Corinne McKay has a blog entry summarizing how to translate official documents.
Just to consider one point: she, and one of her commenters, use graphics of the original logos in the translation.
Use a screenshot or graphics program to enhance your translations. Many official documents include stamps, university logos, seals, etc. If you use a screenshot or image manipulation program, you can copy these over onto your translation for a truly official-looking translation.
To my mind that’s not on: a translation should be purely text. On the few occasions I have OCR’d the original certificate, I have always deleted the logos. My reasoning was that a copy of a logo is not a translation. But in addition, am I authorized to use the image of a university seal or some such? And in addition, I can say whether something is a seal, a stamp, embossed etc.
The commenters assume it varies from country to country. Is that right? We have lots of sets of guidelines in Germany, where court-certified translators like myself exist, but I don’t feel bound by those guidelines unless I agree with them myself. Of course, when I do translate something, the translation usually goes abroad, so I need not fear the pettifogging ways of the German authorities.
I had a look at the book Translating Official Documents, by Roberto Mayoral Asensio (link to amazon.co.uk), St. Jerome Publishing 2003, and I could see no suggestion that seals should appear as graphics either. Perhaps the USA is the odd one out here?
LATER NOTE: After some discussion on Corinne’s website and in particular a footnote from the superbly credentialled Tom West (hi, Tom!), Corinne has revised her opinion on this point.