A voluntarily declaration of facts written down and sworn by the declarant before an officer authorize to administer oaths, such as a Notary Public.

Affidavit of Accuracy

Statement of completeness and accuracy signed by the translator or a translation agency representative. This statement, signed if, required, before a Notary Public, attests hat the translator or translation company representative believes the target-language text to be an accurate and complete translation of the source-language text.

Affidavit of Foreign Law

Memorandum on the applicable foreign law. In French certificat de coutume. Usually drawn up by an attorney. Such a certificate may be required by a French mairie, a French Notaire or a bank for the purpose of estate settlement (see Devolution of Estate). It is created based on the attorney’s examination of the individual’s documentation (divorce decree, death certificate of spouse, etc.,) and verification and citation of the applicable marriage laws of the United States. Also said “affidavit of law” and more rarely “foreign legal opinion”.

Affidavit of Kinship

Common translation —with “affidavit of next of kin” or “affidavit of heirship”— of the French acte de notoriété and certificat d’hérédité. It includes the names, residences and relationship of all next of kin. (See Devolution of Estate).

Affidavit of Single Status

Sworn statement which affirms that the person named is not already legally married and is free to marry under the laws of the country that requires the affidavit. Also called “affidavit of marital status”, “certificate of celibacy”, “certificate of non- impediment” and “certificate of freedom to marry” Need to be signed before a notary public. In French certificat de celibate.


Department of State authentication attached to a document for international use for the signatories of The Hague Convention which abolishes the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents (see Legalization of public documents).

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The sole function of the apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document, the capacity in which the person signing the document acted and the identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document.
U.S. vital records (birth, marriage, death) and judgments of divorce submitted to the French Consulate to be transcribed and registered, must be accompanied by an apostille.
An apostille is issued by the Secretary of State. It is a one-page document embossed with a seal and showing the facsimile signature of the official issuing the certificate.

Back Translations

Back translations are sometimes done when translating Informed Consent Forms to assure that the translation is accurate. The translation, for example into Chinese, is translated back into English by an independently acting translator. This English translation is then compared to the original English. Of course the wording is going to be different but every important piece of information must be accurate in the back translation. If a clinical trial is complicated or has associated risk, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Sponsor may require it.

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A project manager will then assess the two versions to see if they are consistent and that nothing was lost in translation. This is often done both at the level of the translation agency and in the research entity that requested the back translation. Back translations provide additional quality assurance.

Back Translations/Legal

Translation of a translated text (target text) back into the
language of the original text (source text), made without reference to the original text. This extra quality control can be very helpful to detect an inaccuracy, an omission or a mistranslation not caught neither by the editor or the proofreader. It is a means to verify a translation for a client who only speaks the source language of the original text. Also used in the field of medical research for Informed Consent Forms.

Campus France

Operator of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research. The main objective of Campus France is to simplify French procedures for the reception of foreign students and researchers and to improve the conditions of their reception and stay.

Certificate of Accuracy

See Affidavit of Accuracy

Certificate of Comparability

Statement issued by a committee of the ENIC-NARIC network,
which recognizes the education level of the applicant, thereby allowing him/her to continue studies at the level deemed to correspond to the training completed outside France in relation to the courses offered at the institution. In French attestation de comparabilité.

Certificate of Non-Appeal

Document attesting that neither party filed an appeal within the required delay and that the divorce is final and irrevocable.

Certified Translation

In the US, a certified translation is a translation which is followed by a statement of completeness and accuracy (called an affidavit of accuracy or Translator’s Certification) signed by the translator along with his or her contact information. If requested, it can be signed before a notary public. The notary seal assures that the signature is that of the person whose name is listed as the translator and who has appeared before the notary. The notary public does not vouch for the accuracy of the translation but instead serves only to prove that the translator is the person who signed the document.
Any translation that requires an apostille must be signed before a notary public.
Note than more and more translations signed before a notary public who understands French language are accepted in France.

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In contrast to many other countries, there is no federal or state licensing or certification for translators in the United States. There are some credentials available to translators working in some language pairs in this country, but they do not carry the same weight–in the marketplace or in the translation community–as federal licensing or certification in countries,

like France, where official translation, among them vital records (actes d’état civil) are carried out by sworn translators (see traducteurs assermentés).

