HOMEOUR BLOGUnlocking the Path to Certification: Becoming a Translator in the UAE

Unlocking the Path to Certification: Becoming a Translator in the UAE


To become a certified translator in the United Arab Emirates, several documents are required. Once submitted and accepted, there is a test translators have to pass. Certified translators are required to have some personal skills and qualifications since committing mistakes in certified translation can have serious repercussions.

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What does a certified translator mean?

A certified translator is someone who is certified and recognized by the government. Usually, certified translators can provide translations that hold stamps along with their signatures. Certified translations are usually used for legal purposes and only certified translators can handle translation projects that must be certified.

Certified translations can include many types of documents such as contracts, agreements, passports, academic grades, reports, statements, affidavits, visitor permits, immigration papers, legislation documents, court transcripts, and many more.

Certified translators are widely required and almost every country has certified translators who can sign and stamp the translation when completed. A certified translation must be accurate, complete, and correct, and the signature and stamp are considered to be the proof that guarantees that the information is one hundred percent accurate and that the source text includes the same information as the target text.

Usually, certified translators sign and stamp the translated documents and they might even add a statement that certifies that the translation is accurate and complete.

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When is a certified translation needed?

Certified translation of documents is highly needed everywhere in the world. The reason is that on many occasions, individuals might need to have to translate official documents for legal purposes and other related purposes. It is mainly needed in the legal field, but it can also be used in other fields that require documents to be certified such as the academic field and the medical field as well.

Documents that need certified translation services typically include, but are not limited to, the following:

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And many more.

It is important to note that only certified legal translators are allowed to sign and stamp translations, which means that a general translator who is not yet certified cannot handle projects and documents that need to be certified.

Furthermore, not all documents and contents need to be certified if they won’t be used for legal purposes. That being said, translators can still work on projects and documents that do not have to be certified such as articles, ads, web content, blogs, research papers, theses, dissertations, and more.

How to become a certified translator in the UAE?

In the United Arab Emirates, certified legal translator is governed by Cabinet Resolution 7 of 2014 which promulgates the Executive Regulation of Federal Law 6 of 2021 Regulating Profession of Translators that is issued by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the ruler of Dubai. It states that the translation profession can be practiced in the United Arab Emirates only after the Ministry of Justice lists the translator as a certified translator and after obtaining a license from the competent authority of the emirate.

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Required documents:

  1. The translator who wishes to become a certified translator must be sponsored by any translation office based in the United Arab Emirates and must therefore obtain NOC from the concerned translation office.
  2. The translator who wishes to become a certified translator is called to submit to the Ministry of Education in the emirate a secondary school certificate, an academic transcript, and a graduation certificate that are issued from the official faculty that proves that the translator has already studied the specific language certified by the University Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the United Arab Emirates Embassy and Consulate.
  3. The translator can then obtain a security permit from the Police General Headquarters of the emirate.
  4. The concerned translator provides a certificate that indicates that he/she has five-year of experience in translation after graduation date from a translation company that is certified by the Ministry of Affairs and the Notary Public in the country.
  5. The concerned translator submits NOC, an equivalent certificate, a security permit, a graduation certificate, and 6 passport photos to the Ministry of Justice in the emirate. Then, he/she fills out the online translation registration form.
  6. Security and technical committees will then hold a meeting at the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Justice that aims to consider and decide on the applications with either approval or rejection. This joint meeting committee has no specific date.
  7. Accepted applicants will be contacted by the Ministry of Justice and they will be informed of the date of examination. Rejected applicants can approach the appeal court if they want to challenge the decision within 30 days from the date of issuance of the rejection.

Examination phase:

Usually, there is a limited number of 5 translators who can be present in the exam hall. Translators can bring dictionaries with them and they are allowed to exchange the dictionaries. As for the exam duration, it is around 2 hours. The exam includes 10 paragraphs for 100 words each. For example, 5 paragraphs are to be translated from English into Arabic, and 5 paragraphs are to be translated from Arabic into English.

