In German, there are several words for “marriage certificate”: Hochzeitsurkunde, Heiratsurkunde and Eheurkunde. “Eheurkunde” is the correct word to be used. In English though, it is out of question that it is marriage certificate. Before you can get married, you might have to obtain a marriage license (1). But since you have already married and have been handed a marriage certificate that you now need a translation for, let me say: Congratulations on your marriage!

Does one need a family register?

When marrying at a German registry office, the registrar will usually offer you a family register, a book to keep your civil status certificates on file. Such a family register is common in Germany. In the UK, Ireland or the USA, a book holding the family’s certificates is unusual. But you do not have to own a family register in Germany. It is just prettier to receive your marriage certificate in a book than being handed a piece of paper for your marriage.

Do I need a translation of my German marriage certificate?

At the risk of losing a few customers here: Have you married in Germany, you can apply for a multi-lingual copy of your marriage certificate at the registry office. Although this also costs something, it is usually cheaper than commissioning a translation into English. In some cases, it may be quicker to have the document translated. Both options are possible and of equal value.

What should be considered when translating a marriage certificate?

Have you married abroad, for example in Las Vegas, and need a certified translation of your English marriage certificate into German? This is where I come in as a translator. Important for certified translations are all the components of the document: Does it have a reverse side? Are there watermarks or an embossed seal? If I have not yet seen the document, such information is very important for me. If your certificate was issued in another foreign language besides English, this is not a problem. I then note in a comment on the translation that I only take into account the English terms. If handwritten entries are difficult to read, a brief explanation on your part, such as spelling out written names, helps to avoid unnecessary guesswork.

What about the Apostille?

In most cases, the German authorities require an Apostille (and its translation) for the marriage certificate. With the Apostille, the foreign authority in whose register the document was entered confirms the signature and function of the respective official who issued the marriage certificate. My tip: Get the Apostille together with the marriage certificate.

How can I have my marriage certificate translated?

The best thing to do is to send me a cost enquiry via the contact form and attach a scan or photograph of the relevant document(s) (encrypted if possible). I will then prepare a fixed price offer, which you only need to confirm. I will send you an invoice and start the translation once payment has been made. To confirm that I have done a translation from the original, you would now have to come to my office with the original document. However, I can also confirm a translation from the copy and send you the translation by post.

Get your marriage certificate translated

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