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What is a Certified Pro-forma Translation?

Pro-forma Translations are a kind of extract translation prepared on a special template. They are very common for translating Main Document types like Birth Certificates, Drivers Licences, and Identity Documents. Instead of recreating the complete layout and text of a source document, the translator uses a standardised form which has cells to insert the relevant information. There is also usually space for additional details that the translator considers relevant. For example, a Birth Certificate pro-forma has headings and cells for inserting Name, Date of Birth, Nationality and Gender, but it is up to the translator to include other possible information such as the bearer’s identity card number (if applicable), blood group, organ-donor status and so on. That is, anything that is useful and helps to uniquely identify the source document and its bearer. In general, Pro-formas:

  • are convenient to read because they show essential information on a single page
  • are attractive to buyers because they are normally charged at a fixed price; BUT
  • are extracts so not exhaustive
  • require careful reading of the source document to make sure no potentially important information is neglected
  • still need to be checked, printed, signed, stamped and posted
  • must have all fields filled in

In summary, a pro-forma might save you money in the case of a long, handwritten birth certificate. But if you have a typed one-paragraph police clearance, it could well be faster for a translator to do a full translation than to extract the relevant details and put them into cells on a form.
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