A few great resources for certified translations
http://www.atanet.org The site of the the American Translators contains a lot of useful information concerning translation in general
http://www.naces.org Naces is the association of companies that provide equivalencies of foreign academic documents
http://www.legaltranslationsystems.com Company specialized on translation of academic documents. It also has a blog that explains the different types of documents that might be required by colleges and schools in the USA http://legaltranslationsystems.com/blog/blog1.php
By and large, academic documents written in a language other than English need to be translated, by means of a certified translation. Different states and different institutions might have different rules pertaining to what constitutes a certified translation, but, in general, it is a translation done by qualified translation company, in the company’s letterhead, duly notarized. The translator and notary cannot be the same person. Do not attempt to translate the document yourself, and notarize it, it will be rejected.
Translations and equivalencies are not the same thing. Certified translations cannot be interpretative, while equivalencies are in essence so. In most cases, you need both the translation and equivalency.
Certain companies provide both translation and equivalencies, however, they might cost much more than doing the work with two different companies.