Sworn linguist?
Thread poster: Mary Murata

Mary Murata  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
Japanese to English
Apr 18, 2006

I was recently filling in an on-line form to register as a freelancer at some company and one of the questions was "are you a sworn linguist".

Well, I swear quite a lot but I don't think that's what they mean. lol.
I browsed the forums and came across the term "sworn translator" and this seems to apply to cerain countries.
My question is what is a "sworn linguist" (or translator" and does it apply to the UK?

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Luis M. Cuerdo Galarraga  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Traductor jurado in Spain Apr 18, 2006

In Spain you can get an official degree as traductor jurado (sworn degree)

Many documents must be translated by these people that have an stamp with their number.

You can get this title through an exam (really tough) or through the translation degree in the university, if you make the economy and law subjects

that is in Spain, i can not assure it means the same anywhere else


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
When in doubt... Apr 18, 2006

Hi Mary,
I personally think that whenever you're not sure about something, it's best to ask the client - even if you haven't got as far as actually working for them. Sometimes I'm asked for "sworn" or "certified" translations and I always ask the client what they mean by that.
In many countries, to translate and authenticate the translation of legal documents (house sale deeds, birth/death/marriage certificates, etc.), one has to be certified by a court or the Ministry of Justice, etc. There are different methods of providing a certified translation AFAIK.
In the UK, this is generally not necessary because we have a common law legal system. Sometimes you may be asked to provide a "certificate of authenticity" stating that the translation is a true copy of the original document which you can produce yourself and sign or ask your client for one if they use a standard certificate. You may be asked to swear an affidavit at a commissioner for oath's office, but that is very rare in the UK. So it's definitely best to ask the agency in any case.
I hope that helps,

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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
English to Polish
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 18, 2006

Since in Poland we have the institution of sworn translators, to me the question reads as "Are your translations acceptable to legal or governmental authorities as documentary proof in formal proceedings?" In Poland only translations / interpreting delivered by sworn translators are accepted, and problably the agency wants to check if your usefulness as translator is not limited in that respect. Still, it's best to check.

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English to Portuguese
"Tradutor juramentado" in Brazil Apr 18, 2006

Legal matters require a sworn translator. You can get the title through an exam. They deserve "public faith".

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:40
Turkish to English
+ ...
No such thing in the UK Apr 19, 2006

There is no equivalent in the UK. In fact, anyone can go to a solicitor and have a translation sworn in for a fee which I think is about twenty pounds.

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Trevor Butcher
Local time: 03:40
Sworn, hmm.. Apr 19, 2006

Yes, the sworn translator...

Here in Poland I know loads of them, and it means little more than they have taken an exam so that they can translate documents for official purposes. The title seems to indicate that you can mirror the original document rather than produce quality language, hence some of the sworn translators I know are amazingly good while others are amazingly bad.

I do not know how difficult it would be to take an exam in a foriegn country to become a sworn translator, and I am not sure it would be worth the effort unless you were going to work for an agency in that country.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
State Authorised Translator in Denmark Apr 20, 2006

This is a protected title in Denmark and means in practice you have completed a specific MA course, and then been duly approved and registered by the authorities.

The Danish title 'Translatoer' is reserved for these people, who have a personal stamp and authority to certify that a translation is a 'true and fair rendering of the source text' or something like that, and this is sometimes required on legal transactions, exam. certificates and birth, mariage or death certificates etc.

The rest of us can get by if a State Authorised Translator will certify our work when necessary. (They don't have to translate it themsleves, as long as they can approve its standard. They may for instance think a native speaker of the target language or a subject specialist would do it better.)

But those who are not state authorised (and it's not easy to convince the authorities for various reasons, if you have a non-Danish training) are only allowed to call themselves 'oversaettere' - the Danish as opposed to French/Latin for translators.

The Chartered Institute of Linguists is working on the question in the UK, and this is what the ITI says under FAQ:

4. I need an "official" or "certified" translation, can ITI help me?

For most purposes, this usually requires either using the services of a sworn translator (this would be a translator sworn before a court in a non-UK jurisdiction), or a Fellow (FITI) or Member (MITI) of ITI who may self-certify the translation. You can also have the translation notarised before a Notary Public or Notary Scrivener (usually listed in Yellow Pages). ITI publishes a set of guidelines and seals for self-certification by its members.


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Slavica Kosca-Vrlazic  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
English to Croatian
+ ...
Sworn translator = Court translator in Croatia and Macedonia Apr 26, 2006

In Croatia and Macedonia, as well as in many other countries, there is the institution of "Permanent Court Translator & Interpreter" . After having finished your university level education, you pass an exam on law and legislatation, after which you become a court translator and/or interpreter. Only those who pass this exam can translate documents for which some kind of professional attestation is required. The translations that this person renders are called "certified translations" and only that type of translation works is applicable during court proceedings. Also, this translator is due to appear in court whenever summoned and translate or interprete.

[Edited at 2006-04-27 07:11]

[Edited at 2006-04-28 06:44]

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
How it works in Brazil Jan 13, 2007

Just in case someone comes here and needs more info on sworn translations specifically in Brazil, I've compiled some information on the issue, in English, at: http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/tpicen.html

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