What is signature authentication and when is it required?

A signature authentication is a declaration that the signature (of an official or certified translator) is authentic. Authentication is required if you are submitting a foreign document to the Dutch authorities (such as the municipal registry of births, marriages and deaths, a court of law, or Immigration and Naturalization Service) or when submitting a Dutch document to a foreign authority. For most Eastern European countries, authentication usually takes the form of an apostille. The signature of a Dutch certified translator must be accompanied by an authentication or apostille only if the translation is to be used outside of the Netherlands.

What is an apostille?

An apostille is an abbreviated form of authentication in which the court declares that the signature of an official or certified translator is authentic.

Where do I obtain an apostille?

In the Netherlands an apostille can be obtained from the court where the signature of the official, notary or certified translator concerned is filed. This is usually the court within the jurisdiction where the official or certified translator works.

Which Eastern European countries are members of the Apostille Convention?

Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

So what about Polish documents?

Both Poland and the Netherlands are members of the “Convention waiving authentication of certain certificates and documents”. This means that they are both committed to waiving the authentication requirement for certificates and documents concerning the municipal registry of births, marriages and deaths, capacity to act, family relations status, nationality, fixed domicile or residence of natural persons, regardless of the intended use and, moreover, to waiving the authentication of all other certificates and documents that are submitted for the solemnization of a marriage or for drawing up a document by the municipal registry of births, marriages and deaths. In other words, no authentication is required in the above instances.

What is a certified translation and when it is required?

A certified translation is usually a translation of an official document to which the translator adds a certification declaration and authenticates it with a stamp and signature. A certified translation is generally required if the document (such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate or diploma) is to be used by a Dutch or foreign government institution (such as the municipal registry of births, marriages and deaths, court of law, Immigration and Naturalization service).

What is the turnaround time for a translation?

This depends on the size and difficulty of the translation. In general, the turnaround time for texts of average difficulty can be calculated as follows: Number of words divided by 1500 + 2 workdays = turnaround time in workdays. However, the turnaround time depends greatly on the circumstances. We therefore recommend contacting us by telephone, so that we may be able to provide you with an exact time schedule.

What do the terms ‘target language’ and ‘source language’ mean?

The target language is the language into which the text is being translated and the source language is the language of the original text. For example, if a Russian birth certificate were being translated into Dutch, Russian would be the source language and Dutch would be the target language.