Officially valid translations in any language. These types of translations are also called certified, official or sworn translations. Depending on the language combination, the process to prove the validity of the translation may vary.
What is a sworn translation?
Sworn translations must be submitted on paper, although in some cases a digital copy will do. According to the Spanish law, these translations must bear the signature of the translator, the official stamp registered with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the certification that the translation is true to the original. It is not compulsory for sworn translations to be printed on stamped paper, although many translators do this to give the document a more official appearance.
It is important not to confuse sworn translation with legal translation: although many of the sworn translations are usually related to legal subjects, it is very common to certify translations of patents, pharmaceutical product leaflets or technical reports that are presented as expert evidence in a trial or for any reason before any Authority or Court. At ESmedo, sworn translations are entrusted to translators who specialize in legal, technical or medical translations, as the case may be.
Who signs for the sworn translations?
In Spain, official translations are carried out by sworn translators. These translators are duly appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the only independent professionals with the capacity to carry out this type of translation.
In Catalonia, where our translation agency is based, sworn translators from and into Catalan are appointed by the Generalitat de Catalunya. In other countries, sworn translators get their authorization or certification from a court (as in Germany). In the UK, by contrast, official translations are usually notarized, although in many cases it is enough to identify the translator, as there is no official register.
The services of a sworn translator/interpreter also extend to oral translations or interpreting. The appointment of the Ministry entitles the translator to both translate written documents and assist in the communication between two or more persons. In marriage records where one or both spouses do not speak Spanish, the judge or the civil servant may request that a sworn interpreter attend the event to enable communication between all parties. Thus, legal certainty is guaranteed. In trials with parties who do not speak Spanish, the presence of officially authorized interpreters is essential, although it is true that the judge always has the last word and can decide who will act as an interpreter.
It is important to note that the Generalitat de Catalunya distinguishes between a sworn translator and a sworn interpreter, and a translator may be qualified for written translation but not for oral translation.
Sworn translations do not have to be of higher quality than everyday translations. By signing a translation and identifying himself/herself, the sworn translator assumes full responsibility and is liable for any mistakes, inaccuracies and deviations from the original text. They act as authenticators of the translation.
Sworn translations can be requested by both official bodies and private institutions or corporations. The obligation to submit an official translation may be imposed by law (e.g. when requesting an scholarship or applying for an official position), or be subject to the discretion of the person who receives the document and accepts it as a valid proof to initiate a procedure.
A sworn translator will not normally be able to advise you on which documents to translate, so you should first make sure which documents require a sworn or official translation. Translations signed by a sworn translator duly appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs do not need to be certified by a notary within Spain, but if translations are submitted in another country, you will first have to make sure that the body accepts them as they are.
In this case, it is best that the translation includes The Hague Apostille: The translation will be sent to a notary to validate the translator’s signature, and then an Apostille for the destination country will be requested.
Notarized documents and deeds
Deeds of sale
Powers of attorney
Civil Registry Offices