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Bill Translation: Yes, Sometimes You Just Need It


Michael Decker

If bill translation does not sound to you like a particularly important service, then you should know – it most certainly is. Why would you want to translate your gas bill, Arnona (property tax) bill, water bill, etc.? There are situations in life where this is crucial, such as cases that involve proving where you live or paying a particularly high amount of money.

If you are looking for bill-translation services, it is important that you know all about this field.

Translation of Electricity Bills, Bank Statements, and Gas bills, to Prove That You Mainly Reside in Israel

Let’s say you are a permanent resident of Israel who also has foreign citizenship, and you suddenly discover that you have to pay tax to the other country of which you are a citizen. This is not a far-fetched scenario; on the contrary, it is very common. If this happens to you, you will need to do more than just declare: “No, I live in Israel and mainly reside there.” To prove that your “center of life” is in Israel, you will need to present documents that unambiguously show this is the case.

Now you will finally be able to make use of all those bills that normally just collect dust. Translating your gas bills, Arnona bills, or water bills, or translating any other type of formal document, will unambiguously and indisputably prove that your primary place of residence is in Israel and will help you to quickly complete the bureaucratic procedure.

A regular bill is proof of what you want to tell the world – that you really do reside mainly in Israel. You use gas, water, electricity, and so on, which means that you are in Israel most of the time. This shows that your claims have a concrete basis and you have evidence to prove it.

Bill Translation

Translating Your Bank Statement to Prove That You Can Finance Yourself Abroad

Are you leaving Israel to study at a foreign academic institution? Are you entitled to spouse visa or foreign expert visa in certain foreign countries? You will be required to prove that you have enough money in your bank account and will not need the support of the foreign state or its citizens during your stay abroad.

Most of the statements, summaries, and printouts that can be obtained from the banks in Israel are in Hebrew only. It is sometimes possible to get a printout of a statement in English from the bank website, but not physically at your bank with a stamp and signature. In these cases, check which official document will suffice (such as your bank statement over a month or period of several months or your bank account summary), and then translate and notarize it.

The opposite is also true, of course – students who come to Israel (for example) also must prove their “financial capacity” and translate their bank statements, especially if the statement is not in English.

Notarial Translation of a Bill to Prove Residence Abroad

The same procedure holds for Israelis who have moved abroad. Let’s say you have relocated \ emigrated abroad, and you no longer reside mainly in Israel. You will probably not be happy to continue paying taxes to the Israeli authorities, to say the least. In such a case, you can order professional notarial translation of your bills proving that you regularly use water, electricity, and various services outside of Israel, which will serve as proof to the authorities in Israel that you no longer live there.

You will need to translate your bank statement, showing that you are active in the foreign country in which you currently live, as well as your water bill, electricity bill, and the local property tax bill equivalent to the Israeli Arnona. If you submit these documents properly, the Israeli authorities will be content and you may save a lot of money.

Bill translation may also be relevant for businesses. A business that is required to prove that it is physically located and operating in country A and not in country B will do so by presenting bills that indicate this.

Bill Translation – Why Notarial Translation?

Sending your bill to the first translation agency that you come across is not going to help. Yes, translation agencies will be able to translate your bill word for word, and they will usually do so successfully; but this translation has no legal validity or value in law, and it will definitely not be respected by officials in foreign countries when they decide how to register your main place of residence.

If you want to save a few bucks and go for a “regular” translation, the translation may do more harm than good. Cross-country bureaucratic procedures take time – weeks, months, and sometimes even longer. You won’t like it if you send in the translation, wait so long for it to be processed, and then receive a notice saying that the translation is invalid, which will take you right back to the starting point. It is important to be efficient and send all your documents to the authorities in the exact format required.

So why should you prefer notarial translation? The reason is that anyone can send documents to a translation agency, whether or not the documents are authentic. It is very easy to fake or fabricate documents, and your motive would be quite obvious. If you do not validate the document, it will be difficult to convince the authorities of its credibility, especially when those authorities are overseas.

Other countries, such as England, have special “certified translators,” who have been tested at recognized institutions in translating one language to another. Their reputation and license are at stake and, therefore, they are trusted to translate properly and accurately. In Israel, there is no such institution, so only notarial translation is considered to be officially reliable.

Since notaries public are authority figures, notarial translation serves as a guarantee that the translation is completely accurate, either by word of the notary public or of another translator known to the notary who officially testifies to the correctness of the translation. Notarization makes the bill valid and lawful. Although it doesn’t seem important to follow this procedure carefully and, if you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the profession, you are likely to think that this would be petty, the logic behind the procedure is actually very simple.

Which Bill Should Be Translated for Which Purpose?

A gas bill or electricity bill, as mentioned above, are often chosen to prove residence. When the bill being used as “evidence” is high enough, it effectively proves that you live in the house indicated on the bill, and shows that this is where you mainly reside.

The translation of your bill should, first and foremost, be clear. Just like you want to understand your bill, you also want the authorities to whom you are submitting it to clearly understand it. If the bill is translated into a language that you do not understand, you should make sure that the translator you choose knows his job. Did you choose a known agency? Does the agency have the required experience? Is the agency experienced in translating between the languages of your country and the country to which you are submitting the translation? If you answered “yes” to all three questions, you have nothing to worry about.

Of course, a lawyer who is also a notary is committed to moral standards. He is responsible for representing your interests, being on your side, and assuring you that you are in good hands.

In addition, the translation must be performed within a time frame that you know about in advance and agree to. You don’t want to be surprised at the last minute, especially when it’s too late. For example, you don’t want to suddenly discover that the expected time frame offered by the translation agency is unacceptable to you.

What Is the Cost of Bill Translation?

An equally important issue is payment. You should know from the very beginning exactly what price you are going to pay for the translation so that you don’t incur unnecessary expenses. Although the pricing is fixed by law, there are additional expenses that vary between agencies.

To know that the price is fair, you should conduct a market survey, research the pricing in the field, and consult with friends and relatives, so as to get an idea of how the translating market works. After all, if this field is foreign to you and this is the first time that you need to translate documents such as bills, you will probably have no way of knowing what the price should be.

Once you have found the best translation service, you can submit your bills to the relevant authorities, follow the guidelines of the country where you are conducting the procedure, or consult your lawyer. From here you can proceed according to the rules and be assured that you have done your best to prove your claim.

Bill Translation

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