Certified translation versus sworn translations
Thread poster: Colette Kinsella

Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 16:02
German to English
Feb 14, 2009

I'm a bit confused about the sworn/certified translation issue. I know that in civil law countries, translations for public bodies or the courts are required to be sworn, i.e. the translator is required to see the original documents.

I'm unclear about the 'certified' aspect in common law countries like Ireland and the UK. Any thoughts from anybody? I'm also interested how this works in Australia. Does the translator need to see the original documents here as well?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or concrete information.


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:02
German to English
+ ...
State certification to certify Feb 14, 2009

I was sworn in when the State certified my capacity to certify the correctness of translations.

Can a translation be "sworn (in)" at all?

I do think that (the correctness of) a translation can be certified or that someone can "swear" to its correctness.

Who may "swear" to the correctness of a translation?

Well, the way I see it, anybody (in this case any translator) can "swear" that a translation is correct.

Who may "certify" the correctness of a translation?

That's right: a translator, who has been granted the official capacity to do so.

How is this capacity granted?

After having determined that the translator has fulfilled the requirements, the State "certifies" that the translator has the capacity to certify the correctness of translations. Some jurisdictions also "swear in" the translator.

That is how I see it and why I call myself a "certified translator" (though I too was sworn in at the time), but I cannot say much about the specifics in the countries you mentioned. =)



[Edited at 2009-02-14 10:19 GMT]


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 16:02
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
But what about the need to view original documents? Feb 14, 2009

Thanks for your comment, but I'm more concerned about the concrete requirements associated with this issue, i.e the need to view the original documents or not. How does that work for you?

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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:02
German to English
+ ...
Viewing the documents Feb 14, 2009

I am not sure I understand your question. When I translate a document, then I have it there (to view). So, when I certify the correctness of that translation, I do have the document.

As far as the actual process goes, I usually attach an extra page on which I certify the correctness and that I have the capacity to do so (I also include my contact information). I then sign and stamp it.

Depending on the circumstances, I state that I have seen the original document or, more often (since those kinds of documents tend to be short), I simply attach the original document to the translation.

It ends up looking something like this:

TRANSLATION TEXT
-------------------PAGE BREAK----------------------------
CERTIFICATION (of correctness)

I, Derek Gill Franßen, [details of my capacity], do hereby certify that the foregoing translation is a true and correct rendition of the original document, which is attached (or which was presented to me), from language_1 into language_2.

Signature + Stamp

Contact info
-------------------PAGE BREAK----------------------------
ORIGINAL DOCUMENT


Note: The actual text is longer (and can be found in these forums), but I assume you get the gist.

HTH =)


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 16:02
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
The question is... Feb 14, 2009

... whether or not the original documents, as opposed to scanned copies, of the document have to be viewed by the translator for CERTIFIED translations. If, for instance, an Irish client wants a certified translation of a particular document (for an unusual language combination) for which there is no local translator, does that client have to courier the originals to the translator, or it is sufficient to email scanned copies.

I know that for SWORN translations the originals definitely have to sent to the translator. My question is whether the same applies to CERTIFIED translations.


I appreciate your input, Derek. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my previous posts.


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:02
German to English
+ ...
Tell it like it is. Feb 14, 2009

Ah, now I get it (I can be pretty dense at times)... yeah, I attach a printout of the scanned documents to the translation. I am not certifying the authenticity of the original documents or the signature, etc. (that would be the job of a notary), just the correctness of the translation.

So, it does not matter if it is scanned, written, typed, or whatever, as long as the translation is a true rendition of THAT document.

I then add any special details to my certification clause (I "tell it like it is"):

"...which was presented to me in PDF-form (or as an e-mail, fax, etc.), ..."

=)


[Edited at 2009-02-14 17:24 GMT]


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:02
German to English
+ ...
Just as an aside... Feb 14, 2009

It can be confusing, but it could be worse: It becomes painfully clear when you have to get the authenticity of your own signature certified by a notary and a confirmation from the court that you can certify the correctness of translation, and then have to get an Apostille Certificate pursuant to the Hague Convention.

"The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (Hague Apostille Convention) facilitates the circulation of public documents executed in one State party to the Convention and to be produced in another State party to the Convention. It does so by replacing the cumbersome and often costly formalities of a full legalisation process with the mere issuance of an Apostille (also called Apostille Certificate or Certificate). The Hague Apostille Convention only applies as between States parties (see the "Status table of the Apostille Convention" below)."
Also see http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=text.display&tid=37

Red tape is fun!




[Edited at 2009-02-14 12:34 GMT]


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QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
Similar practice in Australia. Feb 14, 2009

The certification & disclaimer part of a translation usually says:

This is to certify that the foregoing English text is a true and correct translation of the original document/certified photocopy/uncertified electronic copy in the XXXX language prepared by me on XX/XX/XXXX.

[Signature and registration number]

The [name of the translator or translation company] gives no warrant as to the authenticity or otherwise of the document(s) submitted for translation. Any unsealed alteration to this translation renders it invalid. Translation invalid without the official stamp of [name of the translator or translation company]

Strictly speaking there is no "sworn" translation as such here, although in some cases a translator is required to enclose an affidavit forming part of the translation. The affidavit states the translator's basic details (ie. name, address), relevant qualification (ie. accreditation, registration number) and that s/he has translated the source document into the target language attached to the package. The affidavit is then sworn and signed by the translator in the presence of a solicitor, a notary public or a Justice of the Peace.