Civil Code

Drafted by a commission of four eminent jurists
under Napoléon I in 1804, the French civil code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion and made property rights absolute. The Code also reinforced patriarchal power by making the husband the ruler of the household. It strongly influenced the law of many of the countries formed during and after the Napoleonic Wars and also developing countries outside of Europe, especially in South America, Africa and the Middle East (see World Map of the Legal Systems) that were attempting to modernize their countries through legal reforms. See also: Civil Code translations of Georges Rouhette.

Civil Law

System of law that emerged in continental Europe beginning in the Middle Ages and that is based on codified law drawn from national legislation and custom as well as ancient Roman law. Civil law is the most widespread system of law in the world (see World Map of the Legal Systems). It is also known as European Continental law.

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In this system, the central source of law that is recognized as authoritative result from codifications in a constitution or statute passed by legislature. Civil law systems mainly derive from the Roman Empire, and more particularly, the Corpus Juris Civilis issued by the Emperor Justinian ca. 529AD. This was an extensive reform of the law in the Eastern Empire, bringing it together into codified documents. Civil law today, in theory, is interpreted rather than developed or made by judges. Only legislative enactments (rather than judicial precedents) are considered legally binding.
Note that droit civil refers most usually, in France, not to the French legal system as a whole (common law) but simply to the law of obligations, i.e., to tort law and contract law. Hence, tort and contract rules are set forth in France primarily in the code civil. A French lawyer refers to the Code civil on a regular basis.


Principle stating that a court of one country or jurisdiction will give effect to laws and judicial decisions of another country or jurisdiction, not as a matter of obligation but out of “courtesy”, i.e. deference and mutual respect. Under the principle of comity, a divorce obtained in another country under the circumstances described above receives “full faith and credit” in all other states and countries that recognize divorce.

Common law

System of law that emerged in England beginning in the Middle Ages and is based on case law and precedent rather than codified law.

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Common law is generally uncodified. This means that there is no comprehensive compilation of legal rules and statutes. While common law does rely on some scattered statutes, which are legislative decisions, it is largely based on precedent, meaning the judicial decisions that have already been made in similar cases. These precedents are maintained over time through the records of the courts as well as historically documented in collections of case law known as yearbooks and reports. The precedents to be applied in the decision of each new case are determined by the presiding judge. As a result, judges have an enormous role in shaping American and British law. Common law functions as an adversarial system, a contest between two opposing parties before a judge. A jury of ordinary people, without legal training, decides on the facts of the case. The judge then determines the appropriate sentence based on the jury’s verdict.


Demande d’admission préalable – Procedure for admission for International students outside of the EU and EEA area who, after high school or one-year higher education, wish to enroll to a French university. in French.


The DELF (Diplôme d’études en langue française) and DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française) are the Ministry of Education’s official French-language diplomas. They certify a level of skill in French so that you can enter French higher education. If you hold either of the aforementioned diplomas, you will be exempt from the assessment test (TEF – Test d’évaluation du français) required to enter schools and universities. You may take the test for the diplomas in your own country. There exist approved examination centers across 150 countries. For more information about the tests, check Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP)

Department of State

Office of the Secretary of State in New York State —not to be
confused with the Secretary of State and the Department of State at the federal level. The Secretary of State is the chief clerk of the State. She/He issues apostles.


A written statement of evidence. In marked contrast to the English System, the US litigation system relies heavily on pre- trial deposition. Each side’s witnesses appear before the others side’s lawyers to answers questions about the case. The answers are given under oath and recorded by a court official, so the written transcripts become a part of the document presented to the court.

Devolution of Estate

Also called “devolution of inheritance” (in French dévolution successorale). In French inheritance law, in there is no testament or donation, the code civil dictates the order of succession for the transfer of the property of the deceased.


European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System: standard
for comparing the study attainment and performance of students of higher education across the European Union and other collaborating European countries.


