General info

Translations and interpreting

The Czech Republic is full of individuals eager to offer their services as translators and interpreters; the number of skilled translators and interpreters is far more limited, though.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to find a good translator or interpreter. A professional organization does exist,  but there are no specific requirements for becoming a member and hence membership alone is no automatic guarantee of quality. Many translation agencies offer their services, some small and local, others with branches throughout the country, but it can’t be said that either one or the other is superior.

Perhaps the most useful advice is to try and find an individual or a company that specializes in the area you are interested in; at the very least, this suggests they are taking their job seriously and are knowledgeable about any specific terminology required (though you should definitely ask to see some examples of their translations).

The cost of a translation is usually calculated by the page, a ‘standard page’ (‘normostrana’) being a Word document of 1,800 characters including spaces.

Rates are not fixed by law, and vary considerably, depending on the source and target languages and the experience and ability of the translator. They can range anywhere from 250 CZK to somewhere over 600 CZK per page. In addition, surcharges may be made for such things as certified translations, express work, translations requiring some expert knowledge of the subject of the text, weekend translations, and so on.

Certified translation and interpretation

It may happen that for some purpose – translation of a birth certificate, for example, or interpreting at a wedding ceremony – you’ll need the services of a ‘court-appointed interpreter’ (‘soudní tlumočník’) or “certified translator” (‘soudně ověřený překladatel’).

Individuals who are authorized to use this title have been approved as official interpreters/translators to and from a specific language and are registered as such by the Ministry of Justice.

You can use this online registry from Chamber of Court Appointed Translators and Interpreters to select individuals according to the language required and the region where they are registered. Or one of the language agencies in the city, doing both regular and certified translations:

Language Centre Correct

Translations, interpreting, language services

  • Kozí 2, Brno
  • 777 99 66 90
  • info@jc-correct.com
  • website

Language Hub

Centre of Language Excellence.

  • Moravské nám. 3, 602 00 Brno
  • 544 212 355
  • info@language-hub.org
  • website

Authentication of copies

For many official transactions you’ll need to have copies of documents notarized, i.e. confirmed legally as exact copies of originals. Or, when signing official documents you may have to have your signature notarized.

In these and similar situations you are faced with a simple, if bothersome, task: take the original document and visit the office of any state-authorized notary (‘notář/notářka’) where the necessary procedure will be carried out speedily and for a standard rate.

There are many notaries in Brno. For English-speaker customers, we usually recommend:

You can also visit a CzechPoint office at any post office with the original document to make a copy and get your documents authorized. You can just ask for “vidimace – ověřování kopie listiny“. See more details about the CzechPoint services here.

The CzechPoint service

Most of Czech post offices are a contact place for the CzechPoint service which is a platform for assisted access to the public administration system.

This means you can get certified extracts from a number of public administration information systems such as Criminal Register and Land Register. You can also have your signature verified there.

Expats often need an Extract from the Criminal Register (‘výpis z rejstříku trestů’) and a verified signature or authenticated copy. Let’s take a closer look at these:

Extract from the Criminal Register

You will have to produce one of the following identity documents to obtain an extract:

  • a valid identification card (EU citizens);
  • a valid passport (nonEU citizens);
  • and a residence permit.

EU citizens (except for citizens of Italy, Portugal, Finland, the Netherlands, and Hungary) can be given an extract from their home country as well if they ask for it. You will need to ask for a ‘výpis z rejstříku trestů s přílohou’.

The process takes up to 25 days. You will be notified if it is ready sooner, though. Also you can pick your extract up at any other CzechPoint contact place.

The fee is 100 CZK.

Verification of a signature and authentication of documents

When it comes to verification, the CzechPoint service works like a notary. Anytime you need something notarized you can just go to your nearest post office (that has the CzechPoint logo). The same documents need to be produced:

  • a valid identification card (EU citizens);
  • a valid passport (nonEU citizens);
  • and a residence permit.

The clerk will attach a small document with information regarding who, where and when has done the verification. Then you will sign the document in front of them.

The process takes around 10 minutes and costs 30 CZK.

If you need authentication of your document (a copy) you can just bring the document with you (only documents in Czech or Slovak language will be verified) and ask for an authenticated copy (‘ověřená kopie’). The clerk will make a copy and put a stamp on it.

Again, the process takes around 10 minutes and costs 30 CZK + 3 CZK for a black and white copy.

You will find more information regarding the CzechPoint service and post services in general at the Czech Post website.

 Apostille

An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document.

Generally, public documents are of administrative nature or coming from an authority or a court. They can also be extracts from various registers and academic diplomas. The most common documents that require authorizations of this kind are birth or marriage certificates.

If you need to such certificate from your home country in the Czech Republic, you need to obtain the aforementioned Apostille, as well as a verified translation of the said document. The Apostille itself is governed by the Apostille Convention.

When do I need an Apostille?

First, find out whether both your home country and the country in which the documents are to be used are party to the Convention. Second, find out if the other country requires an Apostille in order to recognise the document – have a look at a list of countries where the Apostille Convention applies.

Where do I get an Apostille?

Each country that is party to the Convention must designate at least one authority that is entitled to issue Apostilles. Through the list of competent authorities for each member state you will learn that in the Czech Republic the competent authorities are the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How do I obtain an Apostille in Brno?

First, find out what kind of a document you need the Apostille for. If it is judicial documents including documents issued or certified by notaries you need to contact the Ministry of Justice. For any other documents please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You can apply either in person or by mail.

How to apply for Judicial documents

If you wish to apply in person, the office is in Prague so you will have to travel. Don’t forget to bring a stamp (‘kolek’) worth 100 CZK.

  • address: Na Děkance 3, Praha 2, 128 10
  • phone: +420 221 997 473 (or 927, 924, 910, 319)
  • email: moc@msp.justice.cz

If you wish to apply by mail you can send it to:

  • Ministerstvo spravedlnosti ČR
  • Mezinárodní odbor civilní
  • Vyšehradská 16
  • 128 10 Praha 2

Please attach the following:

  1. The country where the document will be used;
  2. Your address to which the document will be returned;
  3. Phone number, email address;
  4. The required number of stamps / ‘kolek’ worth 100 CZK for one verification;
  5. The document itself.

The processing time can take up to 30 days but it usually only takes 10-14 days if sent by mail.

How to apply for other documents

One of the most common cases you might need an Apostille for is obtaining a birth certificate. It consist of two steps.

Step 1: Registry – Administrative department (‘Správní oddělení’)

First you will need to obtain a verification of the birth certificate from the authority that issued it. In Brno it is the Registry (matrika). All you need to bring is the original of the birth certificate and your ID (and a residence card just in case).

Step 2: Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Legalization department (‘Odbor konzulárních činností – pracovní skupina legalizace’)

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs you can apply in person or by mail. In person, you need to travel to Prague. Remember to bring a stamp (kolek) worth 100 CZK.

  • address: Hradčanské náměstí 5, Praha 1, 118 00
  • phone: +420 224 182 188 (or 153, 527)
  • email: legalizace@mzv.cz

If you wish to apply by mail you can send it to:

  • Ministerstvo zahraničních věcí ČR
  • Odbor konzulárních činností – pracovní skupina legalizace
  • Hradčanské nám. 5
  • 110 00 Praha

Please attach the following:

  1. The country where the document will be used;
  2. Your address to which the document will be returned;
  3. Phone number, email address;
  4. The required number of stamps (‘kolek’) worth 100 CZK for one verification;
  5. The document itself.

You can visit the convention website to find out more about apostilles.