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where do you study to become a sworn/certified translator?
Thread poster: Alicia Casal

Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 24, 2007

I' m working on a report about this issue and I need some help:

-Where do you study to become a sworn/certified translator in your country?

- Is it an university career? How many years?
- or is it just an examination?

Thanks in advance


United States
Local time: 14:48
French to Arabic
+ ...
Country specific Apr 24, 2007

Essentially each country has its own certifying program. Studying translation does not make you a certified or sworn linguist, you just gain the skills and a degree. In certain African and European (and probably Middle Eastern) countries, there is a government administered testing system to license a translator in order to be able to mark documents with an official status. In the US, other than a few state and governmental language skill testing programs (basically DOJ, DOS, FBI, Federal and State court public examinations), there is none that I know of. Industry standards set the rules for the individual translator to "certify" or attest to the accuracy of his/her own work.

There is however the ATA (American Translators Association) examination that make "certified" for about 120 USD. Some companies require it although not necessarily a token on the linguist's abilities. There must have been prior discussions of this subject in this forum. Other colleagues must know about it.
Good luck


vicksy nurhayati  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:48
English to Indonesian
+ ...
sworn/certified translator in Indonesia Apr 25, 2007

Dear Alicia,

In my country, Indonesia, there are universities offering Translation Studies Program, which is equal to Master Degree. To become a sworn/certified translator, you must attend an examination and only those with A result will gain this certification. This examination offers 2 options : examination for general (not sworn, well certified if you pass the exam) and examination for legal document.
At this time, there is only 1 institution that organizes this examination, which is Translation Center of University of Indonesia.

best regards,

- vicksy -


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
USA Apr 25, 2007

Mounaim has given a basic overview of the situation in the USA. Here there is no such thing as a sworn/certified translator. The various cerfifications granted by goverment agencies, for the specific purposes of those agencies, tend to be for interpreting, not translation.

As an example, I am certified by the U.S. Federal Courts as an interpreter, not as a translator. However, I do not work as a court interpreter, I work independently as a translator.

Of course the job description for that position (which I do not hold) does include translation as an additional duty. Also, the test (it is strictly by test) is held in high regard as being very selective, so those of us who have passed it are assumed to be competent.

The end result is that with those credentials I can act as the equivalent of a sworn/certified translator and certify translations of documents to be admitted in court, and none so far have ever been challenged.

People certified by other agencies at other levels (state for instance) can do the same thing.

As far as I am aware there is nothing at all official about the above, and anyone´s work could be challenged in a court regardless of credentials.

Insofar as education is concerned, there are some diploma programs at some universities (UTEP - University of Texas El Paso is an example) and only a few schools offering complete degrees (MIIS - Monterey Institute of International Studies as an example) in translation.

I have no such degree, I learned it all on my own.


Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
India Apr 25, 2007

Here is the link to rules in India, somehow no one knows about these. These are not taught in the universities. They exist, but only on paper and not in practice.


Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
Germany Apr 25, 2007

In Germany the basic criterion is the qualification. The swearing-in ceremony is performed by the regional court (Landgericht).

Those who study a university level translation course are qualified to be sworn in. But I entered the profession later without such a course of study (I studied my foreign language, but not in a specific translation course, and I worked in other jobs before I became a translator). In my case, I took a recognised state translating examination after I had started my translating career, but I did not do any specific course of study in translation. The court accepted my examination as sufficient to be sworn in.

I am now entitled to call myself an "Interpreter under general oath for the English language for the courts and notaries in Berlin" (my own translation of the German title).
My phrase "general oath" stems from the explanation given by the judge at the swearing in ceremony: when we appear in court, we do not need to swear an oath on each occasion, the oath taken at the swearing-in ceremony is a general oath which covers all the work we do in this capacity.

Here, too, there is a confusion between interpreting and translating. I was sworn in as an interpreter (Dolmetscher), not as a translator (Übersetzer), but I can (and do) certify written translations and add the above title to prove that I am authorised to do so.

Within the German federal structure there are some differences of detail in the way this system is applied and in the terminology used in the different federal states, but the basic principle is the same.


Local time: 19:48
Spain (sworn translator/interpreter) Apr 25, 2007

Hello Alicia,

AFAIK (I'm not a sworn translator), there are two ways of becoming a sworn translator in Spain:

-You can study a BA in T&I (Licenciatura en Traducci'on e Interpretaci'on), which lasts 4 years in average. However you have to choose a number of electives of legal/financial translation (I think it has to be 24 credits, 240 hours of tuition, that is 3-4 subjects depending on each university). For more information: ORDEN 1971/2002, 12th JULY, published in the B.O.E. ( 2nd August 2002.

-The traditional way is by doing an exam organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, MAE). To register for the exam, you need to have a Diplomatura (which is a shorter BA, lasting 3 years in average) in any discipline. You are required to translate both ways, to and from Spanish.

