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Know the Difference: Translation vs. Evaluation

May 30, 2011

If you are not too familiar with the credentials evaluation industry, I feel like this is an appropriate subject to clarify at the beginning of this blog. So, without further ado, I would like to enlighten you on the matter. Below is a brief explanation of the difference between “translating” and “evaluating” academic/professional documents. It comes directly from Academic Exchange, a blog scribed by the wonderful people at the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute Inc. – a collaborator of my sponsor, SDR Educational Consultants, and fellow member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).

There seems to be a misconception about “translation” and “evaluation.” Some think the two are the same but that is not true. A translation is quite literally the word-for-word line-by-line interpretation of a document issued in one language into another language. An evaluation in the case of academic documents is an analysis of the learning acquired and recommending the equivalent U.S. education for that level of learning on the basis of a comprehensive review of the educational system of the country where studies were completed.

In most cases, documents that are not issued in English are to be accompanied by English translations in order to have them evaluated. Translations are prepared by individuals proficient in the languages they are translating and in most cases sit for licensing examinations that qualify them as certified/licensed translators.

Evaluations are prepared by individuals with experience in world education systems and knowledge of academic programs offered at various level of learning throughout the world. Here in the U.S. individuals preparing evaluations may be employed by a school, college or university or work at private credential evaluation agencies or educational organizations.

For a list of professional organizations and their member credential evaluation agencies visit the U.S. Department of Education website:

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