one-stop shop for Japanese translation services in Japan
We serve as your one-stop shop for Japanese translation services in Japan. Our native speakers of Japanese and other languages provide superb translations to and from Japanese, with a particular focus on certificates, contracts, and business and financial documents.
At the Shomeisho Honyaku Center, we provide accurate certificate translations
with lower prices, faster delivery, and more accurate translation than anyone else!
Your translated document will include an official certificate of professional translation!
Certificates of Translation Issued by Our Company
The certificates of translation issued by translation companies serve to testify that the contents of translations are true to the original documents.
These certificates of translation feature the company’s official stamp, as well as the signature of the company’s representative. The certificate of translation is not, itself, an official document. However, there have been many cases where the recipient of documents considers a certificate of translation from the translation company to be part of the minimum requirements.
Most of the time, when submitting documents to institutions overseas, it is necessary to include a certificate of translation, indicating that the translation was done not by yourself, but by a translation company. Much of the time, the certificates of translation issued by our company are sufficient, but when submitting documents to overseas public institutions, financial institutions, or other similar institutions, it may also be necessary to acquire public certification. We can include a certificate of translation at no extra charge, for use when submitting documents to institutions either overseas or within Japan. Please let us know ahead of time if you will need a certificate of translation.
For foreign countries that use a registered translator system (such as Germany), attaching a certificate of translation from one of these registered translators is considered equivalent to notarization. However, Japan has no registered translator system; in some cases the certificate of translation provided by our company has been enough to meet submission criteria on its own, but in other cases it has not. Make sure to find out ahead of time what type(s) of certification will be needed for submission.
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Just send a photo of your certificate, shot with your smartphone or camera, via email below.
Contact: Takahiro Hoshima
Shomeisho Honyaku Center
(operated by Expressions, Inc.）
3F Nakamura Bldg., 2-54, Irie, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 921-8011, Japan
Tel. 076-220-6444 FAX. 076-220-6445
Notarization and Authentication from the Legal Affairs Bureau
When working or doing business overseas, there are many certificates that you will need to submit, and you can’t simply submit certificates issued in Japan as-is overseas. You must provide an official document that shows the details of the certificate, in either the language of the target country or in English (which serves as a generally accepted lingua franca). Certificates issued in Japan can be either official documents, or private documents issued by voluntary organizations. In either case, translations are considered private documents, so public certification of a translation is always necessary, regardless of the original type of certificate.
Private documents can receive public certification through notarization at a notary public’s office. However, when submitting a document to a public institution overseas, you usually must also receive authentication from the Legal Affairs Bureau and receive an apostille from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after notarization at the notary public’s office.
If you are submitting a document to a Hague Convention signatory country, after you finish official stamp procedures, you must then receive consular authentication from that country’s embassy or consulate in Japan. Note that there have been cases where having just an apostille was deemed insufficient by a recipient in a Hague Convention signatory country, so be sure to check beforehand what type of authentication is necessary for your document(s).
Apostilles are internationally accepted certifications used when submitting documents to overseas institutions; in Japan, they are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
When submitting documents issued by Japanese public institutions, banks, etc. to overseas institutions, these overseas institutions will often request a form of internationally accepted certification.
If the Recipient of the Document(s) to Be Submitted is in a Hague Convention Signatory Country:
Before submitting, you must acquire a certification known as an “apostille,” from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Apostille certification can be acquired for Japanese-language documents issued by Japanese public institutions, but for documents requested by public institutions in other countries, apostille authentication for the translations of the original documents will almost always be requested.
For example, when submitting documents to an overseas court of law, there have been cases where an English translation has been requested of the original Japanese family registry extract copy, and for that English translation to then, in turn, be certified.
If the destination country is one that uses a registered translator system, then if a registered translator performs the translation, it is considered equivalent to an official document. In this case, you may proceed directly to apostille acquisition through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or equivalent government body.
