Although my articles are primarily written for IT professionals, the guidelines for document translation apply to anyone who needs to translate a diploma, certificate, attestation etc. into German.
The rule of thumb - in most cases all foreign documents must be translated. Germany is a country with only one official language - German.
The biggest exceptions known to me include two institutions:
- German embassies - they accept educational certificates and some other documents issued in English;
- ZAB (Zentrale Anerkennungsstelle für Bildungswesen) - they accept educational certificates issued in Arabic, English, French, Italian or Spanish.
If your diploma or other educational qualification is not in English, there are three options:
Ask your university to hand over your degree in English
Remember that German embassies/consulates also want to see the diploma attachment (also called supplement) with the list of subjects and grades. So ask your university to issue the diploma + supplement (you will get more than 2 pages for both documents);
Find a translator / translation agency in your city. However, the finished translation has no legal status. Therefore it must be additionally verified by a legal notary.
Remember that not every notary is authorized to translate documents. You need a notary who is authorized to certify documents.
Hire a German sworn translator* to translate your documents. Thanks Internet you can easily find dozens of sworn translators in Germany. Most of them have no problem translating documents without holding the original in their hands. Some translators (but not all) mark the finished translation as "translated from the copy". Translations done by sworn translator must be accepted by every German authority.
This weak point of option 2: even if the German embassy accepts the translation made in your country and certified by a notary, it is always possible that in the future some authority will not be satisfied with such a translation from your country. In this case you will have to translate the document(s) again in Germany.
My recommendation is: always have your documents translated by a sworn translator in Germany.
* - Sworn means that translator has taken the oath of allegiance to the German state. Therefore his/her translation does not need any further notarial verification. You can find sworn translators in particular (but not only!) over these two URLs: justiz-dolmetscher.de and bdue.de/en/bdue.
If you have found a translator somewhere else (via Google or through a recommendation), don't be surprised if they are not listed in the above resources. It is important that it is clear from his or her stamp that he or she is a sworn translator.
Tip 1: When choosing a translator, ask for the final amount of your translation cost. Not for a line or a letter or a number of characters, but exactly the price of your documents to be translated.
Tip 2: Let them specify whether the indicated price is with or without VAT (German: netto). Some translators are absent-mindedly or intentionally including VAT, which is not acceptable if the client is outside Germany. Also let them tell you whether it is possible to translate from a scan a copy sent by e-mail. For some e-mail translators, it is not possible for others - no problem.
I recommend that you clarify all this in written form, not by voice. In written form all agreements are fixed.
Might be useful for you: 3 ways to find a sworn German translator & translate your documents onlinemigwork.com/blog/find-translator.html