Networks made up of the national information centers providing information on the recognition of foreign diplomas, degrees and other qualifications and information on education systems opportunities for studying abroad, including information on loans and scholarships, as well as advice on practical questions related to mobility and equivalence.

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disease treatment to assess the patient’s condition (e.g. symptom severity, quality of life) or to measure treatment compliance.

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An EPD registers the data in a storage device and allows for automatically monitoring the time the entry was made. Frequent recording of symptoms using a diary helps to reduce recall bias. Electronic diaries ensure entries are made as scheduled, and not, for example, in a batch immediately before the clinic visit.

Patient diaries

are also way to find out if a patient takes the medication according to the treatment schedule, which is an important problem during clinical trials and the treatment of degenerative diseases with relatively few symptoms.


Electronic Patient Health Information (PHI).


Under the principle of comity, a court of one country or
jurisdiction will give effect to laws and judicial decisions of another country or jurisdiction, not as a matter of obligation but out of “courtesy”, i.e. deference and mutual respect. Under the principle of comity, a divorce obtained in another country under the circumstances described above receives “full faith and credit” in all other states and countries that recognize divorce. However, if one of the spouses contests the effects of the judgment in France, or wants to execute this judgment in France against the other spouse (alimony, seizures of goods or money, visits and lodging of the children), the court may decide to enter an order, called an exequatur, to enforce the foreign judgment.

Federal Law and State Law

Federal law in the United States originates with the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to enact statutes for certain limited purposes like regulating commerce. Nearly all statutes have been codified in the United States Code. Many statutes give executive branch agencies the power to create regulations, which are published in the Code of Federal Regulations and also carry the force of law [source Hourcade]



Although a person is of age and capable, he cannot gratuitously dispose of his property without any restrictions. In all cases when the disposing person has an heir who is his lineal relative, his freedom to dispose an owner is reduced. His gratuitous dispositions can affect only a portion of his estate; the balance is reserved by statue to his descendant or ascendant heirs, who therefore are called heritors reservatires (privileged heirs, or heirs with a reserved share). A reserve is a portion of the estate statutorily guaranteed for the linear heirs, and of which they cannot be deprived by gratuities addressed to other persons.

Fullbright Program

Program of competitive, merit-based grants for international
educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists.
The Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants annually to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university lecturing, and classroom teaching.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1996). The primary goal of the law is to protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs. Network and transmission security is an important safeguard required of HIPAA compliant bodies to protect against unauthorized public access of ePHI.
A Business Associates Agreement, attesting to the security of the file transfer system we are using, can be signed. Logs are kept of this system. This concerns all methods of transmitting data, whether it be email, Internet, or even over a private network.


Inform consent is the process of communication between a
patient and a physician that results in the patient authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention or treatment. For both ethical and legal reasons, patients must be fully informed.

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) both require Informed Consent Forms be understood by patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). The regulations state that informed consent information must be given in a language that is understood by the patient or study subject (or authorized
representative) and that for most situations informed consent be given in writing.
You may also have been asked for a Back Translations (BT) of this ICF translation.


Institutional Review Board: committee that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans. They often conduct some form of risk-benefit analysis in an attempt to determine whether or not research should be done. Also known as an Independent Ethics Committee (IEC), Ethical Review Board (ERB) or Research Ethics Board (REB).

International wills 

In 1973 an international convention, the Convention providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will was concluded in the context of UNIDROIT. Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada (for 9 provinces, not Quebec), Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Italy, Libya, Niger, Portugal and Slovenia. The Holy See, Iran, Laos, the Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and the United States have signed but not ratified. International wills are only valid where the convention applies. Although the US has not ratified on behalf of any state, the Uniform law has been enacted in 23 States and the District of Columbia).

Legal Opinion
Formal, written, and carefully reasoned statement of the law given by a respected lawyer. More recently, it is a formal letter of advice, in common use in the U.S. and gaining acceptance elsewhere, issued by a law firm to one of the parties at the closing of a contract (usually a mergers and acquisitions transaction, a financing arrangement or similar corporate transaction). The letter confirms that the other contracting party (usually the law firm’s client) has taken the necessary corporate steps to execute the contract and that the contract will be valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with its terms. The form of a legal opinion has become largely standardized by convention and, unsurprisingly, is given careful review by the law firm before it is issued.


