A certificate of accuracy, as we call it. Is a certificate that accompanies any document translation. This certificate has come to be used as a form of guarantee that the document translation is official or professional. Yet, in reality, may not be either. Let me explain.
I the USA, a certificate is created as easily as having any person attest that a document has been translated to the best of his or her ability. We can see that in the certificate instructions, as posted on the USCIS website (one of the very few, if not the only pieces of guidance on the issue), that the requirements for this certificate are almost non-existent. As such, it lends itself to fraud. Anyone can simply create this document at home and even use false names and addresses and no one would be the wiser. There is no independent party that verifies the accuracy of the translation, the credentials of the translator nor the aptitude of the translation process such as whether International Standard ISO 17100 was followed or not.
This leaves us with much leeway as to how to create this certificate, even though it is advisable to in fact follow standards such as ISO 17100 or similar in the internal practices of any language agency.
In the USA we commonly simply follow the USCIS guidelines and add a notarization to the translator’s certificate in order to make it look more official. American Translators Association membership or certification numbers or other association certification or membership mentions do not hurt your chances of getting your translation approved either. Though these certifications are not government regulated or approved, yet, for the untrained eye of the trier, it provides some sort of assurance, be it rightly so or not, that the translation is in fact accurate and reliable.