A document issued in Italy must be legalised to be valid abroad.
The legalisation is carried out to confirm the identity of the public official who signed the document and the authenticity of their signature.
This is generally done at the Prefecture for the most common documents or at the Public Prosecutor’s Office for certain types of documents including those signed by notaries.
In the case of documents to be presented in the United Kingdom, you must obtain an Apostille instead of legalisation, as Italy and the United Kingdom are signatories to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1861.
Next, it is important to understand what type of translation you need in the UK.
Unlike Italy, in fact, where generally all translations of foreign documents must be sworn or certified in court, there are several options:
Certified translations – Sworn translations – Legalised translations
What is a certified translation?
In the UK, it is a translation accompanied by a declaration by the translator, where they certify that they have carried out their work to the best of their ability and knowledge.
This certification must always be signed by the translator and may include the details of the translator’s professional register or professional association. It is worth remembering that membership in a register is not mandatory for linguists.
However, this is preferable as it may provide a greater guarantee of reliability.
To avoid unpleasant (and costly) delays and hiccups, it is important to choose a translator based in the UK if the translation is to be used in this country.
In some cases, you will be required to submit a sworn translation of a document. In this case the certification of the translation must be signed by the translator before a notary public or solicitor, who have the legal authority to confirm the translator’s identity.
However, they cannot guarantee the accuracy or otherwise of the translation.
This type of certification is rarely required for documents to be presented to public offices, whereas it is often necessary for documents to be presented in court. My advice is therefore to request more information on the type of certification required, directly from the body where the document is to be presented.
Even more rare is the case where you are asked to legalise a foreign document issued in Italian and then translated into English for use in the UK. Should this happen, the translator must first swear an oath before a notary public and then send the translation and notarised certification to the legalisation office to obtain an apostille.
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