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Do you need certified document translation in Colombia? Do you need paperwork for an embassy, a university or a public entity and were you asked for a certified translation of your documents? In this article, you will find all the information you need on certified translation of documents in Bogotá and all Colombia. 


What is a certified translation? 

When you have an official document issued by a national entity, therefore, written in Spanish, that should be submitted before a foreign entity, then you need the certified translation of the document to the official language of the target country in order for it to have legal validity. 

Or vice versa. 

When you have a document, also from official nature, issued by a foreign entity and written in a language other than Spanish, which you must submit before a national entity, you need the certified translation of said document to the country’s official language. 

These translations are made by a certified translator. 

According to Resolution 3269 / 2016 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a certified translator is the “ideal person, authorized and accredited with the regulatory bodies of translators and interpreters to make translations”. 

Those who wish to have a certified translation title, they must take a test at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and the Faculty of Language of the Universidad de Antioquia. 


What documents need to be translated by a certified translator? 

  • Educational documents: diplomas, program content, academic programs, existing record of educational establishment, graduation certificates, grades. 
  • Civil documents: birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, death certificates, deeds, property deeds. 
  • Bank certificates 
  • INVIMA certificates 
  • Contracts 
  • Apostille 
  • Medical certificates or medical histories 


Which should be the format of a certified translation? 

The basic requirement is that all translated pages have the translator’s original signature and stamp, in which the resolution’s number is stated that certifies them as a certified translator. 

With respect to the format as such there is no official standard in Colombia; therefore, every translator can choose the option they prefer. 

Some translators translate the text in a flat and fluent manner, filling up with hyphens. 

Others use Arial font, size 12, double spacing, margins like ICONTEC (upper: 3 cm; left: 4 cm; right: 2 cm; bottom: 3 cm). 

Others keep the document’s original format; this means that they reproduce the content and the format so that the translation is as close as possible to the original document. 

In our case, we follow the third option. 

We consider that this way it is easier for those who review the documents at the entity that requested them in both languages; also, it is visually organized and nice. 


List of certified translators 

Until December 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had on its website a directory with all certified translators in Colombia; however, since the issue of Resolution 10547 /2018, the ministry decided to delete said directory. 

Now, looking for the list of certified translators in Colombia has become a little more complicated, since you have to do it through Internet browsers such as Google, social media, associations, asking among friends and colleagues, at embassies or translation companies. 


What language do certified translators translate into? 

The language combination of certified translators in Colombia will always include the country’s official language and a foreign language. 

In Colombia, there are translators available from Spanish to German, Czech, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Finish, French, Greek, Dutch, English, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and vice versa, among others. 

 In Colombia, there is no certified translator from Spanish to Latin. 


What to do if in Colombia there is no certified translator for the language required? 

There are two cases: 

  • A certified translation of a document is required of a pair of languages other than Spanish, for example: English to French. As in Colombia, no translator can be certified in these two languages, then in this case it is recommended to request the certified translation of the English document to Spanish and then from Spanish to French. 
  • A certified translation of a document is required of a pair of languages and one of them is Spanish; however, in the country there is no certified translator for said language, for example: Latin to Spanish. What you should do is look for a person capable of managing that language; it does not have to be a certified translator. 

In both cases, after receiving your translated document, you should make the recognition of the translators’ signature at a notary public, pointing out that the document to be treated is a translation. To make the signature recognition, the translator must have registered their signature previously. 


How to apostille and legalize your documents? 

First of all, let’s define the terms to “apostille” and “legalize”. 

Apostille: Certify a public servant’s signature authenticity in the performance of their duties and the capacity in which the signatory has acted, which must be registered before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that the document has all legal effects in a country that forms part of the Hague Convention. (Refer to the list of countries) 

Legalize: Certify a public servant’s signature authenticity in the performance of their duties and the capacity in which the signatory has acted, which mut be registered before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that the document has all legal effects in a country that forms part of the Vienna Convention. (Refer to the list of countries) 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made available for the public an online service to perform the apostille or legalization process, to which you can access any day of the week at any time. 

Through this service, you can request the process you need, attach the documents and make the payment; subsequently, you will receive an email with the apostille or legalization for your document. 

The apostille and legalization are issued per document and not page. 

According to Resolution 10547 / 2018 on the apostille and/or legalization process: 

 First, the translation of the document must be made. 

Then, the translator’s signature must be authenticated before a notary public. 

Finally, the apostille and/or legalization process is carried out. 

In some cases, the authentication of the translator’s signature is not required, but this depends on the proceeding you are performing. 

Value of the apostille and/or legalization: 

– In Colombia: 

Apostille: COP 31,000 

Legalization: COP 21,000 

– In Europe: EUR 7 

– In the United States and the rest of the world: USD 10 


At Pantoglot we have certified and non-certified translators living Bogotá and other Colombian cities with an experience in different fields of study and available in different languages. 

For us, it is important to follow a strict translation procedure, in order to ensure the delivery of a high-quality translation. 

Learn more information about our certified translation service here. 


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