A sworn translation is generally recognized as an officially accepted translation of a legal document or any document that needs to be accepted in a legal situation, such as birth certificates, academic certificates or declarations. Sworn translations are always necessary when a translation is to be used for administrative purposes or government requirements.

There are no set regulations on sworn translations as the requirements depend on the country where they will be used and therefore the regulations may change according to location. That’s why we can also refer to this type of translation as certified, public or official, depending on the translation process of the country of destination.

In this article, Global Languages will show you the processes a sworn translator follows at our translation company.

The processes of a sworn translation at Global Languages

A sworn translator takes on two roles. In addition to providing the translation service, they are also involved in the official certification of the final document.

A sworn translation of a document contains several mandatory elements. It must include a declaration that it is a “certified and faithful copy of the original”, along with the sworn translator´s stamp and signature.

The translator must clearly indicate their full name, the designation “sworn translator” and the languages into which their translation is sworn. In addition, it is also necessary to:

• Confirm that the document is a true and accurate translation of the original document

• Print the translation date

• Provide the full name and contact information of the translator or company.

What does a sworn translator do?

Sworn translation cannot be done by just anyone. It is not just a matter of being fluent in another language and translating a document, no. Sworn translation is carried out by a certified professional. All sworn translators must pass the official exam organized by the Board of Trade of the state in which they reside.

For this exam, oral and written tests are given. After passing this exam, the translator receives a registration number and an enrollment number to be able to provide sworn translation services. On each state’s website, you can consult the board´s complete table and find out who the sworn translator is that translated your document.

Sworn translation application

In Brazil, documents or texts written in a foreign language cannot be accepted at official offices if it is not accompanied by the respective sworn translation. Even a power of attorney issued in two columns, one in our language and the other containing its translation in a foreign language, may be rejected, as the authority needs to make sure that the column in a foreign language corresponds.

Precautions before requesting a sworn translation

Before requesting a sworn translation of a Brazilian document to be sent to a foreign country, make sure that it will be accepted (some countries only accept translations done by translators from their own country).

Sworn translation in the United States

It is interesting to note that some countries do not have sworn translators (i.e., they do not have official exams). In these countries, it is acceptable for anyone who is deemed to have sufficient knowledge of the two languages to do the translation and assume responsibility (by signing before a notary official or others).

This is the custom in the United States, although there are signs that the custom is evolving towards a higher level of demand: some government or private entities recommend that users obtain translations from highly reputable translation agencies.

Some might think that the American system would be more economical for those who need a translation, as it is possible to request the service from any person on the street who considers themselves a language expert.

On the other hand, in Brazil, a sworn translator cannot charge whatever they want, as the price per thousand characters is limited by the official table established by the Government. Furthermore, such cost is generally irrelevant to the total business expenses. And, as the expression goes, “buy cheap, buy twice”: it’s better to get a reliable translation than to lose sleep worrying about the consequences of possible mistakes made by a non-professional translator.

Step by step

The sworn translator will first request that the documents be separated and sent to them. Afterwards, the document is translated and issued with a certificate attached with the translator’s seal and signature. If the translated documents are used anywhere else outside of the European Union, an apostille may also be attached.

Validity of a sworn translation

Once the sworn translation is produced and delivered, it assumes the same official status as the document in the source language. Consequently, only the original certified document can be presented to the legal and administrative authorities.

Copies have no legal value. There is no legal expiration date for documents processed by sworn translators. However, an exception may apply to certain documents relating to marital status.