Sworn translation? Notarised translation? Certified translation?

Dear Wired into Words readers:

Summer is soon to begin, that time of the year when the sun warms you up depending on the country you are (that’s not the case in the UK, for sure…) and we start thinking of packing for a well-deserved holiday, or, as in the case of many Spaniards today, to move abroad seeking a better future. And this may also a good moment to start visiting different foreign markets to know them a little bit better if you are thinking of exporting your product.

If we keep on talking about the Spanish case, Spaniards tend to look for job opportunities in Europe, as it is geographically close and the European Union enjoys a no-frontier policy since almost 20 years. And emigrants are not the only people looking at the European Union, as hundreds of entrepreneurs decide to export their products to neighbour countries thanks to the free trade opportunities among EU countries, reaching, therefore, different interesting markets. Clearly the Schengen area has many advantages, and in most of the EU countries we use the same currency (Euro), making many tasks way easier only because of this fact.

However, The European case is very specific, given its wide variety of languages. It is not a large country with common language and culture, such as the USA, or a multi-coloured continent with different cultures, history, races and traditions joined by a common language, such as Latin America (I know, this is not really one continent, but three -North America, Central America and South America, but all of us Spanish speakers know what we refer to 😉 ). In Europe, we are geographically and economically together, sharing certain rules and laws, but there are also thousands of different aspects that keep us separate, including the language. If we think about it, there is not a common or mostly spoken Language in Europe. We could say that English is the most spoken given its spread during the last decades, however, there are native English speakers only in two countries out of the 27. And here is the challenge, not to call it “problem”, because it is easily solved 😉

When we decide to pack up and live abroad, we need to take into account several factors: what do I pack when I don’t have plans to return soon?, where am I going to live?, how would I communicate if I am not fluent in the language?, how can I open a bank account?, how do I register my company in the country?… All these questions start being answered progressively when you live abroad for a while, we just need to adapt and take the necessary steps.

One of the most common situations is to be required to hand in certificates of different nature due to bureaucratic factors: when starting a new job we may need our university degree; if we would like to formalise our situation in the country where we live, we may need our certificate of marriage; if we decide to do business in the country, we may need documentation related to our company in our home country; our criminal record if we are involved in a legal procedure… And this is just in the case of Europe, if we wish to move to a non EU country, we must present all sorts of documents certifying our origins, our relatives, etc. It is very common to find a person that wishes to be nationalised in the country they are living, and this long-awaited situation for many translates into a hard long legal procedure during which we might be required to present our birth certificate or marriage certificate, among other documents.

Let’s think about what to do once we are in a country where our mother tongue is not spoken. All those documents are legally valid in our country of origin, and, therefore, they should also be legal in the country we are heading to. However, these documents need to be understood, what can we do then? Well, here is where our beloved sworn translation appears.

A sworn translation (notarised translation, certified translation, legalised translation… it’s got many names!), is the translation of a written document by a professional translator that is legally equivalent to the original document.

In the case of the United Kingdom, there are not “sworn translators” as in other countries; we just need to follow different steps to obtain a sworn or certified translation. We need to address a professional translator or translation agency to get the document translated. After that, the translator responsible for the final document should swear an oath before a notary public stating in a certifying that the final document is a translation of the document in the original language. Then this certificate is attached to both the original document and the translation, and that’s it. As you can see, there are many intermediaries in this process, and, therefore, this is reflected in the final price of the service. But this situation differs from one country to another.

In Spain, for example, we can find “sworn translators”, i.e. professional translators authorised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They can become sworn translators after passing a public exam or studying certain subjects in certain Spanish Translation and Interpreting schools. A sworn translator can issue a sworn translation in Spain, without the need of other intermediaries.

And that was just one of the many situations we can find in the world, as every country has its own legislation and procedures regarding sworn translations. But let’s not stress out about this, we as professionals know all the ins and outs of the industry and can offer complete final service so our client doesn’t need to worry about any legal step, but simply send their document (even in a digital format), receive their sworn translation and pay the rate established. Quite handy, don’t you think?

So now you know, for any sworn translation requirement, regardless of the country where it is needed, please contact us and we will make this process as easy as possible, so you don’t have to worry about this step and can focus on the other stuff related to legal procedures.

About wiredintowords

We are a language service company (translation and interpreting among others). We love teaching, learning and translating languages, and we are passionate about the culture, traditions, cuisine and history of the countries where those languages are spoken. ///// Somos una empresa que ofrece servicios lingüísticos (traducción e interpretación, entre otros). Nos apasionan los idiomas, su enseñanza, aprendizaje y traducción, además de todo lo que les rodea: cultura, tradiciones, gastronomía e historia de los países en los que se hablen.
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3 Responses to Sworn translation? Notarised translation? Certified translation?

  1. This is a very interesting topic. Thank you for writing about it. As a translator I find it often confusing as I don’t know what I can do and what not. I believe that sometimes the organisations requesting a certified translation of some sort don’t know what they are looking for either. In the UK, very often they are happy if a translator has signed the translation and given a brief declaration. I think it’s always a good idea to double-check with the requesting organisation what exactly they want before paying high legal fees that my be unnecessary. I’ll be interested to see if there will be some development in this area in the UK.

  2. Nice blog.. Very nice to know about this topic… Thank you so much for posting this great article,
    I am so interested in what I read, good and useful content.
    Thanks for share me that nice post.

  3. I would like to thank you for sharing this great information with us. legal translation I am really glad to learn about this because it helps me to increase my knowledge.
    Thanks…

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