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Did you know that in Anglo-Saxon countries there are no sworn translators?

Published on 21/11/2022

1. What is a sworn translation?

The demand for sworn translation services has increased due to our globalised market, increasing immigration , the expansion of international tourism. This is because the translation of any official document (used for almost every official procedure) depends on the country-specific laws and regultation. The translation of legal or administrative documents involves a special process in which it must be endorsed by the signature and stamp of a sworn translator.

2. What is a sworn translator?

In countries such as Spain, Sworn Translators are formally authorised by a Foreign Affairs office, giving them official status for the translation of documents. To take on this responsibility, a sworn translator needs to have profound knowledge of linguistics and legal terminology to be able to produce a proper equivalent of the original source. Normally, a sworn translator must take an oath before a court in his or her country stating that he or she will carry out all his or her translations accurately.

The most common documents that usually require sworn translations are:

  • Civil acts
  • Wills
  • Contracts
  • Official, legal or administrative documents
  • School diplomas and certificates, etc.

3. Which countries do not require sworn translations?

In order to find a sworn translator who meets your requirements, the most common way to find a sworn translator is to look for local court lists or a translation agency. However, it is important to remember that not all countries require a sworn translation. In other words, the translation requirements of each country often depend on its legal framework.

Depending on the legal framework of each country, it usually falls into one of two categories:

  • Common law: which is based on legal precedent and is more flexible, as it leaves room for interpretations. Common law applies to countries such as the UK, the US and the UK. The US and Australia do not have an official translation system. In these cases, it depends on the authority’s specific requirements. Usually the document needs to include the translator’s statement certifying that it is a true and accurate translation of the original. In case of a choosing AbroadLink, the same statement, name of the translator as well as contact details.
  • Civil law: based on well-established law, this means there is no room for interpretations. This applies to countries such as France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Romania, which have well-established translation systems. In these countries, there are sworn translators who are appointed and accredited by the government or regional/local courts.

4. What does this mean?

This means that if, for example, you are from India and want to apply for a visa in the United States, you will not need the service of a sworn translator to translate your documents from Hindi into English, as this system is not part of US law. You will only require the service of a professional translator to certify your documents and, if necessary, notarise them.

On the other hand, if you want to apply for a visa in Spain or Italy, these governments will expect a sworn translator to translate all the required documents into Spanish or Italian. The same applies to official translations into German, French or Portuguese, as these countries also fall under the legal framework of civil law.

5. How does a sworn translator work?

A sworn translator will first request a copy of the documents to be translated (original). Sometimes there are also special requirements for the paper for the translation, like in Spain. It must be legally registered stamped-paper. Also signature and the translator’s personal stamp and number need to be included. In case the documents are required by a country operating under Common Law, an apostille can also be reuqired. The translations do not require any additional legalisation, as they were carried out by an authorised sworn translator.

If your translation is to be submitted to an authority within a civil law country, you will most likely be asked for a sworn translation and not a certified translation. At AbroadLink we can provide this type of service for a wide range of countries, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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