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Does my Apostille need to be translated?

We have recently seen this question recently, multiple times:

Does the legalisation issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Apostille, require translation in order to be accepted in other countries?

The short answer: if it is being submitted in another country that is signatory to the Hague Convention, no.

An Apostille does not need to be translated for use in any country that has ratified the Hague Convention. In fact article 3(1) of the Hague Apostille Convention explicitly states that an apostille cannot be rejected on the basis it is written in another language, especially as the requirements under the convention are that the apostille be issued in the format of the Convention, which is fixed, and that it be issued in the language of the issuing country (in this case English) as well as two other Convention languages.

You can find the official Convention Manual on the operation of the Hague Apostille Convention available in a number of languages here: HCCH | A Handbook on the Practical Operation of the Apostille Convention (Apostille Handbook)

We refer you specifically to pages 72 and 73 under section F – No Translation, where it states as follows:

  • 312 An Apostille may not be rejected on grounds alone that it has been drawn up in a language other than the language of the State of destination. The Convention provides that an Apostille may be drawn up in the official language of the Competent Authority that issues it (Art. 4(2)). The Convention also provides that the Apostille must produce its effects in all other Contracting States without any further formality, including translation (Art. 3(1)).
  • 313 This does not prevent authorities in the State of destination from rejecting the underlying public document on the basis of their domestic law because it is in a language other than the language of the State of destination, or that it is not accompanied by a translation.
  • 314 Keeping in mind that an Apostille is designed to produce effects abroad, Competent Authorities should draw up Apostilles in English or French in addition to their official language (if not English or French) (C&R No 90 of the 2009 SC).

In summary, although there may be a requirement to translate the underlying document in to the language of the State of destination, a matter that should always be confirmed with your legal counsel in the destination country, there should be no reason to translate the Apostille as this would be in direct breach of the Hague Apostille Convention.

Should you require that translation, we can offer this service, and you can find out more about that here.

If you need your document legalised, we are able to quickly obtain apostilles from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and any further legalisation you may need for countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention, and you can read more about that here.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today!