- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 16/06/2012
- sworn translation
A sworn translation is a translation of document which, in order to be legally valid in the target language, must have been translated by an officially accredited translator.
Many official bodies require certain documents to be translated in this way. Depending on the country, these documents could include naturalisation papers, academic qualifications, contracts, etc.
In many countries, a sworn translation can only be supplied in a hard copy, as it has to include the signature and seal of a sworn translator.
A sworn translator is simply a translator who, at some point in their career, took and passed the relevant test. It is important to emphasise that this does not necessarily mean that their work will be better than a ‘non-certified’ translator’s.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, in order to take the certification test you will already be a qualified and (probably) experienced translator, so the test itself does not focus overmuch on technical ability.
Secondly, perhaps more importantly, in many countries a certification is ‘for life’. This means that a certified translator could potentially have obtained their certificate thirty years ago. Now, there is a pretty constant demand for sworn translations, which could enable a sworn translator to do this sort of work and no other for their entire career (some people might argue that this would be rather a dull career, but that is another question).
In this sense, then, there is even a chance that a sworn translation will be of a lower standard than one produced by a provider who is in the thick of the latest developments in the industry.