The exam includes many fields, such as legal, environmental, economics, medical, commercial, general, technical, and more.

Post-examination phase:

The legal translator is contacted by the representative of the Ministry of Justice to inform him/her of the results. This is usually done after 2 weeks. The translator is also informed of the procedures that should be taken if he/she passes the examination. Then, the concerned translator is called to approach the Ministry of Justice in the emirate to be able to receive the letter of referral to the judge before whom he/she administers an oath. Also, the translator receives a summary that includes all necessary information on the regulations that govern the legal translation profession in the United Arab Emirates. Then, the concerned translator is called to approach the Ministry of Justice to be able to administer the oath before the competent judge. Next, the translator is requested to receive a valid medical certificate from a medical center that is recognized in the emirate.

After that, the translator is called to submit his/her signature and stamp form on 6 copies to be distributed to the United Arab Emirates authorities later on.

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What are the skills of certified translators?

To become a certified translator anywhere in the world, translators do not only need to follow specific rules and have a degree in translation, they also need to have some personal skills to be able to succeed. Unlike what some might believe to be true, translation is not a simple process and translators must have specific skills and qualifications.

These are some of the skills that translators must have:

  • Strong communication skills.
  • Time-management skills.
  • Patience.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Ability to deliver work on time.
  • Research skills.
  • Fluency in the source and the target language.
  • Ability to accurately convey the meaning from one language into another.
  • Analytical mind.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Responsiveness.
  • Ability to think outside the box.

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What are the certified translation requirements?

To become a certified translator, there are some basic requirements one must know that result in the high-quality certified translation that is required. All individuals who wish to become certified translators must know about these requirements as they make the process a lot easier, making it possible to deliver high-quality translations.

These requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Deep knowledge of the source and the target language as well. This includes all cultural differences, laws, preferences, religions, traditions, customs, etc.
  • Accuracy in translating official documents is required for certified translation more than other fields of translation as everything must always be one hundred percent accurate.
  • Reliable sources are very important; certified translators must not only conduct research but also have to identify reliable sources for more accuracy.
  • Avoidance of literal and word-for-word translation and only use it in the cases that require such translation. Misuse of literal translation can have significant consequences.
  • Flawless outcomes in terms of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure as this might not only affect the quality but it might also result in comprehension problems.

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Is certified translation more expensive than regular translation?

In general, certified translation is not more expensive than other types of translation. The reason is simple; translators aim at pricing the translation based on the word count, page count, deadline, or the time it will take to complete the translation. Some even base their prices on the language pair.

However, it might cost more if individuals need a notarized translation since it consists of the cost of certified translation plus the cost of the notarized translation.  

On a side note, prices might also vary if individuals refer to freelance certified translators or to companies. Usually, companies charge more than freelancers.

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Are all certified translations accurate?

The main purpose of certified translation is to guarantee that the translation is complete, accurate, and correct. That is why all official documents must be certified if they need to be translated since it is the only way that makes it possible for the ones asking for them to make sure that both the target and the source documents are exactly the same. Also, the signature, stamp, and seal can guarantee that the target document is one hundred percent accurate.

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Translation is considered to be a challenging profession because mistakes can jeopardize the whole career of translators.

Mistakes that are committed in the legal and certified translation are no joke. As certified documents are both signed and stamped by “professional” certified translators, they indicate that everything in that document is one hundred percent true and accurate. That is why spotting a mistake can lead to devastating consequences.  

Hereafter are the two most important consequences:

Loss of reputation

If clients ever find mistakes in the translation, the translator might be negatively affected as the reputation is jeopardized. Consequently, jeopardizing one’s reputation means loss of clients and reliability. Therefore, the entire career of translators will be harmed and negatively affected.

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When it comes to certified translation, if individuals find mistakes in the outcome, translators can be sued. Plaintiffs might claim that translators have intentionally omitted or added crucial information to harm the concerned party. Also, certified translators can be accused of falsifying the translation. This is considered to be illegal and translators can be prosecuted. 

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