TN 31 (01-11)
GN 00301.430 Items Included in the Translation of Most Documents
A. Procedure for items common to most documents
Translate the items shown below on all documents. Enter “not shown” or N.S. in the appropriate space when the items listed below (except type of document) are missing.
1. Indicate the type of document
Show the type of document submitted: birth, marriage, death certificate, and any others.
Do not assume a document to be a specific type of certificate unless actually shown as such on the evidence. For example, a statement showing an individual was born on a specific date is not a birth certificate simply because it gives a date of birth. These types of documents are “statements” or, if a general-type certificate, “certificate.”
Take care to identify a marriage as a proxy ceremony, if applicable.
2. Provide the name and address of the issuing agency
Show the complete name and address (including the country and the city or town and province or state) of the agency actually issuing the document.
Example: Office of Civil Registry, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico; or St. Vincent de Paul Church, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Be particularly careful to translate this information accurately for Mexican birth records since this information is a critical factor in establishing the probative value of such records.
When submitting a copy of any certificate, record the agency preparing the copy as the issuing agency. For information on legalized or notarized copies, see GN 00301.420.
Show the name and address of the agency that issued the original record as shown on the copy as part of the translation.
Take care in translating documents based on census or population records. These serve as a basis for various types of documents. Do not show the civil registry office as the issuing agency except when it actually issued the certificate.
3. Date the document was issued
Show the issue date of the document, as shown on the evidence. The date of a subsequent authentication by another source, such as a minister or bishop, is not the issue date.
Do not include issue dates for souvenir documents (i.e., the type usually issued at the time an event occurs) unless the document is actually shown to have been issued on a specific date.
When a souvenir document is translated without an issue date, describe its general appearance in a “translator's note” if the translation is made from the original document and not from a photocopy.
4. Record the source of information
Include the source of the information, if shown, on the evidence. When the source record was a register, include the book, volume, and page numbers, as shown.
Example: “birth register for 1901, volume 3, page 6”.
It is common for civil authorities to issue general certificates described as follows: “I, the undersigned, certify that John Smith was born June 13, 1901.”In such cases, do not assume that the source is the birth register. Indicate “N.S.” when the source is not shown.
Church records can present a problem in this area also. The Status Animarum (Parish Membership Register) is the basis for many types of certificates. This register is the source and not any other register. Do not identify it as a baptismal register, marriage register, or other register, when it is given as the source for the record.
5. Date of the record
Base information on the record’s date from the document’s content, not on any assumptions.
Enter only the date from the source record that clearly shows the event as actually recorded in the record.
Do not assume the date an event occurred is the record date; that the year entered in a register is the record date; or that the document issue date is the date of record.
NOTE: For information on recording dates on Mexican records, see GN 00307.675.
Include entries based on a reconstruction of an earlier record in “Remarks.” (For information concerning delayed and reconstructed records, see GN 00301.415.)
6. Title of the official executing the document
Show the full title of the individual issuing the document (registrar, mayor, judge, or other official), not that of the individual who subsequently verified a signature or the authenticity of the document.
B. Procedure for court decrees
1. Extract translations of court decrees
SSA translators who are claims representatives and translators in the Translation and Priority Workload Unit (TPWU) extract translations from court decrees. Include all of the pertinent information from the decrees including the following:
The name and address of the court issuing the decree.
The type of decree (i.e., final divorce, interlocutory decree, annulment, adoption, or other decree).
The issuing date of the decree.
Names and addresses of the parties to the legal action.
If one or both parties did not appear in person before the court, show:
The name of each absent party;
Who represented the absent party;
How service was performed for the notice of the impending action on the absent party; and
Whether the absent party filed a signed statement consenting to the action.
The exact wording of the portion of the decree indicating the divorce action, the marriage annulment, the child adoption, or other issue.
Any restrictions placed on either or both of the parties.
Whether the decree was final upon issuance or depended upon other action (publication, filing a record, or other action.)
2. Verbatim translations of court decrees
Exercise discretion and translate any other portions of the decree that might be pertinent to the claim.
Prepare a verbatim translation if you believe the extract translation would be insufficient to make a determination on the claim. Similarly, the claims technical examiner (CTE) may request a verbatim translation when he or she believes the extract translation is insufficient to adjudicate the claim.