However, because Japan does not use a registered translator system, it is necessary to first receive authentication at a notary public’s office before acquiring an apostille through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because translated documents are all considered private documents. Following authentication, it is necessary to perform the procedures for certification of the notary public’s stamp at the District Legal Affairs Bureau, after which it is finally possible to perform apostille procedures through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Note: “Certification of the notary public’s stamp” refers to certification issued by the head of the District Legal Affairs Bureau under whose jurisdiction the notary public’s office falls, stating that the private document(s) were in fact stamped at that notary public’s office as claimed.
Apostilles are a form of certification valid within countries that have signed the Hague Convention. Roughly half of all countries and territories worldwide are Hague Convention signatories.
However, even in signatory countries, forms of certification other than apostilles may be requested. Please check beforehand with the institution to which you plan to submit documents.
→ List of Hague Convention Signatory Countries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)
If the Recipient of the Document(s) to Be Submitted is in a Hague Convention Non-Signatory Country:
When submitting documents to countries that have not signed the Hague Convention, such as China, Canada, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, or Indonesia, it is necessary to use forms of authentication other than apostilles: official stamp confirmation and consular authentication.
After the original document is translated, it must undergo authentication at a notary public’s office, and the process is the same up through certification of the notary public’s stamp at the District Legal Affairs Bureau.
Following that, when going through authentication procedures with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, request an official stamp confirmation instead of an apostille.
After official stamp confirmation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the document must be taken to the embassy or consulate in Japan of the country to which the document will be submitted, in order to acquire consular authentication.
This is a certificate confirming that the official stamp, used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the original certification document issued by the Japanese government (an official document), was in fact stamped.
When undergoing non-apostille certification authentication, it is necessary to go through official stamp confirmation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consular authentication with the destination country’s embassy or consulate in Japan.
Documents that have received official stamp confirmation must then receive consular authentication from the embassy or consulate in Japan of the country to which the document will be submitted.
If you receive an apostille, which is a type of certification issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then there is no need to receive consular authentication from the embassy or consulate; the document can simply be submitted overseas as-is with the apostille enclosed.
“Notarization” refers to the process by which a private document — rather than an official document issued by a public institution — receives certification from a notary at notary public’s office (a public institution), stating that the document was signed and/or stamped by the person whose name is signed and/or stamped on the document.
“Authentication” refers to third-party certification stating that, when the head of a municipal government or a register of deeds has officially stamped an official document or a document notarized as above, a third party outside of the public institution certified that the official stamp was authentic.
There have been cases where, for document applications to overseas institutions, the institution in question requested that a private document, such as a contract, be submitted (translations of official documents are considered private documents).
As an initial procedure, the signatures and/or stamps on private documents (such as translations) are notarized at a notary public’s office. Having a private document notarized at a notary public’s office makes it equivalent to an official document. Note: When submitting translated documents domestically, notarization from a notary public’s office may be sufficient in some cases.
When submitting a document to a public institution or financial institution overseas, it is necessary to receive authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or authentication from that country’s embassy in Japan.
For public institution authentication, you must first receive certification of the notary public’s stamp at your District Legal Affairs Bureau, then…
→ If the recipient of the document to be submitted is in a Hague Convention signatory country, you can acquire an apostille from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
→ If the recipient of the document to be submitted is in a Hague Convention non-signatory country, you must receive official stamp confirmation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then also receive consular authentication from that country’s embassy or consulate in Japan.
The Notarization Service Process
We Translate the Document
• A certificate of translation can be included at no extra charge.
We Handle Notarization Procedures for Private Document Authentication at a Notary Public’s Office
• The notarization processing fees paid to the notary public’s office generally cost ¥11,000–17,000.
We Handle Procedures for Certification of the Notary Public’s Stamp at the District Legal Affairs Bureau
We Handle Procedures to Acquire an Apostille through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• If you are submitting a document to a Hague Convention non-signatory country, then after receiving official stamp confirmation, it is also necessary to receive consular authentication from that country’s embassy in Japan.
We Send the Document to You
Translations of Certified Copies of Registers and Company Statutes
When conducting business with, or establishing collaborations with, companies overseas, it’s not uncommon for them to request that your company provide a certified copy of your register.
