No assumptions in translation. We translate what is in the original document, we cannot alter it in any shape or form, nor we can use it to do another translation, assuming the differences its original document would have from the one we’ve got.
This happened to me. I had a client who needed several documents translated. The client provided me with all documents for translation, but one was missing. This document was very similar to one of those sent for me to translate. According to the client, only the name would change. I understand the question, and why the client thought I could do it, but here is why I didn’t…
According to AUSIT Code of Ethics, we shall do our job according to our professional capabilities and always preserving the meaning of the original message and being faithful to its content. This means that, when we translate a document we must translate the message within that document. If we are changing that message, then we are not being accurate.
The client thought the other document would be the same, only changing the name of the person for whom it was being issued. But that is an assumption, the person that issues the second document may use different words, and then we would have an original with a different message from the translated document.
Certified translations always carry our stamp and signature. That means, we certify that the translation was done to the best of our professional skills and it is faithful to the original. Usually, I print a copy of that original in the verse of the page, as a proof of that statement. If we don’t have that original, we can’t have a proof we have done the translation correctly and that would go against our Code of Ethics. We can’t make assumptions, we can’t add bits and pieces. Our job is simply to convert the text in one language into another, in a professional, accurate and culturally acceptable way.