Official translation in Costa Rica: what is it and who needs one?

Have you been asked to get an official translation of your document while in Costa Rica and have questions about it? e.g. what makes a translation official? who is allowed to issue one in Costa Rica? When are translations required to be official? Well, read on!

Official translations in Costa Rica are regulated by Law No. 8142 of 2001 on Official Translations and Interpretations and its related Regulation (Executive Decree No. 40824).

[In case you were wondering: Regulations rank just below laws in Costa Rica’s hierarchy of norms and are created to stipulate the finer details of a specific law].

Article 1, subparagraph g of Law No. 8142 stipulates that a translation is official when performed by an official translator authorized and duly appointed by the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Article 3 on the other hand, stipulates that all public institutions will require the official translation of any document issued in a language other than Spanish.  So most procedures dealing with a government institution will require one.  We often get requests to translate documents issued in the US for immigration purposes, for example.

Conversely, the same goes for documents issued in Costa Rica in Spanish that you need recognized in the US or abroad.  Only in this case the law (yes, No. 8142) requires an extra hurdle step: you’ll need to get the official translator’s signature authenticated.  Don’t worry! it’s not as bad as it sounds.  Almost.  You can read more about getting this authentication on our next post!

At karlssontranslations we have been duly appointed to offer official translations authorized by the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For quotes: email us a photo or scan of your documents and we’ll reply with a price & time estimate.  One page documents/certificates are usually ready within 24 hours.

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