The certified copies of registers issued by the Japanese government are official documents, so you may acquire apostilles from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for them, or have them officially notarized through a process known as “official stamp confirmation.”
However, because the translation of your certified copy of your register is considered a private document, it is much less straightforward to have that notarized.
(Note that company statutes, letters of attorney, etc. are all considered private documents, whether in the original Japanese or translated to another language.)
In order for a private document to be regarded as being equivalent to official documents, it is necessary to go through a process known as “authentication of a private document” at a notary public’s office.
“Authentication of a private document” refers to when a notary certifies that the signature and stamp (or written name and stamp) in a document are authentic, and were applied by the person in question.
A notary public’s authentication certifies this signing process. On the other hand, in no way does a notary public’s authentication prove that the contents of a document are true or accurate — at most, it indicates only that the document is not inherently unlawful or legally invalid.
After having a private document authenticated at a notary public’s office, it is necessary to then receive certification of the notary public’s stamp from the Legal Affairs Bureau under whose jurisdiction that notary public’s office falls.
“Certification of the notary public’s stamp” refers to official certification stating that the private document authenticated at the notary public’s office was authenticated under the authority of the head of the Legal Affairs Bureau under whose jurisdiction that notary public’s office falls, and stating that the stamping was in fact performed.
After receiving certification of the notary public’s stamp from the Legal Affairs Bureau, the document can finally go through the procedures to receive an apostille from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at which point it is finally considered an official document.
Note: Signatory countries to the Hague Convention consider a document notarized through just application for an apostille. However, when submitting documents to non-signatory countries, it is necessary to first go through official stamp confirmation procedures, then to go through a procedure known as consular authentication at that country’s embassy (or consulate) in Japan. Even in signatory countries, consular authentication may be necessary, depending on the type or contents of the document(s) in question, so be sure to check beforehand.
The following is an example of a Japanese translation
Original Text from Aeon
Friendship is about loyalty, not laws. Should it be policed?
My great-great-uncle, Matt Plunkett, was the sheriff of Deadwood, South Dakota, back in 1906, when Buffalo Bill Cody came to town. One picture shows moustachioed Sheriff Plunkett with Buffalo Bill next to a statue of Wild Bill Hickok, who’d been killed decades earlier over a poker dispute in a local saloon. According to the caption, Buffalo Bill was in Deadwood to ‘pay his respects’ to a friend and fellow gunslinger, though why my uncle was there I don’t know. Perhaps to keep the peace.
Friendship is the most lawless of our close relationships. That’s why it’s been the dominant human relationship on which today’s digital world, a 21st-century Wild West, has been won. Digital social networks are built on the sharing of private information – just like real-world friendships. The technology encourages us to share, both about ourselves and the people around us. Who is likely to comprise the largest category of people we interact with every day? Friends, from the silver to the gold, as the old song goes, and many other types of metal too.
Friends are tied to each other through emotions, customs and norms – not through a legally defined relationship, such as marriage or parenting, that imposes obligations. Anybody can become friends, we believe, and more is always merrier. But with the advent of the digital domain, friendship has become more fraught. Online and off, we can share information about our friends without their permission and without legal restriction (except for slander and libel).
Information shared between friends can wind up being seen by people outside the friendship network who are not the intended audience. One example is the Harvard Facebook group scandal a few years ago when racist, offensive content allegedly meant as inside jokes between admitted students was treated as grounds for revoking these students’ offers of admission to Harvard University.
Sometimes we share a friend’s information unwittingly. For instance, in-person confidences can inadvertently find their way to the public domain; all it takes is one careless email or the wrong privacy setting on a Facebook post. As we – and eventually our children – apply for jobs, prospective employers will likely use social media or other available digital data trails to learn about us and judge us. Therefore, what our friends reveal about us matters a great deal.
Our online friendships can even get us in legal trouble. Digital social networks are already used to detain people trying to cross into the United States when statements by friends in their network are deemed by border agents to be suspicious or threatening. Adding to the challenge, digital life and the oversharing it entails has, in recent years, given rise to a roving army of monitors and spies. Hired by tech companies to prey on the lawlessness that friendship allows, a sort of friendship KGB imposes systemic surveillance and top-down control of our online lives.