Legalization of a Public Document

Process of authentication of a public document issued in one country for use in another country not a party to The Hague convention. The document must be certified by the foreign ministry of the country where the document originated, and then by the foreign ministry of the government of the state where the document will be used (one of the certifications will often be performed at an embassy or consulate). In practice this means the document must be certified twice before it can have legal effect in the receiving country. The Hague Convention abolishes for its signatories the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents, replacing the legalization process with an apostille.

Legalization of Signature

The legalization of a signature by a French authority — certification of a signature would be more appropriate, so as not to confuse it with a Legalization of a Public Document— is the formality by which the veracity of the signature, the capacity and identity of the signor is verified by the proper authority. In this process, much like the notarization of a signature by a notary public in the US, neither the content of the document nor its validity is verified. This formality involves private documents only and, what is most relevant to us, the affidavit of accuracy written by a translator.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) both require Informed Consent Forms be understood by patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). The regulations state that informed consent information must be given in a language that is understood by the patient or study subject (or authorized representative) and that for most situations informed consent be given in writing.

LEP and Health Literacy

People with limited English proficiency have even more difficulties to understand health information. Health literacy is low in the American population. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that about 36% of adults had basic or below basic health literacy. Regulations state that Informed Consent Form must be in language that the participant understands. It must be written clearly in plain language. The translation must also follow these plain language guidelines.

Letter of Exemplification

Page attached to a New York City long form birth certificate or death certificate. It is hand-signed by a deputy city registrar and attests that the attached birth certificate or death certificate is a true copy of the actual record. The signature on this document has to be verified at the court clerk office if you need an apostille affixed on a birth certificate or death certificate.


Organization of higher education into 5 years of study (Licence, Maîtrise, Doctorat) common to all European countries.
The LMD reform is part of the Bologna Process to designate application to the construction of European Higher Education. The French university track is now organized around three diplomas: the licence (3 years, 180 European Credit Transfer System credits), the master (4 years, 240 ECTS credits) and the doctorat (5 years, at least 300 ECTS credits with a research thesis).

Long-form Birth Certificate

Certified photocopy or “vault copy”. Exact reproduction of the
original birth record. It contains additional information: parent’s names, address and profession, name of the physician or midwife, name of the declarant and, in some States, surprising information — duration of the pregnancy and age of the mother at birth, weight of the birth, medication, level of education, race, etc. Birth certificate were and still are used as a data mine for statistical studies of the population. The production of a long-form birth certificate along with a letter of exemplification is required for an Apostille.


The notaire in France is a public official responsible for receiving all the actes and contracts to which the parties wish to confer the seal of authenticity, to assure their date, to hold them in trust and to deliver authentic copies of them.

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The legal training and authority of a notaire in France and a notary public in the United States are quite different.
A notaire is part of the French legal system. Notaires follow legal studies much like American lawyers do. They receive and draft legal instruments, contracts, and other important documents to give them the official weight that is often required by the receiving party.
In the United States, many lawyers are also notaries but few notaries are lawyers. Notaries public have a more limited role than the French notaires. They administer oaths, attest to the authenticity of signatures and perform certain other acts varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Most banks, county offices, insurance companies, and credit unions have a notary public on staff.

Notary Public

Notaries public in New York are commissioned by the Secretary of State of New York after passing a short examination in law and procedure. A notary’s commission is received from and kept on file with the county clerk of the county in which they reside or do business, but notaries are empowered to actually perform their duties anywhere in the State.
The most typical notarial transactions involve the execution (signing) of documents. In order for documents requiring a notarial act to be properly executed, the signer must physically appear before the notary, prove his/her identity to the notary, and acknowledge his/her comprehension of the document and willingness to sign or swear/affirm that the contents of the document are true. The term notary public only refers to common-law notaries and should not be confused with civil-law notaries.

