A sworn translation (also called a public, legal, official or certified translation) of a document is endorsed by the signature and seal of a Sworn Translator who is authorized by the Foreign Office to translate official documents. These translations are regarded as having formal status by the authorities.
WHO ARE SWORN TRANSLATORS?
A sworn translator is someone who is authorized by the Foreign Office to translate official documents. Accredited translators and interpreters are known by different official names according to the country. For example, in Spain, where Spanish is the language in question, the official denomination is sworn translator-interpreter (traductor-intérprete jurado), although it’s more common to use the title sworn translator (traductor jurado).
The name and details of a sworn interpreter are registered in the Office of Language Interpretation in Madrid, and in the regional office of the District Council. By signing and sealing, the translator assumes responsibility for the document.
A sworn translation is different from a normal translation insofar as it is signed and sealed by a sworn translator and is therefore regarded as having official and formal status by the authorities. Furthermore, sworn translations can only be provided in hard copies, given that they need to be signed and stamped by the translator. However, the original documents can be passed on in any form (email, fax, etc.). Although sworn translations can be made on stamped paper, this is not a requirement of the Foreign Office, and these days it is hardly used. In addition, it can be accompanied by additional documents, such as The Hague Apostillle.
Each sworn translation needs to carry a certificate whose signature and seal have been registered by the Foreign Office through the District Council of the region in which the translator works.
THE FORMAT OF A SWORN TRANSLATION
Sworn translations ought to contain the signature and seal of a sworn translator:
- Signature: Mr / Mrs (name and surname), Sworn Interpreter of (language), certifies that the present document is a faithful and complete translation into (destination language) of a document originally written in (language of the original). In (location), on (date).
- Seal: Name, the heading “sworn interpreter of…” or “sworn translator-interpreter of…” followed by the designated language, address, telephone number and, if applicable, fax .
WHEN IS A SWORN TRANSLATION REQUIRED?
A document that is written in a foreign language and presented to official bodies (e.g. administrative bodies, a university, a court, a notary) is normally accompanied by an exact Sworn Translation of the original text. In this case, a sworn translator is required.
On the other hand, a sworn translation can be used to guarantee the accuracy of the information translated, given that a sworn translator takes responsibility for the translation with his/her signature and seal.
WHICH DOCUMENTS DOES A SWORN TRANSLATOR USUALLY TRANSLATE?
Many institutions require a sworn translation when dealing with documents in a foreign language. For example, when validating a foreign university degree in the Ministry of Education, a sworn translation is required. Another time when sworn translations are needed is when studying abroad, where it is necessary to present an academic record, which should be certified by a sworn translator. In the case of marrying abroad, a sworn translation of the birth certificate of the foreign spouse(s) is usually required. In the world of business, there are many cases in which a sworn translation is needed, for example, when a company has commercial relations abroad, it is commonplace to require a sworn translation of the certificate of incorporation, statutes, and other internal documents.