What is a Translator?
It is a professional worker with ample knowledge of the Spanish language and one or more additional languages to faithfully convey, in writing, the source language terms to the target language. It is a person that has a broad culture, with the required grammar, general, technical, legal, literal or cultural vocabulary knowledge allowing him/her to perform their work.
What is an Interpreter?
It is a professional worker with ample knowledge of the Spanish language and one or more additional languages to convey verbally and faithfully, the source language terms to the target language. It is a person that has a broad culture, with the required grammar, general, technical, legal, literal or cultural vocabulary knowledge allowing him/her to perform their work.
What is an Official Translation?
It is the translation of a document from the Spanish language to a foreign language or vice-versa, having public trust and official status, which is executed by an official translator duly appointed and authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship.
What is an Official Interpretation?
It is an interpretation from the Spanish language to a foreign language or vice-versa, having public trust and official status, which is performed by an official interpreter duly appointed and authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship.
What is an Official Translator or Interpreter?
It is a professional worker devoted to translating or interpreting, duly appointed and authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship to do translations and interpretations having official status and public trust.
How do I know if I require a translator or an interpreter for my needs?
The interpreter talks, the translator writes.
If you are dealing with written documents, you will need a translator.
For instance: Your birth certificates, academic documents, web page texts or a PowerPoint presentation are written or digital documents that need a TRANSLATION.
If you wish to communicate directly with other people who do not speak your language, then you will need an interpreter.
For example: A board of directors’ meeting, contract negotiations, a press conference, or a conference
When do I need an Official Translation or Interpretation?
It is very simple. You will need an official translator or interpreter when you have to provide an official and public status to your documents or events. Especially, if your documents or verbal statements must be accredited before an authority whether local or from another country.
For example: your documentation to apply for a scholarship, registering your child in Costa Rica or in another country, a medical certificate due to an ailment, a product free-sale certificate (in case of written documents); in case of verbal expressions, you will need an official interpreter, especially for legal proceedings such as hearings, trials, forensic sessions, and others which require validation within judicial proceedings.
Does the whole document need to be translated?
It depends on the kind of document and its purposes. For instance, a birth certificate needs to be translated entirely since it is an official and public document. However, a lawyer who needs to present evidence for legal proceedings may choose to translate only the absolutely relevant parts among a chain of emails or documents.
That is why it is important for the client to prioritize their documents and needs before sending them to be translated. Ask your trusted official translator/interpreter if you need help to determine whether the text you wish to have translated fulfills all the legal requirements.
Can a bilingual person, a Notary Public, or an unofficial/professional translator do an Official Translation?
No, only official translators can provide official translations; likewise, only official interpreters can provide official interpretations.
A professional translator may translate all kinds of documents; however, they would not hold an official and public status.
A notary public can only translate documents to be registered in his/her own registry and to understand the will of the parties on a public instrument.
What should I do with my document once it has its Official Translation?
You need to be clear whether your document is to be processed in Costa Rica or in a different country.
If your document was issued abroad and your official translation was done by an official (certified) Spanish translator, no other process is required. You can submit it at the corresponding local institution.
If your document was issued by a Costa Rican public authority and you need it for a procedure abroad, you must have it apostilled to get the signature of the public clerk who subscribed it certified. Since official translators have had their signatures and personal data certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship (Art. 13th of the Official Translations Act Regulations), the official translation must also be apostilled. Once the document has both apostilles, you can start the process abroad.
What is an Apostille? (taken from the MFAW’s website)
Apostille is a French term that means: certifying, authenticating, or completing. Its purpose is to simplify the legalization of documents to guarantee their authenticity so that they may have international validity, making the consular or diplomatic legalization, or additional kinds of certifications, unnecessary.
Through the so-called Hague Apostille, a contracting state of the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of “Legalization for Foreign Public Documents or Hague Convention” acknowledges the legal effectiveness of a public document issued in another contracting state of such Convention.
The Apostille process consists of placing an apostille on the public document itself which will internationally certify the authenticity of a signature on all public documents issued by each contracting state.
What are the requirements to be an Official Translator or Interpreter?
Act No. 8142, Official Translations and Interpretations Act, 6th Article, Requirements:
To apply for an appointment as an official translator or interpreter, the candidate must fulfill the following requirements:
1.a) Being Costa Rican by birth or naturalization, or a resident with at least five continuous years of residing in the country
2.b) Being of legal age
3.c) Having both on the Spanish language as well as on the target language the mastery of a person well-versed in the culture and expressions of such languages
4.d) Having updated knowledge on the languages on which the appointment is requested
5.e) Having access to computing resources, reference materials, and adequate tools to perform the professional job
6.f) Having at least five years of proven experience working continuously on professional translation or interpretation on each of the languages on which the appointment is requested
7.g) Not having been disqualified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship
8.h) Submitting an affidavit stating that you do not have any of the impediments pointed out in this law.
9.i) Providing a certification of having passed the translator or interpreter examination which, to the purpose of this law, can be applied by any entity authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, through its Legal Department.
Regulations for Act No. 8142, Official Translations and Interpretations Act
10th Article, General requirements. The candidate for official translator and/or interpreter must meet the following requirements:
1.a) Submitting to the Legal Advisory of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship a written request addressed to the Legal Advisor requesting their authorization to take the examinations that will certify you as an official translator and/or interpreter, indicating the language/languages that you want to be examined on, as well as accepting to comply with the dispositions regarding this subject matter regulated by the law, regulations, and this Ministry.
2.b) A photocopy of both sides of your ID or residency card proving that you have been residing in the country for at least 5 years.
3.c) An affidavit which indicates that you have the mastery both of the Spanish language as well as of the target language, updated knowledge of both and access to computing resources, materials, and tools required for an outstanding performance as an official translator and/or interpreter.
4.e) Submitting an updated resume with photocopies of diplomas, especially college or equivalent ones, which prove the expertise as an interpreter and/or translator in the languages in which examinations are requested.
5.f) Submitting two certifications of work experience in the translation and/or interpretation field; otherwise, two recommendation letters relating to translations that you have done in the past 2 years.
How much is an Official Translation or Interpretation?
The Official Translators and Interpreters Fees Executive Decree No. 34292 – RE states that:
A translation, from one language to another one, of public national and foreign documents which hold between 1 and 400 words, will be charged at a minimum of US $20,00 (twenty US dollars) and a maximum of US $25,00 (twenty five US dollars).
The translation, from one language to another one, of public national or foreign, or documents in general, when urgent or contain technical or specialized terms, will be charged at a minimum of US $0,05 (5 cents of dollar) and a maximum of US $0,18 (eighteen cents of dollar) per word.
Remember that even if there is a minimum word fee, translators are free to charge the minimum amount at their discretion, especially if it is a technical and highly difficult document.
For a copy of the original document, translated, signed and stamped, there is an additional cost of 50% of the total price for each one.
Simultaneous, consecutive, sight, whispered, and in situ interpretations will be charged at a minimum of US $50,00 (fifty US dollars) an hour.
The interpretation may also include other considerations, to be negotiated with the client, such as transportation, meals, travel expenses, if the event includes traveling to a place farther away from the habitual workplace to a significant distance, etc.