Everyone knows that Facebook uses our information to control its interactions with us, including what shows up in our newsfeed from our friends. Fewer recognise the third-party companies typically behind the scenes of our interactions, often using our information in unknown and uncontrollable ways in pursuit of their own goals, such as when data about Facebook users’ friends made its way to the Cambridge Analytica political consulting firm (without those users’ knowledge or permission) and was then used to micro-target political ads.
Amid all this chaos, friendship itself remains unregulated. You don’t need a licence to become someone’s friend, like you do to get married. You don’t assume legal obligations when you become someone’s friend, like you do when you have a child. You don’t enter into any sort of contract, written or implied, like you do when you buy something.
As teenagers or adults, friends can wind up in regulated areas – roommates, business partners, co-parents, lovers. But from the legal perspective, friendship itself has historically been largely undefined. Notably, there are roughly 210 published opinions by the US Supreme Court (since 1790) that contain the word ‘friendship’. By contrast, more than 1,000 contain the term ‘marriage’. Most of the ‘friendship’ cases don’t even discuss the personal, quotidian experience of being friends. They are about international treaties, or boats whose name includes the word ‘friendship’, or situations when friendship impermissibly shapes the execution of someone’s legal duties, or other situations far removed from whom you play with at recess or text on a bad day.
But finally, we’re seeing a legal definition of friendship start to take shape. Because of the lawless nature of friendship and the lightly regulated space of social media, many jurisdictions have found it necessary to pass laws that address cyberbullying. On their face, these laws don’t set out what you need to do to be a friend; they set out what you are not allowed to do because it makes you a bully. However, if you imagine the opposite of bullying, you can see what the law thinks it means to be a friend.
Let’s take New Hampshire, where I used to be a legal aid lawyer representing youth clients and am now a law professor. The state’s Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Act (2000) for students in primary and secondary school says that bullying happens when a student does one or more of the following to a peer:
- Physically harms a pupil or damages the pupil’s property;
- Causes emotional distress to a pupil;
- Interferes with a pupil’s educational opportunities;
- Creates a hostile educational environment; or
- Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.
Cyberbullying occurs when this behaviour takes place through the use of electronic devices.
Let’s flip it. To be a friend, a student would need to:
- Physically support or improve a peer or their property;
- Cause emotional comfort to a peer;
- Support or enhance a peer’s educational opportunities;
- Create a positive educational environment; or
- Substantially protect the orderly operation of the school.
To engage in cyberfriendship, this behaviour would need to take place electronically.
The law in New Hampshire doesn’t purport to turn students into friends, but implicit in bullying prevention is friendship promotion. And friendship promotion is already underway in schools through the use of educational technologies that promote social and emotional learning and curricula that award points for prosocial behaviours.
Friendship promotion is a positive goal in theory but it shouldn’t be dictatorial. If you could be punished for not being a friend rather than for being a bully, that would undermine the lawlessness that makes friendship so generative.
We still take the lawlessness of friendship for granted. Going to the town hall to get a ‘licence to friend’? Preposterous! Having to pay support to an ex-friend after the friendship ends? Ridiculous! But the instances of friendship policing we do see have powerful implications for individual friendships and also for the institution of friendship itself. Even if you are sympathetic to the use of friendship policing in a particular situation – for example, if you think that racist statements justify revoking university admission – it is worth reflecting separately on the structure and desirability of friendship policing itself.
We continually strive to protect our freedoms, but the lawless nature of friendship must be protected, too. As friendship becomes less lawless, more guarded by cybersurveillance and the uncle Matts of the world, it might also become less about loyalty, affinity and trust, and more about strategy, currency and a prisoner’s dilemma of sorts (‘I won’t reveal what I know about you if you don’t reveal it about me’). Let’s keep paying our respects to those bonds of friendship that are lawless at heart, opening new frontiers within ourselves.
This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.
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