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Sworn translations - prices?
Thread poster: Gemma Robinson

Gemma Robinson
Local time: 22:26
+ ...
Dec 21, 2006

Dear Colleagues,

We are now gathering information about sworn translations in various countries, especially France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia and Netherlands.

I would kindly welcome all your help to establish the range of prices for sworn translation in the above countries. If you provide a sworn translations, in any of those countries, please let me know if there is an established price cap for this service or if it’s the translator’s own discretion to set them.

Does anyone have information about sworn translations in Spain, Germany, Russia, Portugal, Italy, France, Hungary and Czech Republic, e.g.: what are the official government regulations in these countries regarding sworn translations and the process of providing this service?

Thank you in advance for all your replies!

[Edited at 2006-12-21 16:44]

[Edited at 2006-12-22 10:50]

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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:26
German to English
+ ...
Germany Dec 22, 2006

In Germany you can only do "sworn translations" if you have been authorised to do so by the responsible court. Beneath your translation you then write the legal formula which the court has authorised you to use.
The wording I am authorised to use is: "Interpreter under general oath for the English language for the courts and notaries in Berlin" (the prescribed wording is in German, this is my translation).
The courts confuse the difference between interpreting and translating, so the wording with "interpreter" is actually used on translations.

For courts and similar public bodies there is a standard fee, defined by law for a standard line of 55 keystrokes (counted in the target language). It is 1.25 EUR for normal texts, 1.85 for significantly difficult texts and up to 4 EUR for texts of extraordinary difficulty.
The middle stage (significantly difficult) is a matter of argument. Any court document is liable to contain specialist legal vocabulary, so this fee level should be the norm. There have been a number of court cases on this issue; I think most have ended in favour of the translator.

Court interpreting has a flat rate of 55 EUR per hour.

Some courts, police authorities etc. have tried to negotiate regular contracts with agencies and/or freelancers, and some police authorities try to pay lower rates. I am not sure what the current position is here (I only rarely get court or police work, and since the current law came into force a couple of years ago I have only had one or two court appearances as an interpreter, no police jobs and no court translation jobs).

Certified translations for business companies or private citizens are charged at whatever rate is agreed between the parties. The fees for such work are not regulated.

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:26
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Moved topic Dec 22, 2006

I've moved this topic to the Business Issues forum, which appears to be a more appropriate venue for this discussion.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:26
English to Polish
+ ...
Poland Dec 22, 2006

The regulations concerning translations changed on 1/1/2005. Now, a translator is accredited not with the regional court, but with the Ministry of Justice. Terminology also changed from sworn to certified translations. Another major change is that the official rates on sworn / certified translations now apply only to jobs ordered by the courts, public prosecutors, police and governmental agencies - otherwise it's free market.
The official rates are calculated as a percentage of the "base amount" used as a basis for calculating numerous rates across the fiscal, state insurance and other fields and published annually. However, the annual rises are only minor ones.
The official rates are a rough equivalent of 0.04 euro per target word with translations from Polish into a popular foreign language and about 75% of that in the other direction. The foreign languages are divided into 4 groups by their relative popularity, with official rates reaching a maximum of about 0.065 euro per word with translations into the non-European languages using non-Latin scripts or ideographs. The main extras applicable are for same-day jobs (50% more) and for "difficult, specialist text" (25%) - the latter one has always been a matter of dispute.
However, the rates are not really calculated on a per-word basis - the basic unit is 1125 keystrokes, which is a remnant of the typwriter era with a standard double-spaced page of 25 lines, 45 keystrokes each. (gee, I remember those times sooo well - should I be proud or ashamed? ) Currently the "cheapest" page-unit of 1125 keystrokes is worth about 7.90 euro from Polish and 6.00 into Polish.
The official hourly rate for interpreting is 130% of the value of a page-unit translated into a foreign language of the same group, which currently means just over 10.00 euro with popular European languages - shame on the legislator ... the free market at least doubles that. Additionally, the police would never admit an interpreting job is a rush one, even if they suddenly drag me off my bed at small hours

[Edited at 2006-12-22 20:09]

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Local time: 17:26
Current Sworn Translations In Poland Oct 16, 2009

I am trying to find our more about sworn translations in Poland. Does the price for 1125 keystrokes (one page) sworn translations include translation, or editing or proofreading?
Otherwise what would be the current (2009) price for only "certifing" a document in Poland? Its is not clear to me. Thanks.

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:26
Member (2003)
German to English
JVEG Oct 16, 2009

To see the relevant sections of the German court translation compensation law to which Victor has referred, take a look at the sample translations in my profile.


Edited to add:

The wording on certified translations in Germany varies in each federal state, though under current law, a translation certified in one state must be accepted in every other (as of December 12, 2008). For Bavaria, the text I am required to use translates as follows:

As a court-appointed and sworn translator for the English language for the Bavarian courts I hereby confirm that this translation from German to English of the document provided to me as ***specified format or original*** is correct and complete.

[Edited at 2009-10-16 21:41 GMT]

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minimum standard prices/rates Oct 16, 2009

Are there no minimum standard prices for regular customers set by the national sworn translators association by means of a professional law passed by the Ministry of Justice, just like notaries have minimum standard prices/rates?

...there must be real chaos...

freedom of choice in negotiation may also mean "zero" (or two cents)
as far as i know notaries commit tax evasion if they don't apply the minimum standard prices for issuing their services and contracts.

in Romania we newly (2009) have a double standard page (3000 characters) for courts at the price of 8 euro (actually that's 4 euro per 1800 standard page, spaces included)
and for regular customers it is utterly chaos - no regulations what so ever regarding prices or standard page size, meaning anything between zero and infinite.
The right to negociate is guaranteed by law, but nothing else.
(not even minimum fee per order)

Is this the case in the whole world?
for all sworn translators in this universe, in all countries?

[Edited at 2009-10-17 06:06 GMT]

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Brazil - though you didn't ask Oct 17, 2009

I've neatly arranged most of the answers about sworn translations in Brazil at:

At the bottom, there is a link to another page, which has the current rates for the Sao Paulo State. (They are in BRL, but there is a link to convert them into any other currency.)

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