Immigration is hard enough without adding translation mistakes to the mix. Sadly, however, it’s all too common for people to make errors when they translate documents from Spanish to English. Here are just a few things that you’ll want to watch out for when gathering your immigration paperwork.
1. Inconsistent Names
Are you Hassan al-Mughrabi, Hassan Mughrabi, Al Mughrabi, or Al-Mughrabi? Names that are translated from other languages can be spelled in a multitude of ways, especially if they’re being translated from a non-English alphabet. Even a misplaced hyphen can cause a jam in a computerized system. You’ll want to double-check all of your documents to make sure that your spelling is consistent across the board: You don’t want to run into problems because the name on your passport did not match the name on your citizenship application.
2. Inaccurate Information
A shoddy translation might miss or muddle vital information. For example, a deadline that gets copied incorrectly between documents might lead to legal trouble for an immigrant who thought that they had more time to submit documents or verification proof. The only way to be sure that you’re getting a high-quality translation is to hire a certified translator from The Spanish Group. It’s part of their job to pore over the details and verify the accuracy of their work.
3. Grammar or Vocabulary Mistakes
A typo isn’t the end of the world, but if your documents contain a lot of errors, they might be sent back to you for revision which will delay the further processing. This is one of the reasons why you should hire a professional from The Spanish Group when you want to translate a document from English to Spanish. If there are spelling mistakes everywhere or if the grammar is off, the immigration office might reject the paperwork until it’s been reworked by a native speaker. Since this will require you to hire a professional anyway, you might as well do it from the start and save yourself the hassle and the wait.
4. Foreign Systems
In Korea, babies are one year old when they’re born, and they get another year older on January 1st. This might mean that a person’s “Korean age” is 1 – 2 years older than their “American age.” If they put their Korean age on an American immigration document, it will be seen as a mistake or a lie, and it will get the paperwork rejected. Watch out for these types of things as you prepare your immigration papers. Don’t assume that the customs of your country will translate to American ones.
This can be a problem with fragile documents that have seen better days. For example, if you have an old birth certificate from a foreign country, you might be tempted to guess at the meaning of some of the smudges. Resist this urge! You’re allowed to say “illegible” on non-critical parts of a translated document, and if you admit it, you will be on the legal hook for forging immigration documents if a guess turns out to be wrong.
6. Lack of Certification
Last but not least, it’s common for immigrants to submit their paperwork without a “certification of accuracy” document provided by a translator. This makes it eligible for rejection by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Certification is a must, and it should come from someone who is fluent in both languages and can swear to that fact in writing. You can’t translate your documents, and you can’t hire someone to fake it. It would help if you had an expert like those at The Spanish Group on whose accurate and quality translation you can rely on.
These are just a few things to consider as you prepare your immigration documents. At the end of the day, if you’re worried about the quality and accuracy of your paperwork, it’s best to hire a professional translation service. It’s the only way to be sure that your files are correctly handled.
Here are the benefits that we can offer at The Spanish Group:
– Accurate, typo-free translations
– Speedy turnarounds for time-sensitive documents
– Certification for the USCIS
For more information, feel free to contact us. We’ve been helping immigrants with their visas and green cards for years, and we’d be happy to lend you our assistance as well