I have an agreement document which I need to translate into English, to be accepted as an exhibit in Massachusetts court. Looking around for certified translation services, there seem to be many that provide the translation service. Most of them also promise the doc to be accepted by the court.

But, from what I saw so far, none is registered in some way with the legal system in the state. Therefore, my question is - what do I need in order to get the court recognize and accept a translation I present?


Translation of documents for use in courts isn't the subject of a formal occupational licensing regulation system.

Translators can be certified as experts in particular cases and many courts have local rules governing the certification of translations for live translation of court proceedings, as the court system of legally obliged to provide translation services to non-English speaking defendants in criminal and immigration cases (and sometimes more broadly). This is typically done on a court by court basis.

Typically, a translation of written document would be supported by an affidavit of a translator in English certifying that the translation is true and correct and that the translator knows what he or she is doing, and the translator could be called at trial to testify regarding the accuracy of the translation if the other parties did not waive this opportunity by stipulation (which is what usually happens).

  • Thanks. So, are you saying that the "certification" comes from the fact that the translator swears under oath that he is capable of accurately translating the doc? I'd assume that there should be some certifying body or process that is approved by the court, that would endorse potential (possibly registered) translators. After all, I am fluent with both languages. Why couldn't I do the translation?
    – ysap
    Oct 24 '17 at 22:13
  • @ysap You probably would be qualified to translate a document for use in a court. I have had multiple cases in which my clients translated documents from other languages in connection with their testimony. For example, I had a client with real estate in Italy translate mortgage statements and utility bills and other business documents in Italian. The Court would approve someone as a real time translator, but often there would be no truly authoritative certifying body and in less common languages (e.g. Telagu or a Berber language) judges will certify anybody who looks like they can do the job.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 25 '17 at 5:11

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