What is the meaning of a sworn translation?

    Danilo Coviello

    Updated Date:

    What is a sworn translation?

    A sworn translation is often required for legal documents, especially in certain countries. The sworn translation consists of three parts (the source document, the translation, and the sworn statement) that must remain together for the translation to remain legally valid. A sworn translation may also be called a legal or official translation.

    This type of translation can only be done by a translator who has received authorization from a government entity to do these translations and is therefore referred to as a sworn translator. The statement is “sworn” to be a true representation of the original document. The statement is stamped in the presence of an official such as a notary public or justice of the peace, and the three-part package is assembled during that process.

    The three documents are stapled and stamped together and cannot be separated, otherwise the certification will expire, thus affecting the legal value of the document.

    Expresso Translations specializes in sworn (as well as certified or regular) translations in more than 150 languages. We only use highly experienced translators, and our procedures ensure quality work and prompt turnaround at a competitive price.

    What is the role of a sworn translator?

    The countries that use and require sworn translations have rosters of qualified translators who are trusted to perform sworn translations. The credentials required to be added to the official register vary, depending on the country. In Italy, for instance, most courts state that sworn translation must be conducted only by qualified professionals registered with the Court’s Register of Technical Consultants (CTU) or the Register of Experts and Consultants of the Chamber of Commerce.

    When you need a sworn translation, we strongly recommend that you contact a professional translation agency like Espresso Translations with knowledge of the legal system and a lot of experience with the procedures involved so as to be sure that the sworn translation you receive will be accepted.

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    A sworn translation cannot be created without the involvement of a public official in addition to the sworn translator, whereas a certified translation can be created by the translator alone.

    Also read: Who can do a sworn translation?

    What is the purpose of sworn translations?

    Sworn translations are requested in order to make the translation produced using this method legally valid in the same way that the original document was. This is most often done with legal documents, but it may be requested for public, academic, or corporate documents and deeds as well.

    In contrast, a certified translation does not have this legal status. A certified translation comes with the translator’s seal and signature, as opposed to a sworn translation, which requires the translator to be officially recognized by the authorities to provide official translations and to swear an oath before the proper public official. This oath under penalty of perjury provides an extra layer of assurance as to the accuracy of the translated document.

    How long does it take to get a sworn translation done?

    When requesting a sworn translation, keep in mind the factors that affect the turnaround times required to produce a sworn translation. These may include:

    • The total length of the document – Longer texts require more time.
    • The type of translation – Highly technical or complex documents usually take somewhat longer.
    • The source and target language – It can be easier to find a qualified translator who speaks the more commonly requested languages, while it might be harder to find translators with experience in some rare languages.
    • The days and times that the particular court is open and that the proper official is available.

    In urgent cases, you can ask Espresso Translations for express service instead of standard delivery service. Our quotes contain transparent pricing and the options for standard and express services.

    When do I need a sworn translation?

    You may need a sworn translation for legal documents containing official information, such as birth, marriage, divorce, or death certificates. You will likely also need sworn translations for notarial deeds and other legal certifications. The nature of such deeds and documents makes it crucial to have the extra assurances of accuracy that a sworn translation provides.

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    The other types of documents that call for sworn translations are drivers’ licenses, school certificates, report cards, diplomas, university degrees, bank statements, company balance sheets, pension documents, and other financial documents.

    The institutions requiring sworn translations do so because they, in turn, need to issue official documents based on the translation; examples are certificates of citizenship or residence abroad. A distinction to be aware of is that a sworn translation does not mean that the original document itself is necessarily legally valid or authentic; what it does mean is that the translation is linguistically consistent with the original document.

    How much does a sworn translation typically cost?

    In addition to the usual costs of any translation, a sworn translation includes the cost of the required revenue stamps. As a rule, a $16 stamp must be affixed to the first page of the translation, and an additional stamp must be affixed to every 4th page (or every 100th line) thereafter, including the oath certificate. Also, certain countries and certain courts require extra steps of the translator or translation agency, which can entail further fees.

    As with any other translation service, the usual variables affect the total cost you will pay for a sworn translation. These include:

    • The source and target languages: translations from and to the common European languages may cost less than translations involving other languages.
    • The length of the document: the translator may base their quote on the number of words or the number of pages in the document. These will include possible fees for the translation and formatting of tables, stamps, seals, handwritten text, and other special elements.
    • Technical complexity and special terminology.
    • Expedited delivery: a shorter than normal turnaround time will probably incur and extra cost.
    • Postal shipping: electronic delivery is generally free, but if postal shipping is required this will add a bit to thee total.

    In addition to these normal costs, for a sworn translation the translator must spend time and effort on completing the oath process, which means scheduling an appointment and traveling to and from the public official.

    When you ask Espresso Translations for a quote, you will receive within 24 hours a free, detailed quote for your project. Just send us a scanned or electronic copy of your document and let us know of any special requests or concerns you may have. This can be done using our quote request form or by sending us an email. Delivery times will vary from two or three days for a simple translation in a common language and a maximum of one week for a complex translation in a rare language.

    What is the process of a sworn translation?

    For a sworn translation, the translator schedules an appointment with the official. At that appointment, the translator appears before the appointed official and provides the following:

    • Valid identification
    • A copy of the original document to be translated
    • Their translation of that document with the translator’s signature and stamp on every page

    A sworn translation of a document is a compilation of these three parts of the translation, which must be stapled together and submitted as a whole in order to retain their legal validity after the oath is sworn. A sworn translation will lose its legal value if these parts become separated.

    Then, the translator must sign the translated text. While requirements can vary from court to court, usually the translator must sign each page of the translation. Next, duty stamps worth $16.00 must be added to the first page and every fourth page after that, unless there are special cases or exemptions.

    Finally, the sworn translator will swear an oath before the official that the translated text accurately reflects the form and content of the original. If the official is satisfied with the document and sworn statement, they add their signature and stamp to the package. Only then will the translation package be considered a sworn translation and legally binding.

    Please note the importance of hiring a translator or translation agency with the experience and knowledge to ensure that the sworn translation procedures are followed properly and at the right location. In fact, a good translation agency can advise you on all the translation services that may be required, such as notarization or certification.

    Also read: How to certify a translation?


    What are the requirements for becoming a sworn translator?

    If you want to become a sworn translator, you must acquire the following qualifications and skills in order to provide sworn translation services.

    1. Earn a degree (or the equivalent) in translation that shows you have the proper language skills.
    2. Register with your local chamber of commerce or other official body in the province where you reside; also register with the proper legal authorities as a translator or interpreter; ideally, register with other relevant organizations in your location.
    3. Prove you have strong technical skills and experience in the field as a guarantee of quality. You can do this by working or even volunteering at agencies or organizations that perform translation and interpretation.
    4. Demonstrate your professionalism and commitment as a translator with any special qualifications in a subject matter you can gain, and any continuing education you can document.

    Then you will be able to provide sworn translations as a special document translation service. Apostille, notarized translations and certified translation services are also beneficial to be able to offer as an official translator.

    What is the difference between sworn translation and certified translation?

    You should know the differences involved in certified or sworn translations. A certified translation is supplied with the translator’s signature, seal, and statement taking responsibility for the accuracy of the translation. A sworn translation, on the other hand, involves the extra step of the translator swearing an oath as to the translation’s accuracy before an official.

    The difference between certified and sworn translations can be found in the legal equivalence of a sworn translation with the original document. The same cannot be said of a certified translation, although it may be a perfect translation of that original document.

    Also read: What is the difference between a sworn and certified translation?