documents, such as bank statements or pay slips if your original accounts are located abroad.

Business related documents

With the fast changes in technology, a widely available internet access and escalating globalisation, UK based businesses expand abroad more frequently than ever before, even in spite of Brexit.

Today, business owners are able to approach international consumers and foreign markets much faster and easier than just 10 or 15 years ago. Nonetheless, with opportunity comes challenge. As a result, organisations and businesses, in order to succeed within an overseas market, must create a friendly and customer-focused brand image.

One of the most significant aspects of achieving this, is ensuring that any business and corporate documents are accurately translated into the market’s native language. This includes marketing campaigns, legal documents or websites.

Finding the right provider

Whether you need to translate your personal documents such as marriage certificates, school diplomas or materials related to your business, one of the biggest challenges you will face is finding the right translations provider, who specialises in converting documents similar to yours.

Generally speaking, when requiring a certified translation of your documents, you have two possibilities. First one is to work directly with a translation agency. This option, although slightly more expensive of the two, offers more support and usually a much faster turnaround time. A professional translation agency will additionally be able to cover a wide range of documents and languages, therefore, the process becomes straightforward if you require a number of different documents converted into several languages at once.

A great (and often slightly cheaper) alternative to working with an agency is to find a registered freelance linguist. An officially accredited translator will be able to certify your documents and attest their authenticity, making them legally valid.

It is crucial to remember however, that whether you decide to work with a translation agency or a freelance linguist, confirming their credential is key. There are several resources such as the ATC (Association of Translation Companies) or CIOL (Chartered Institute of Linguists) where you will be able not only to find an appropriate language provider who is able to cover your required language pairs and documents, but who will also be able to legally certify them.

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