Here's a bit more of information:érpretes%20Jurados.htm

I personally find it rather remarkable that for the MAE you remain always an "int'erprete jurado" ("sworn interpreter") even if you only do translation and not interpreting (there's not such thing as a "traductor jurado").

[Editado a las 2007-04-25 09:06]


Christine Schmit  Identity Verified
German to French
+ ...
Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium Apr 25, 2007


In Luxembourg it is not possible to study translation. There is only one fairly new university in this country, so for Luxembourgish students it is normal to study abroad.

There isn't an examen either to become a sworn translator or interpreter (traducteur assermenté / interprète assermenté). You simply have to write a letter to the Ministry of Justice stating the languages want to be sworn in for. You need to add your CV and copies of diplomas. Then the Ministry examines your request (they take months or even a year) and if they think you are suitable, you are sworn in at the court and get an official stamp you need to put on sworn translations. I don't know exactly what the criteria are, the Ministry doesn't publish what criteria they are looking for. A lot of people on the list of sworn translators do not have a degree in translation, there are lawyers and teachers for example.


Here is some information on how to become a sworn translator (traducteur-juré) in Switzerland, canton of Geneva.


Apparently, you need to take an exam in order to become a sworn translator (traducteur juré).〈=fr



José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Brazil Apr 25, 2007

I have collected most of the information on how the sworn translation "system" works in Brazil at: in English, and in Portuguese
with some links as well.

The whole issue of certified/sworn translations in any country is about their judicial system being able to blame, locate, and eventually punish, whoever caused a loss to any party by means of a faulty translation.


mccampello  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Brazil: sword and certified Apr 25, 2007

In Brazil, there are examinations for both sword and certified translator. In both cases, there is no study requirements, such a University degree. You just need to pass test to get the "title".
There is the state commerce agency (Junta Comercial) examination that grants the title of "Juramentado" (sword) for translating documents for court or legal use (evidiences, affidavits, or just students transcriptions from abroad, for example) in that specific state. The agency calls for exams according to its needs (in Rio, for example, there has been no exams for 20 years). See Sao Paulo State agency Jucesp´s site at ordem=tradutores.htm
There is the Abrates (Brazilian Association of Translators) examination that certifies qualifications and professionalism of "Tradutor Credenciado"
Some institutions and universities offer translation study courses.


Natalia Eklund  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
In France - 10 years Apr 25, 2007

I picked up the application file in February at the Palais de Justice in Paris to see if I qualify. It reminded me of filling out application forms to get into a university.

They are very regulated here, and will only swear in new translators if there is a need in that pair. So each year you may have to reapply, until someone dies, retires or whatnot.

One of the requirements stated on the form is that you must have a minimum of 10 years experience. Translators, medical experts, assurance advisers, all of these people are assermenté and must be proven as EXPERTS in their fields.
"Expert" means you have to know A LOT about ONE thing, if you say you're an expert in more than one field, they'll laugh at you.

Also, if you're assermenté and they send you something, you have to drop everything (vacation, big client, walking the dog) to get it done.

This information is based off what I read. I don't know if the reality is different, since from time to time I hear horror stories about bad sworn translators doing really silly things.


Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
English to Polish
+ ...
Poland Apr 25, 2007

1. Citizenship - Polish or any other EU/EFTA/partner country (partner in the sense of existing international agreement on recognitions)
2. Knowledge of Polish
3. Full legal capacity
4. Clean criminal/fiscal/commercial law record
5. Education - MA in (Language) Studies or Translation
6. Examination in translation skills - to and from Polish, administered by the national board


Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:48
Ireland Apr 25, 2007

This may surprise a lot of you, but we have no official system of certifying or swearing in translators or interpreters in Ireland.

You can apply for "certified" status from the ITIA, however it does not (yet) count as being state-certified, it is merely a certification from a professional body.


PS - usually a signed statement from the translator is sufficient if the translation is going to be used by the police, but it is often best for the client to cover himself by getting an ITIA-certified translator if you file is going to a Government department or a court of law. It really depends on the situation.

[Edited at 2007-04-25 15:05]


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 12:48
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Canada Apr 25, 2007

In Canada there are very few universities that offer a degree in translation/interpreting and then only in a limited number of languages, French being the most common.

Each province has its own Association of Translators and Interpreters, which are all affiliated with the Canadian Translators and Interpreters Council (CITC).

To become a certified translator, regardless of whether or not you have a degree, you have to pass two exams: first the exam to become an Associate member and, once you have become more experienced, another exam to become a Certified member. These designations are then recognized across the country. However, to work as a translator/interpreter for the government you have to take additional exams.


Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
To Mountain and to Henry Apr 25, 2007

In Argentina it is a career.
I m just preparing a report about the rest of the world.

[Edited at 2007-04-25 17:41]

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