Translation of documents: Where and what to pay attention to

• Introduction

Wrongly translated documents could completely destroy your chances of working in Germany, or make it a nightmare. Because:

(1) Please rather do NOT expect that the medical license authorities (🇩🇪 die Approbationsbehörden) will think:

“Oh, probably the translator made a mistake”

But rather:

“This is an attempt of fraud”.

(2) For non-EU/EEA doctors: If the translation was not good enough, your curriculum might be judged not equal (🇩🇪 nicht gleich) when applying for the 🇩🇪 Gleichwertigkeitsverfahren (Article: 🇩🇪 The medical knowledge exam (🇩🇪 die Kenntnisprüfung) for doctors who studied in non-EU/EEA countries 🇪🇺 & how to avoid it).

• Where to translate outside of Germany?

The translation could be done outside of Germany in a translation office that is recognized by the German embassy in the country in which the embassy is located. In some countries, German embassies do not have a list of recognized translators. Try to email them asking what to do or ask in our main Facebook group what other persons from your country did. Ask them if they can authenticate your documents without a translation.

Some send their documents via email to recognized translators in Germany. I do not know how this is exactly done. Do you know?


💡 Most German embassies have a list of recognized translators. You cannot simply google a translator and send your documents to them; regardless how many positive reviews that have in Google Maps 🙃

Facharzt JETZT!

– What are the advantages of doing the translation outside of Germany?

(1) The main goal of the translation outside of Germany is to get all the relevant documents authenticated by the German embassy. Some German embassies do NOT accept authenticated documents in foreign languages if they are not firstly translated to German. Therefore, you would be forced to do the translation outside of Germany. Documents in English are usually accepted without a translation into German.

(2) You can apply for a German permanent medical license (🇩🇪 die Approbation) before coming to Germany. Many documents need to be translated into German (list of documents here). Through this application, you can save time and you can apply for a visa. We explained more about the reasons for applying for a German visa here: “🇩🇪 Applying for a German visa: How? Reasons for coming to Germany?“.

(3) The translation is in many countries in the world cheaper than in Germany.

Note: When the German embassy authenticates a translation, then the authentication (stamp) should be placed on the original and translated version, even if the two were stapled together!!!! To me, this does not make sense as both are stapled a special way together and this means that both are the same. But this is how some authorities see it.

A true story… click here if interested

💡 Your documents should be authenticated (🇩🇪 die Beglaubigung) in the country where you got the documents from.

Facharzt JETZT!

What are the disadvantages of doing the translation outside of Germany?

Some employees in some medical license authorities might nonetheless ask you in seldom cases to re-translate the documents in Germany, even if a German embassy authenticated them. 😱😱😱 You should get used to that because, for example, students from the same batch might get recognition of their documents and another group might not get it. Although all have similar documents.

But this is not the typical case. And again, getting the documents authenticated through the German embassy is NEVER a mistake. So, if the German embassy accepts to authenticate the documents WITHOUT a translation and you are not in a rush to apply for the approbation, then do the translation in Germany.

Tip: If you know in which of the 16 German medical license authorities ( die Approbationsbehörde) (List of them) you are going to apply for the German medical license ( die Approbation), check their websites and ask in Facebook groups, if they require translations in Germany.

• Where to translate inside of Germany?

If you want to translate the documents in Germany, here is how you can find officially recognized translators:

• Tips for having the perfect translation

(1) Do the translation ONLY through recognized translators

(2) Control the spelling of your personal information

(2) Even if you let a recognized translator do the translation, please re-read your personal information in the translation (for example, the spelling of your name, birthdate, birthplace, name of the university, etc.). No one can recognize such mistakes better than you! 😊

(3) Control the translation yourself

Moreover, probably, you will have learned some German the moment when you are doing the translation of your documents. Try to read the whole translation. Ultimately, the translator is not a medical doctor and some medical terms might be wrongly translated.

In a “true story”, an officially recognized translator wrote the following…

(4) Name should be written the same in all documents

Be sure that your name is spelled and written the same in all of your documents (Passport, university certificate, birth certificate, etc.).

(5) All documents should contain your birthdate

(6) Authenticate your documents

(4) If you did the translation outside of Germany, then letting the documents be authenticated in the country where these documents were created is a great thing and never a mistake. But in some authorities (like in Bavaria), doctors are asked to do the translation again in Germany. Please read the details here to avoid any painful surprises:

• This article was written with help from Mr. Teddy Kabel, admin of the largest English group for foreign doctors in Germany. Vielen Dank 🙂

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