If you have decided you want to follow in the footsteps of Emily and move to Paris (or somewhere else in France), congratulations, this is going to be an exciting journey for you. It’s also going to turn you into someone who is exceptionally good at administration or someone who wants to cry every time they see an official piece of paper.
There’s no denying that compared to other countries, the French administration is definitely on another level. The French themselves have a love-hate relationship with paperwork. They hate how much paperwork there is, but they also seem quite content to just put up with it and play the game.
Many systems are becoming paperless in France, but there are still some old fashioned conventions that are slow to evolve. For example, people still commonly pay for groceries with cheques, a method of payment that went out of favour in many countries in the early 2000s.
When you are applying for residency here in France, don’t be surprised if the administration officer enters a meeting with you while holding a manilla folder filled with papers. This is most likely your dossier, yes, it’s a physical thing, and sometimes there isn’t a digital copy of any of the information contained inside it.
More than 50% of France’s total GDP is spent on government administration. The French, for lack of a better word, love paperwork, but they do prefer if that paperwork is in French, so how on earth do you get your stuff translated so you can enter this paper-filled society? Read on to find out.
Who is allowed to translate my documents?
If you need to submit a document to any branch of French administration, it will need to be a ‘Sworn’ translation. This means that it has been translated by a government recognised translator. So although you might have a friend who’s pretty good with languages, you can’t get them to translate your documents in return for a couple of bottles of Chablis.
Sworn translators in France are known as ‘Traducteur Assermenté.’ These are trusted translators who have gone through a long process to prove that they are reliable enough to cite that they have translated true information. They’re similar to a Justice of the Peace or a Notary, and they’re on a special court-appointed list.
How do I get my documents translated into French?
To get your documents translated into French, you will need to first find a sworn translator. A list of translators can be found on the official French government website.
Although there is a government list of translators, there are loads of online translators who can perform the task as well. It’s just important that you know what kind of translation you need. For some things in France, you can just submit a general translation; this has been translated by a sworn translator. Other times you need an ‘Apostille Translation,’ this is still a translation that has been done by a sworn translator, but it also has a special stamp of authenticity.
How much will it cost?
The answer to this question really depends on a lot of things, like how many pages you need to be translated, if the translation needs to be apostilled, and what language the original document is in.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere between 40€ and 60€ depending on the number of pages. The cost could be higher if you need it to be delivered as a physical copy or if you require a fast turnaround. If you have the luxury of time, it’s worth shopping around to find a translation service that’s right for you.
It also might take a while to find a translation service online if you don’t actually speak French. You might think it’s a little strange that people who translate things into French only have their websites available in French, and yes, you are right, that is weird, but it’s slowly changing.
How many copies should I get?
As I said earlier, French administrators love paper, and they usually prefer to have the original copies of the transitions and not photocopies of them. If you know you are going to need the same document for a few appointments, it might be a good idea to get a translation made for each appointment; otherwise, you might have an administrator take the copy from you and then you will be left without one for your next appointment.