Legal translation or sworn translation?

Legal translation and sworn translation are different concepts, although they are not very far from each other, and sometimes there is a confusion as to what they mean. Let’s see what it is all about.

As we said in post 1, legal translation is the translation of a legal document from one language into another. And as we saw in post 2, there are different cases in which a legal translation is needed, so there may be several reasons that lead a person, institution, public administration, law firm, etc. to request the translation of a legal document.

A sworn translation, on the other hand, is any translation (legal or otherwise) that has been done by a translator duly authorised by official bodies. This sworn translator, when carrying out the translation, gives it a certain degree of officialdom, since he or she is vested with the powers granted by the authorising body or institution (in the case of Spain, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation). The translation, from a technical point of view, does not present any specificity compared to a translation that is not a worn translation. The only difference, then, is that a sworn translation carries with it this official seal, which gives it a kind of officialdom.

So why is it necessary, in certain cases, for a translation to be a sworn translation? Well, in some cases this will be mandatory when submitting the translated document before some official instances.

So, for example, in order to register certain documents at public registers, or for a foreign document, written in another language, to be fully effective in another country, it will be necessary to translate this document and the translation need to be a sworn translation. A marriage certificate, the deed of incorporation of a company, or a foreign judgment, would be three examples of documents that may require a sworn translation.

But in many other cases, a legal translation will suffice, without the need for the translation to be a sworn translation.

We hope we have done our bit to make these two concepts and their differences more understandable. If you have any questions, please contact us via email, and we will be happy to answer them.

And, as always, thanks very much for reading us!