Dictionary definition of word

Translation of documents for immigration to Canada: Part 2

This is a continuation of Translation of documents for immigration to Canada: Part 1

Unacceptable affidavits and declarations


Accuracy of translated documents

Should the accuracy of the translation appear suspicious, IRCC reserves the right to request a retranslation by a different translator. However, due to the poor accuracy of a translated document, the entire file might lose credibility. Therefore, the counsel should read all the translations and request the translation to be amended, or use the services of another translator.

Based on my experience, it is highly recommended that documents be translated by translators living in Canada, except ID documents such as birth or marriage certificates.

Expiry of translated documents

A translation should be valid indefinitely unless the source document has changed or has expired. The only time the translation would expire and a new translation would be required is if the original document has expired or changed and the applicant submits a new one.

Applications submitted without translations

Applicants who submit required documents without accompanying translations will have their application returned as incomplete or refused, as immigration officers are not obligated to consider documents written in a language other than the state languages of Canada – English or French.

This fact is illustrated in 2017 FC 1105 (CanLII) I Gonzalez Zuluaga v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), wherein the Honourable Mr. Justice Martineau indicated that

[ 11] …the officer was entitled not to consider the property titles written in Spanish. In fact, the super visa application guide clearly indicates that documents in a foreign language must be translated into one of Canada’s official languages.

The Case of Hasan Gorgulu and lessons to be learned

The case of Hasan Gorgulu is a worthwhile example of why it is important to ensure the absolute accuracy of the translation of foreign documents.  Mr. Gorgulu’s case was brought before Federal Courts in January 2023. Gorgulu, a citizen of Turkey, applied for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) to IRCC. However, although he provided copies of these documents translated into English, they were not certified.  Therefore, Gorgulu’s application was refused because the IRCC officer stated that the English documents were not “certified to be accurate by the translator”.

Any documents submitted in a non-official language must be accompanied by an official language translation, complete with a translator’s declaration. The Guide also states that documents submitted only in non-official languages will not be considered, as the federal court states that IRCC personnel cannot be required to understand documents written in non-official languages, because IRCC personnel will not be able to assess the information in the document written in a foreign language, and after all the state languages of Canada are English and French.

Another interesting case to read is Wang v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1999 CanLII 8576 (FC).

Failing to provide a complete, accurate and certified translation of foreign-language documents into English or French can have dire consequences for an immigration application.

The final confusing issue is between “a certified or notarized document” and “a certified translation.”

A certified or a notarized document means that a notary public states this is a true copy of the original document.

A certified translation means that the translation is done by a professional translator, not a person himself.

I trust that the presented aspects will allow you to avoid having your documents translated several times and spare you from frustration, stress and waste of time and money when preparing a Canadian immigration application.  Always make sure to hire the right translator.

If you have any questions or need further clarification regarding your application, don’t hesitate to book an online consultation.