translation/conversion of high school transcript?

I’m an international student and I have to convert my school reports. We have quite a different system here in Germany (other grades, no credits, other classes, etc).

I know how to “assign” credits and how to convert my grades. As long as my principal confirms it this should be fine. (I can’t just pay a few 100 $ for that and I heard of people who did it this way)

Now, I have a question concerning the credits: If I have more credits than I need can I “drop” classes with bad grades on the transcript? In German schools that’s possible if it’s not a core class (I had to take one class in which I wasn’t so good but since I had enough other classes I could just drop that class afterwards). Can I also do that in the converted transcript for my college application? It would give me an almost perfect GPA so it would be great.

Another question: Our classes are way broader in Germany (There is for example nothing as world history and US history but just one class named history which does German history, European history, some US history, and world history). Does anyone know if I have to differentiate there by naming the topics in my transcript? Or should I just keep it as it is? (My teachers are not familiar with the US system so I have to research on my own…)

Unless a college specifically asks you to, do not convert grades or credits.

Any translation needs to match the transcript. So if a course is on your transcript, you don’t ignore it or delete it. The translation of course names should be exact. And you do not do the translation; someone else does. Both the original and translated documents need to be sent to colleges.

Of, course I’ll send my original graduation document.

I’m quite confused, though. I always thought I had to convert my grades

On the internet I read of people who did this and many of them did the translation/conversion themselves with the confirmation of their principal to save money.

Maybe I should try to contact the admissions office?
I don’t want to make any mistakes but I also don’t want to spend more money than necessary on a translation because it’s really expensive and we have documents for every year plus a graduation document and (in my case) several awards, which all needs to be accredited if it should completely match the original…

My understanding is you need a certified translated transcript as well. As noted by ski, colleges will convert your grades, and all your courses need to be submitted. You can’t pick and choose what to leave off.

College in the US is extremely expensive and aid to international students is very competitive. If you can’t pay for a translator service, how are you going to afford to study abroad?

Thank you, I’m informed about college costs in the US and I have plans for how to pay for it.
About the translation - I just don’t want to spend money if it’s not necessary, so of course I want to be sure that I have to pay for the translation before I spend 100s of dollars and then find out I could have done it myself. Why would I waste money? I guess that should be understandable.

But thanks for clarifying that I don’t need to convert the grades. That does make it easier. I suppose it just were really specific colleges where people needed to do this.

I assume, however, I can drop the course which I could drop here in Germany. That would match the official document.

Anyway, I guess if I have to pay for translation I don’t have to think about that. They will probably know how to do it.

Have you reached out to the US dept of state office nearest to you? They should be able to help clarify both official translation and if you can drop courses off your transcript. Looks like they have 10 advising centers throughout Germany:

Thank you so much! It actually has a center in my city.
I hope they can help me clarify it. I actually thought all the time I had to officially translate it, but then I heard something different from two students from Germany on the Internet, and now I’m confused. I’ll check it out.

I have dealt professionally with this topic for 25 years so I can add a bit to it:
Check with the specific college/university; they have wildly different expectations and requirements - some may want you to submit your original transcript, and they would do the rest (translation + evaluation/conversion), some will want you to provide a translation (many would accept a document translated and certified for accuracy by you but some would require that you use a certified/sworn translator), some would want a full evaluation of your credentials done by accredited foreign education evaluators (an easy Google search would be enough to find them) - yes, there is a formal national accreditation for that.
I know it may be confusing because there is no commonly agreed set of rules but that’s the reality.
I would look at spending $100, or even $300 for the professional translation/evaluation service as a good investment - if the results are more credible, or more beneficial to you, it will be so worthwhile!

Thanks a lot!

You really clarified it for me. It makes sense that there are different expectations from colleges; I guess the students who had to convert their grades applied to colleges requiring already converted grades. The colleges I want to apply to ask for translation.

You are right, it’s an investment in my future. If an official translation seems more credible for schools I’m willing to pay for that.

If I may add a few details, @princess6

  • I often see the temptation to translate course names creatively, to account for their content, rather than simply translate what the name is. Avoid it, use a certified translator and describe their job carefully. I realize that History you were taught was different, in scope and perspective, than what the US high schoolers have but if you school transcript says “Geschichte,” don’t make it into “German, European and World History” - the document is likely to be rejected.
  • I would use a US-based translator, and if you use someone in Germany, make sure they have a good ear for differences between the UK and US English - you don’t want to add these subtleties to the mix.

Thank you, that’s really helpful. I actually found a translation service that explicitly offers translation for US college applications. I’m positive they will know what to do with my documents so they’ll be credible. And I will have more time to focus on finishing the other parts of my application.
Thanks again!