Plain Language

Plain language is clear, succinct writing designed to ensure the reader understands as quickly and completely as possible. Plain language strives to be easy to read, understand, and use. It avoids verbose, convoluted language and jargon. In many countries, laws mandate that public agencies use plain language to increase access to programs and services. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities includes plain language as one of the “modes, means and formats of communication”. Informed Consent Forms require the use of plain language.

Power of Attorney

A writing authorizing one to act for another.

Preliminary Admission Procedure

Procedure for admission for International students outside of
the EU and EEA area who, after high school or one-year higher education, wish to enroll to a French university. In French Demande d’admission préalable or DAP

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement (antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to “prenup”), is
a contract entered into by the people intending to marry. In common law countries, the content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. In civil law countries, the sole object of a contrat de mariage, signed before a notaire is to determine the matrimonial régime offered by the civil code which only relates to the spouse properties. French future spouses have an option between several versions of the community property and other régimes, including séparation de biens (separate property). Those statutory régimes may, within certain public policy limits, be modified by the future spouses to accommodate their specific needs. Of course, spouses may choose not to enter into a premarital agreement, and the default régime of communauté réduite aux acquêts (one of the forms of French community property) will then govern their legal relationship.


Patient-Reported Outcome or PRO: method or questionnaire used in a clinical trial or a clinical setting, where the responses are collected directly from the patient.

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PRO is an umbrella term that covers a whole range of potential types of measurement but is used specifically to refer to self- reports by the patient. PRO data may be collected via self- administered questionnaires completed by the patient themselves or via interviews. The latter will only qualify as a PRO where the interviewer is gaining the patient’s views, not where the interviewer uses patient responses to make a professional assessment or judgment of the impact of the patient’s condition. Thus, PROs are a means of gathering patient rather than clinical or other views on outcomes. This patients’ perspective can play an important role in drug approval.


Quality of Life: general well-being of individuals and societies. In recent years, patients and investigators alike have argued that subjective indicators should be taken into account when assessing a person’s health. Many questionnaires, or instruments, have been developed for quality of life assessment, and the demand to translate them has increased year after year.


Personal identifying information blacked out in the original document. This is especially important in the translation of medical records for research or data gathering purposes.

Service central de l’état civil de Nantes

The Service central d’état civil (SCEC) is the central civil registry service which centralizes the vital records of French foreign born citizens.

Short form Birth Certificate

Abstract of the long-form certificate. The short form mentions the child’s name, date of birth, sex, place of birth. Usually also includes the parent’s names.

State Law

The fifty American States are separate sovereigns with their own constitutions and retain plenary power to make laws covering anything not preempted by the federal Constitution or federal statutes. Nearly all States started with the same British common law base (Louisiana law began with, and has always been strongly influenced by, the French Napoleonic Code), but the passage of time has resulted in enormous diversity in the laws of the States.


Test de connaissance du français, or French-language
knowledge test). The TCF is the French Ministry of Education’s test, or the equivalent of the English TOEFL (test of English as a foreign language). Designed by the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP), it assesses written and verbal comprehension, through a series of 5 tests. Students who make a prior request to this effect take the TCF DAP (Test de connaissance du français pour la Demande d’admission préalable), which includes an additional written expression test. See DELF/DALF (


A specific version of the TCF (TCF-DAP) is required for applications for preliminary admission (DAP). The TCF-DAP includes a mandatory test of written French. The TCF is the only test recognized by the CPU (Conférence des présidents d’université) for admission to Licence 2, Masters 1, and Masters 2 programs. Note: The required score on the test varies from institution to institution and from program to program. (See and


Test d’évaluation du français, French-language assessment
Both TCF and TEF are required for registration in first-cycle university programs and are often requested by the Grandes Ecoles.
The TEF is the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s test. In 2004, it was recognized by the French Ministry of Education. Now, students who take the TEF and earn 16/20 on the written exam are exempt from other tests required to sign up for first-cycle university courses. Both tests can be taken in France or in your country. Be careful, however – they are valid for only one or two years.


Test of English as a Foreign Language. Standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in American universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions.

Traducteurs assermentés

In France, the title of traducteur assermenté is protected by law
and can be used only by translators registered on a list drawn up by the Cour de cassation (highest court in France) or a cour d’appel (court of appeals).