Certified translation in China: 9 cases when you need it

Everyone living abroad will at some point or another, be in need of certified translation services. Here is a list of situations when someone might need to call a recognized translation company such as HI-COM Translation.

  1. Chinese work permit

When applying for a work permit, there are several documents that need to be provided to the Chinese authorities, many of which need to be translated.

Some examples of documents that need to be translated are, letters of recommendation from former employers, curriculum vitae, diplomas & grade cards and criminal record notes.

Chinese visa translation

  1.  1000 Internships visa (China-France visa program)

This type of visa is issued to a limited number of young French students, allowing them to complete an internship in China. With this visa, it is only possible to obtain a work permit + category C resident permit. The duration of the internship ranges from 3 to 6 months, whilst only students enrolled at a French higher education institution can apply.

France considers an intern as a trainee, whilst China considers an intern as a short-term employee – therefore, the pay is mandatory. This visa allows student travel to and from China, which makes the procedure almost as complex as that of a work visa.

First step: Send the documents toa company located in China, in order for them to translate into Chinese. The two most essential documents in need of translation is the criminal record and the internship agreement.

Next step (similar to the work visa): Registration by the company at the Labor Bureau, the visa application in France and then definitive registration after the medical tests in China, as well as the application for the Resident Permit.

Download the 1000 Internships Visa Guide 


  1. Certified translation for a foreign bank loan application

As a part of a mortgage application in France, USA and other countries, it is necessary to provide multiple bank statements and payslips. However, people working in China will be required to translate these documents.

Payslips, account statements and Chinese tax records, are all required in order to get a bank loan. These documents must also be translated and certified by a certified translation agency.

chinese loan translation, certified translation

  1. Registration at International Schools

Often families want their children to be immersed in an international environment, in order to learn fluent English and prepare them for their expatriate lives. One solution is to enroll the child at an international school.

Here are the necessary documents needed to translate into English: proof of affiliation between parents and children, previous recommendations in mathematics, English, etc., certificate of any previous schooling (if applicable), and certificates of previous vaccinations.

international school application translation china, certified translation

  1. Health books for children

Any intervention in a hospital in China may require having a child’s health record to present to the doctors and facilitate their work.

However, a health booklet in English, German or French (or any other foreign language) will not be useful, which is why it is recommended to have the health book translated into Chinese beforehand in order to prevent problematic situations.

  1. Chinese Business license/Foreign Business license translation

When a company registered in China seeks to advertise abroad or to apply for any program abroad, it is necessary to have the commercial and foreign licenses translated.

For example, if you have a call for tenders from a European institution, it is necessary to have the commercial license translated into the relevant European language or English. A sworn translation is required.

If you need to translate your foreign business license to Chinese, certified translation is required.

  1. Mixed Marriage certificate certified translation

chinese marriage translation

Documentation for Franco-Chinese marriage:

The application is equivalent to civil marriage in many western countries but it is entirely administrative and there is no ceremony. It normally takes just under an hour, sometimes as little as 15 minutes.  

Firstly, you should obtain the forms and complete them before attending the Civil Affairs Bureau.  In some cities, there will be a special section for ‘international marriages’, which involves submitting an application with the following: 

• Both:  Single Status Certificate Original (for foreign citizen – issued by consulate/embassy). If applicable, finalized divorce papers or the death certificate of the ex-spouse if widowed (translated, if issued in foreign languages)

• Both:  Birth certificate (for foreign citizen the birth certificate shall be translated and translation shall be notarized by the notary of the country where the document was issued)

• Both:  Three official style photos of the couple together – generally, the civil affairs office provides this service.

• Both:  The fee

• Chinese person: Household registration book (hukou) 

• Foreigner: Passport

After the wedding, the marriage certificate will be translated, notarized (by Chinese notary), and legalized by the Chinese Legalization Authority). The final paper will be submitted to the Consulate/Embassy of the foreign citizen’s country for internal legalization in that country.

  1. Registration at a Chinese University

In order to register at a Chinese university, you will need to provide some documents translated from French/English into Chinese. Certified translation is required in this case.

There is often mention of a degree in partnership with foreign universities, which can facilitate procedures.

However, even within the framework of a partnership, the direct classical application is common and you may be asked to provide the translation of transcripts and diplomas in a digital format as well as the application file.

Also, it is necessary to present the original documents and translations on the day of arrival at the university.

university paper translation, certified translation

  1. Driving license in China

Unlike other countries, China doesn’t recognize international driver’s licenses so if you are brave enough to want to drive in China, you will need to get a Chinese driver’s license.  For this, you will need a certified copy of your overseas driver’s license to form part of your application and will also need to pass a theory driving exam.  Please find the process for obtaining a Chinese (Shanghai) license below:

driving license in china, certified translation

Step by step guide to driving license exchange in Shanghai, China

Example of Chinese-French driving license:

A French employer in China wishes to send his Chinese employee to France, who needs to be able to drive according to the French driving laws. In this situation, he must request a certified translation of the Chinese license into French.

After the translation, the Chinese license will be enrolled on the government site for verification.

If the translation seems ok to the authorities, a notification won’t be made and the employee will be able to drive in France with the translated license.

However, this equivalence is only valid for a certain length of time as a permit will become a virtual point license will only be valid for one year after. After that, it is necessary to exchange it for a French license.

Example of Foreign (non English Language)-Australian (Canadian, American) driving license:

Example of French tourists traveling in Australia (or other English-speaking countries driving on the same side as Australia).

It is simply necessary to have a certified translation of the French driver’s license into English and then keep it printed, to present it to the local authorities in case of control.

It’s that simple.

Difference between Sworn Translation in France and Notarized Translation in China

Sworn translation in France:

A sworn translation is made by a translator who has taken an oath before a Tribunal. The sworn translator affixes his stamp on the document and the document is then recognized as an official document by the courts and the administration.

A sworn translation is required for many administrative documents such as civil status documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.), extracts from the Chamber of Commerce, legal judgments, and diplomas.

Notarized translation in China:

A notarized translation is a document of Chinese origin and of an official nature.

A notarized translation in China is essentially the same as a certified translation, but with an extra step where the translation company must sign the declaration of certification in front of a notary.

It is important to note that the notary’s stamp and signature notarizes the certification but not the content of the translation itself, as it is unlikely that the notary will understand the language in which the original text is presented. Therefore, the translation agency is not liable for damages in case of incorrect translation.

If you’d like more information, feel free to get in touch as we’d be delighted to hear from you!

Other articles:

All you need to know about NAATI Certified translation 

Types of Legal translation 

Kate CHERNAVINACertified translation in China: 9 cases when you need it

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