[Edited at 2009-02-14 12:41 GMT]


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Colette Kinsella
Ireland
Local time: 16:02
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
It's all clear now! Feb 14, 2009

Thanks to Derek and Ray for their help in clarifying this issue. Much appreciated!

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Attach Feb 14, 2009

Colette Kinsella wrote:

Thanks for your comment, but I'm more concerned about the concrete requirements associated with this issue, i.e the need to view the original documents or not. How does that work for you?


I always attach a photocopy of the documents to my translation and put my stamp on those as well to confirm that they are what the translation is based on. It is up to the client to supply the original documents if requested. Many of my clients come to me by e-mail, so I have the scanned documents to begin with.

Note added: I am talking about certified translations. Clients often live in other parts of the country, so it would be very time-consuming and risky to send the originals back and forth.






[Edited at 2009-02-14 17:20 GMT]


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:02
German to English
+ ...
Yes, always attach the document... somehow. Feb 14, 2009

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Colette Kinsella wrote:

Thanks for your comment, but I'm more concerned about the concrete requirements associated with this issue, i.e the need to view the original documents or not. How does that work for you?


I always attach a photocopy of the documents to my translation and put my stamp on those as well to confirm that they are what the translation is based on. It is up to the client to supply the original documents if requested. Many of my clients come to me by e-mail, so I have the scanned documents to begin with.

Note added: I am talking about certified translations. Clients often live in other parts of the country, so it would be very time-consuming and risky to send the originals back and forth.


Yes, after giving it some more thought, I also attach the document every time even though it can be unwieldy with very long documents (but then again, it is also fun to work with string).



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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:02
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Check with the authorities Feb 14, 2009

Colette Kinsella wrote:

I'm a bit confused about the sworn/certified translation issue. I know that in civil law countries, translations for public bodies or the courts are required to be sworn, i.e. the translator is required to see the original documents.

I'm unclear about the 'certified' aspect in common law countries like Ireland and the UK. Any thoughts from anybody? I'm also interested how this works in Australia. Does the translator need to see the original documents here as well?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or concrete information.



I can't talk about Irish or UK law. American law differs from one jurisdiction to another. When I'm asked for a certification, I generally ask the client for the wording he/she/it wants and proceed from there. If asked to write my own certification, I generally make sure that

a. I explicitly say that I am making no representation about the accuracy or authenticity of the source document.

b. I am translating something that was represented to me as [whatever].

c. If there's some text that's not in a language I translate (e.g., the Egyptian Consulate has its name in Arabic on its letterhead), I explicitly point that out, even if the same text is in a language I do translate (e.g., German on the other side).


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Loredana Barozzino
Local time: 17:02
English to Italian
+ ...
situation in Italy Feb 15, 2009

I have discussed about this topic in Langit (an Italian mailing list) few weeks ago.
Since in Italy there isn't an official register of translators (as we have for lawyers, architects, etc..) anyone can go to a Court and do a sworn translation.
In other words, if a lawyer speaks English properly, he can translate a document, go to the Court and swear that he has "well translated" the document itself.

As I said, there is no Italian offical translator register, but every Cort has a list of official translators called CTU. CTUs are those experts that can provide their skills, opinions any time a judge asks their help.
Sometimes organizations like embassies, University, etc.. require certified translations that are sworn translations made by those translators that are in the CTU list. Also a judge can requires a translation made by a certified transaltor.

So, In Italy, anyone can do a sworn translation but in many cases judges or institutions can require a translation by a "certified translation" that is a translator included in the CTU list.

There is an interesting document written by Maria Antonietta Ferro that perfectly describe the Italian situation http://www.ferrotraduzioni.it/traduttore_giurato_lucca_toscana.html with references to the laws concerning sworn and certified translations.

So my conclusion is:
anyone can do a sworn translation but only CTUs provide a certified one.

Sorry if my answer is a bit intricate, I'm a newbie here.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In Brazil... Feb 15, 2009

I've put together a roundup of how these things work in Brazil at:

http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/tpicen.html (in English)

http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/tpic.html (in Portuguese)


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sworn or not, you certify the documents you sign Feb 15, 2009

When you certify the accuracy of your translation, regardless you are a sworn translator or not, you should sign every page of the source document, and many times you should not write anything on the original; therefore, you should sign a copy of the original. When you certify it, regardless you are a sworn translator or not, you say that you are the author of the translation and that, to the best of your knowledge, it is accurate with the source text you signed. If you signed a copy of the original text, it is not your business if that copy is or not identical to the original. That should be done by a notary. Of course, if you receive the original and you are allowed to to write your signature on it, it is more simple for your client.

Maybe that in some country sworn translators must also certify that the copy they sign is identical to the original, but in that case, you should write that in your certification. But as a general rule, that is notary's work. Check the laws of the country that your translation should be used in.

¡Salud!

Ignacio Vicario Esteban


[Edited at 2009-02-15 22:36 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-15 22:38 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-15 22:41 GMT]


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