Certified Translation Services

... and other authorised translation services

There are special rules covering the authorised translation of official documents for use by government and non-governmental bodies in both Britain and Russia. 

For example, you’ll need your birth certificate translating if you’re a Russian looking to live in England, while a British student planning to study for a PhD in Moscow will need a translation of their existing degree or diploma. And for these translations to be accepted by the relevant authorities, they need to be authenticated in the proper way.

Translators themselves often can't provide such authentication. Only approved translation agencies and legal professionals are authorised to do so. And needless to say, here at RNTO, we have all the necessary authorisations, and/or direct access to those who do.

The following provides an overview of the various levels of authorisation your translation may require. Deciding whether you need a certified translation or a more formal approach isn't always that straightforward, so to chat through your situation or for further information, please call us on 0207 985 1234 ... for all your Russian translation needs.

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Certified translation service

You’ll generally need this level of service if your translation is to be used by a formal non-governmental organisation, such as a university, employer or insurance provider, although the British Home Office has its own specific requirements (see below for details).

Examples of documents that may require certification include:

If you require a certified translation, we translate your documents and provide you with a certifying letter confirming that your documents are UK Home Office-approved , and have been translated by a qualified translator. Both the certifying letter and the translation will be stamped with our company stamp and will be signed by your appointed project manager or the translator, once you have approved the details.

Generally, we aim to provide you with your certified translation within 2-3 days, depending on the length of the text. We post your certified translation by first-class special delivery, free of charge, or if required by special delivery for £8.00 extra. We can also scan the certified documents and e-mail them to you.

Notarised translation

Formal government organisations (except the Home Office) and legal bodies usually require a notarised translation. Notarisation is a more formal process than certification, and verifies the authenticity of the translation.

Notarised translation by a Public Notary/law firm 

Once you've checked and approved the uncertified translation, we certify it with our company stamp, the Association of Translation Companies' certifying stamp, and then it's signed by your appointed project manager. The translator or another member of our team then declares on oath (statutory declaration) and in writing before a Public Notary or a Registered Solicitor that the translated document is a true and accurate translation of the original document. The Notary then signs and stamps the certifying letter and translation with their certified stamp.

This process can take longer than that for certified translations as we have to book an appointment with the Public Notary/law firm. On average, you can expect to receive your notarised translation within 4 days.

The Public Notary's/solicitor's stamp can also be legalised by an apostille (see below).

Notarised by the Russian Embassy (Consulate Section)

Official document translation (1- or 2-page documents) translated by us can be notarised by the Russian Embassy. The Russian Embassy Public Notary accepts the documents by appointment, so there may be a delay. Please ask our office when the next appointment date is.

Legal translation/apostille

An apostille is a certificate which authenticates the origin of a public document which is issued by an authority designated by the country where the document was issued.

Apostille translation services are usually required if you're going to use your documents overseas in countries working in accordance with the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 1961 (of which the UK and Russia are signatories). This convention simplifies the process of authenticating a document to be used abroad, and means that a document with an apostille will be legally recognised in all countries that have signed the Hague Convention.

Examples of public documents that may require an apostille include:

  • Birth, marriage and death certificates
  • Divorce certificates
  • Medical reports
  • Adoption applications
  • Court orders
  • Immigration and naturalisation documents
The process is similar to notarisation, except that the original document is required. This process can take from 1 day (express service) up to 2 weeks, as the translated documents must be sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), where a registered official provides a document (glued on the back of the original) confirming that your document is legal.
If you're unsure whether you need an apostille for your translated documents, you should speak to their intended recipient for advice. You can also contact the Russian Embassy or Consulate to find out what options are available, however most Russian government establishments require the documents with an apostille.

Please note:

  • only documents issued by UK authorities can be legalised by FCO.
  • FCO cannot legalise a passport. Your copy of your passport can only be legalised if it has been certified by a solicitor or a Notary Public (see above).
  • Documents issued by Russian authorities can only be legalised in Russia. Please contact us if you are an apostille in Russia.

Sworn Translation

A sworn translation may be necessary for official documents intended to be used abroad in a court of law. The translation is signed by the sworn translator who is certified by the government of the country in which he or she lives, and must attach it to the original document along with a stamped formal declaration that the translation is true and accurate.


In summary therefore …

  • Certified by us (our translator)
  • Notarised by Public Notary or a law firm - certified by us and a Notary or law firm
  • Notarised by the Russian Embassy - certified by us and by the Russian Embassy (only translation of official documents)
  • Legal - certified by a Notary (or a law firm) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Sworn - certified by a sworn translator (by us, since under UK common law, there is no ‘sworn translator’ concept in civil law countries)

Deciding what level of authorisation your official document needs can be a complicated process. It's not always as straightforward as you'd like, but here at RNTO, we can deal with all your translation needs. Just give us a call on 0207 985 1234, and let us do the rest.


Specific Home Office translation requirements

The following shows the British Home Office’s requirements for documents translated from Russian (or any other language) to be accepted as true and accurate translations of the original. This information is correct as of 20 August 2013.

For applicants who are already in the UK

If one of your documents is not in English or Welsh, you must send the Home Office the original and a fully certified translation by a professional translator or translation company. This translation must include:

  • details of the translator or translation company's credentials;
  • confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document; and
  • the translator or translation company's contact details.
It must also be dated and include the original signature of the translator or an authorised official of the translation company.

For applicants who are overseas

If you send a document that is not in English or Welsh in support of your claim for points, this document must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by us (the Home Office). The original translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator or translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document;
  • the date of the translation;
  • the full name and signature of the translator or of an authorised official of the translation company; and
  • the translator or translation company's contact details.

If you send a translation of an overseas qualification or award certificate, it will not be considered as a direct translation of the academic level of that award. We (the Home Office) will always use UK NARIC to assess the equivalency of overseas qualifications.


As you can see, getting your official documents translated into English or Russian is only half the story. If they’re not certified in the correct way, they won’t be accepted by the relevant authorities. 

Deciding what level of authorisation your official document needs can be a complicated process. It's not always as straightforward as you'd like, but here at RNTO, we can deal with all your translation needs. Just give us a call on 0207 985 1234, and let us do the rest.

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Call us on 0207 985 1234

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