The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently decided “ through a resolution “ that every document written in a foreign language which requires to be legalized should have an associated certified translation.
In a trademark filing process, for example, a document which has to be legalized has to be certified by a Public Notary first. Then this document is submitted to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs which grants the legalization or not. Up to now, a simple French translation was sufficient for any document written in Spanish or in English for example. From now on, any document (power of attorney, agreement¦) which does not exclusively contain a French version must be translated by a certified translator, in other words by a translator registered in the Registry of the Court of Appeal.
No need to precise that this additional formality gives rise to substantial costs which have to be included in the total expected costs of any trademark filing procedure. In the Middle East where legalization of documents is generally compulsory, the problem is even more important as a certified French translation of an Arabic document is fairly expensive.
One of our agents in this region offered to handle the translation in Arabic of the document to solve the problem. We can thus send him a French document that will be translated after being legalized and avoid the costs of a certified translation. One may wonder why the French administration has become so protective and scrupulous towards foreign documents.
This may be because it came up that the translators have been less busy in the past few years or because law firms have been losing interest in certified translations which used to be compulsory for any legal document. As a matter of fact, our advice would be to use general mandate mostly to avoid multiple legalizations even if it entails working with a single local agent.