What does a sworn translation consist of and its procedure

A sworn translation consists of the reproduction in language B of an official document originally written in language A, so that the text written in language B has the same official status as the original text for presentation to public administrations or for carrying out formalities between companies and individuals.

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In Spain, sworn translations are carried out by sworn translators-interpreters authorized by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC), through its Language Interpretation Office (OIL). Thus, OIL organizes certification tests every year (or sometimes every two years) with a very high level of demand, which responds to the need to offer the maximum possible guarantees, with a high level of accuracy and quality, in the drafting of documents that give faith to the public.

This professional figure is regulated in Spain by Royal Decree 2555/1977, partially modified by Royal Decrees 889/1987, 752/1992, 79/1996 and, finally, 2002/2009. The latter includes, for example, an important modification, such as the change in the name of the professional from “sworn interpreter” to “sworn translator-interpreter”. In this way, the official name of these professionals is adapted to their dual role as translator of written documents and interpreter of oral speeches, for example, at oral hearings in criminal trials.

Procedure for a sworn translation

A sworn translation can be made of practically any document, both in digital format and in traditional paper format.

The translator always reviews the original document (which, as mentioned above, can be provided either on paper or in electronic format via email, provided it has good readability and resolution) and carries out the translation respecting in the target language all the content of the source document.

It is important to mention that stamps and other graphic elements should not be reproduced in the sworn translation, but they are usually shown in square brackets.

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In what cases do we need a sworn translation?

There is some confusion as to the type of texts that can be subject to sworn translation. In general, there is a tendency to think that this field is limited to legal or financial documents, as these are the areas most in demand.

However, strictly speaking, there is no limitation in terms of textual typology, and any type of text can be subject to sworn translation if required: from an architectural project to the patent of a medicine or even the clinical history of a patient.

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Types of documents requiring to be sworn

Sworn translations are usually essential for documents to be submitted to public administrations, official entities, study centers (universities or schools), banks, security forces, courts, tribunals, courts of law and international entities of various kinds.

In addition, sworn translations of company documents are also frequently made when it is necessary to ensure the accuracy and impartiality of the translation (for example, when signing a contract between two companies).

Can a sworn translation be done in any language?

With regard to the languages of the documents that may be certified, in our country, they must always be combinations that include one of the official languages.

For example, the translation into Spanish of a birth certificate from the Republic of Kenya originally written in English or Swahili, or the translation into French of a university degree written in Catalan, could be sworn.

However, it is impossible to directly perform a sworn translation into English of an original document written in Chinese or Amharic. In cases such as the above, the only possible solution would be to make a first sworn translation into Spanish or into one of the co-official languages and then make a new sworn translation from the first translation.

Price of sworn translations and delivery date

Sworn translation rates vary greatly and depend on each translator. However, as in any sector, one has to look for the quality/price ratio according to one’s needs, not only financially, but also in terms of objective.

If you want your sworn translation to be accepted at the destination and contribute to the success of your management or business, make sure you choose your translators carefully.

In this case, do not only take into account rates, but also:

  • Experience
  • Specialization
  • Response time to your translation needs
  • The time it takes to complete the sworn translation
  • The work schedule proposed by the translator or the translation agency

To find out the price for the sworn translation of your document, FAST.txt can help you. Just fill out our form or send us an email and we will tell you the price, delivery time and payment method of your sworn translation as soon as possible.

At FAST.txt we offer a sworn translation service in multiple languages, with our specialty being European languages. In addition, we take care of the privacy of your translation, the consistency of terminology and the agreed deadlines. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Mercedes Pajuelo