Translations services in Berlin


At some point or other, you might need to search for translation services in Berlin to satisfy the requirements of German administration. Sometimes, it’s for really happy moments like getting married and other times to simply get a visa to be able to stay in the country.

This post is aiming at providing you with an overview of what translations services in Berlin can do for you and what bad practices you should avoid when dealing with them.

What do I need translations services in Berlin for?

Certified translations in Berlin are needed mostly for the following three offices:

  • Standesamt: The German civil registration office, which among other things is keeping track of births, marriages and deaths. It’s part of each municipality in the country.
  • Jugendamt:  The office in charge of all child and youth related affairs.
  • Ausländerbehörde: The foreigners registration office, which is in charge of providing legal documentation (and which you might be dreading ;))

Certified translations: what does it mean?

Since the public authorities need trustworthy sources to translate your documents from your native language to German, it’s not possible to translate the documents yourself or by any random translator found on the internet. Translations have to be done by professional translators who have proved their expertise in their particular field with an exam. They need to have also taken an oath in front of the local district court. Their stamps have official value in the face of the law and are able to provide certified translations in Berlin as per § 142 Sec. 3 Zivilprozessordnung (German code of civil procedure).

For which kind of life events?

If you are just arriving in Germany and applying for a visa, there are numerous documents that might need translations depending on your case, it’s often diplomas though. Further down the line, in case of marriage or children, the public authorities will require that from you. Obtaining a local driving license in exchange of your domestic one is also a good example. The German administration is pretty good at making clear when you need those, you just need to pay attention to the specific standards required then.

Outside the realm of German administration:

Translations are also useful when faced with other situations that are not directly linked to German administration. Translations can be done for things like real estate transactions, job offers, applying for subsidies (e.g Gründerzuchuss) or simply for your website. In these cases, certified translations are not needed but you will still need a reputable professional to make sure the translation is high-quality.


Best practices when picking translation services in Berlin

1- Picking native instead of bilingual

Although there are many talented bilingual translators on the market, it’s preferable to stick with native speaker of the target language for best and trustworthy results. A translation often needs a relevant cultural background to be sure that nothing gets lost in translation in the final document. For example: if translating from French to German, pick a native German speaker and vice-versa.

2- Double-check the double checker

This is especially important in the case of certified translations: simple human errors can lead to a flat-out rejection of your application and make you lose time and money in the process. A simple mistake in a case number or birth date is enough. Double-checking small details like this is important. Even professional translators can make mistakes.

3- Don’t just buy the stamp

Some people think that they can save money by translating the documents themselves and only “buy” the stamp from the certified translator. No need to pay for the time of the translator, just the stamp. This is not a best practice because it’s sometimes more complicated to correct your mistakes and to correct them to fit the required standards for the document. Results: loss of time and money there too.

4- Play the national league

Even if you have business in other cities that need certified translations, you can still use a local translator as the certification is recognized “Bundesweit” everywhere in German. That is good for you: you can continue to work with a translator you like or find a better or cheaper one is another city in Germany, if you are not satisfied with the offering in Berlin.

You can find a complete liste of certified translators on this database from the ministry of Justice.

5- Reputation and reviews

We all know it: it sometimes suck to have to put money into administrative steps instead of spending it on a nice weekend on the Ostsee. So one might be tempted to look for bargains and cheaper services.  Although this is a valid strategy, it’s more advisable to look for a reputable company instead. So don’t hesitate to ask around, look at Google/Facebook/Yelp reviews. On this front, SiB can safely recommend Red Tape Translation, which has built a solid reputation in the field of certified translation services in Berlin.

6- Go fast; go online

When you want a faster or more convenient way to translate your documents, you can turn to platforms like Lingoking which has a wide network of certified translators for a very broad set of cases; diploma, birth or marriage certificate, criminal records and a lot more. Simply search for the translation you need for your language to see a price right away. They then send you the certified translations in paper form through the post.

Good luck finding your perfect translator. Don’t hesitate to recommend your favorite in the comments.

Sources: 1, 2

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