Adam Galamaga
GermanDE-CH-ATEnglish (UK)PolishPL

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find a list with questions clients ask me most frequently. Just click on a button of your choice to display the answer to the question that interests you.

How much does a translation cost?

For certified translation of documents such as birth certificates or school diplomas, the fees are based on the German Law on the Remuneration of Interpreters and Translators (JVEG). Fees for other kinds of specialist texts vary depending on the type of document and its difficulty. In certain cases translation costs can be paid or refunded for you. For more details click here.

Is certified translation accepted everywhere in Germany?

Yes, the certification clause is accepted by authorities, public offices, courts, universities and any other public agencies in all regions of Germany. The legal precedent for this is the amendment of 30th of October 2008 in the German Code of Civil Procedure. According to a provision of the German Judicature Act, I am also authorised to interpret under oath before all federal and regional courts.

Is certified translation accepted abroad?

As there is no automatic guarantee that translations certified by a German-based court translator will be accepted everywhere abroad, it is wise to enquire directly to the relevant authority for the intended target country of your translation. De facto however, certified translations from Germany are honoured everywhere without trouble. I issue certified translations into English and Polish on a regular basis and do not know of any case that would prove otherwise. You will find more information on this topic here.

Do I need to show the document to translate in its original form?

It is possible to certify the conformity of a translation with an officially certified or uncertified copy or scan. Should you wish to send me a printed or scanned copy of your original documents, please ensure that the copy is complete and legible.

How can I submit documents to translate?

There are several methods available to you. You may send me your documents by post, email or deliver personally, on appointment to my office in Mainz. You can also post your documents, along with your contact details, through my secure letterbox outside the building.

In case you prefer sending me your original documents via post, I encourage you to do this by registered letter (German: "Einschreiben") due to security concerns.

How can I settle the invoice?

You can settle the invoice by paying in cash, transferring money into my bank account, using PayPal or by cash-on-delivery letter offered by Deutsche Post AG. If the payment is agreed to be honoured after the translation has been delivered, then the invoice amount is to be paid within 30 days from delivery of the translation as required by German law.

Will VAT be added to my invoice?

The official VAT rate for services in Germany amounts to 19% of the net price. According to the German Value Added Tax Act, the tax is not payable if your company resides in another EU country (so-called intra-community deliveries) or outside of the EU. Private clients are not exempted in any circumstances.

Do certified translations cease being legally valid after a certain length of time?

No, they do not. This means that even 50 years or more, the certification clause is legally valid.

Can you Germanise my name/place of birth?

Personal data has to remain in the translation in its original wording. However, I can make a hint in brackets (so-called "translator's note") that the German variant of a name is different to the foreign one (e.g. "John" for "Johannes").

Names of places are Germanised only in the case that they are more commonly known under a German name (e.g. "Kapstadt" for "Cape Town" or "Danzig" for "Gdansk"). Names of places, which belonged to the German Reich before 1945, are noted both in German and Polish version. This is reasonable mainly in regard to certificates of birth, so that no misunderstandings occur.

Can you issue a certified copy of my original document?

You may possibly be asked by a German authority to submit an "amtlich beglaubigte Kopie" or "öffentlich beglaubigte Kopie" of your document. An officially certified copy of this kind has nothing to do with certified translation. You can obtain a certified copy of your document at a Bürgeramt (Citizens Office) or an Ortsgericht. You will find contact details of the Ortsgericht in Frankfurt under this link. In Mainz you can obtain a certified copy of your document from the Stadtverwaltung.

Does another translator proofread your translations?

In case of official documents that need to be translated by a sworn-in translator (so-called 'certified translations'), a review by a third party is out of the question, owing to the obligation of confidentiality. In each case, one single sworn-in translator certifies the conformity of a translation with the original document provided. This means that a sworn-in translator is obliged to check his or her own translation more than once to avoid any mistakes.

With regards to other types of text, the 'two-man rule' can be applied if required. This means that my translations can be proofread by one of my colleagues. However, additional costs resulting from this service will have to be added to your invoice.

My certified translation from abroad will not be recognised in Germany, can you simply put your stamp on it?

Unfortunately, according to the requirements by the Landgericht Frankfurt am Main it is not possible for me to certify translations issued by other translators. I am only allowed to certify my own translations.

I translated the document by myself, can you simply certify it for me?

Unfortunately, that is not possible. Aside from the fact that I may only certify my own translations, I would have to rephrase your text using my own judgement. After all, I put my signature and stamp on the translation and bear legal responsibility for every word used.

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