Sworn translators
Thread poster: Kevin Dias

Kevin Dias
Local time: 08:24
SITE STAFF
Jan 4

Hello all,

There is some interest from outsourcers using the directory to be able to filter by "Sworn translators". The ProZ.com team is exploring this and would like to get feedback from service providers first. What do you think of the idea? How should ProZ.com go about collecting and/or verifying this data?

Thanks in advance for your input.
Kevin


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:24
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Sworn translator Jan 4

Hello, Kevin.

It would be a nice idea to implement.
I would add in the search what kind of certificate we bear: through examination, through degree or through homologation of a foreign diploma (at least this is a difference government makes in Spanish sworn translators list).

Regards.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:24
French to English
Variations from one country to another Jan 4

The procedure in France is very, well, very French. Applications are to be sent in between 1st January and 28/9th February each year. A commission sits mid/late November of the same year to determine which applications to accept. Successful applicants are notified mid-December and able to start officially on 1st January of the following year.

A new inscription onto the official list is valid for 3 years and thereafter, to remain on the list there are rules to be satisfied.

Entry on the list can be proven by a document produced by the Cour d'Appel of the region where the translator lives. it is a "procès-verbal de prestations de serment d'experts judiciaires", literally a statement of those who have be sworn in as legal experts". The list includes all professions sworn in at the same annual session of the Court, indicates which local court the individual is attached to, the speciality (in our case translation and/or interpreting, plus the languages concerned). Official lists are published by each regional Court of Appeal, although they are not always up to date.

The Cour de Cassation in Paris also produces its own separate list of sworn translators and interpreters. It also publishes in PDF form the lists of all the regional Cour d'Appel, region by region. Whatever the region, a sworn translator is able to certify translations nationwide. He/she is not restricted to the region on which he/she is listed.

Note that those who are sworn interpreters cannot certify translations, nor vice/versa. Some are certified to do both, some are one or the other only.

They are not allowed to advertise the fact that of being sworn translators/interpreters, but are allowed to mention the fact on headed notepaper and in communications where it may be appropriate. Being mentioned on lists and directories is allowed, I believe as there are a number of such lists available on line.



[Edited at 2018-01-04 13:02 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:24
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Variations Jan 4

Nikki is right, there are variations from one country to other. In Portugal, unlike other countries, there are no sworn translators. To certify a translation, so that a translated document is legally valid, it is necessary to make its certification at the organizations empowered to do so (namely Notary’s Offices and Attorneys). I was a sworn translator working for the Belgian Courts for 15 years, but I moved back to my home country last year…

http://www.irn.mj.pt/sections/irn/a_registral/registos-centrais/docs-da-nacionalidade/docs-comuns/traducao-de-documentos/

[Edited at 2018-01-04 13:28 GMT]


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:24
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Idea Jan 4

An idea would be to validate the credentials of being a sworn translator/interpreter and specify in which country, since what date, under what circumstances and with which attributions. In total, five variations.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:24
French to English
Open/comments box Jan 4

As there are as many possibilities as there are countries in the world, some of which have no such system, it will be essential to have some means of consulting an independent official source to check that an individual claiming to be a sworn translator, is in fact what he or she is holding him/herself out to be. In France, holding oneself out to be a court-appointed expert when that is not the case is an offence.

It is also important to be able to use the correct definition in the language concerned. I don't think we should translate the term which is so country-specific and which infers the right to do some things but not others. Further, some countries have more than one possibility: sworn, certified, expert. Again, being able to post an URL to indicate an official source would be helpful.

I would not accept to post a copy of the court document confirming the fact, as it could be misappropriated and I would be held responsible. I would be only too happy to refer an individual to a source, online or otherwise, by which the information can be checked.

An open comments box would be helpful too.


[Edited at 2018-01-05 00:04 GMT]


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Kevin Dias
Local time: 08:24
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Great info! Jan 4

Thank you Susana, Nikki, and Teresa for the information you provided. That is very helpful.

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:24
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
No sworn translators in the US Jan 5

Kevin,
I have encountered outsourcers several times who were unaware that there are no sworn translators in the US. You have to make sure that whoever uses this future filter in the directory fully understands what the implications are. As others suggested, asking for a sworn translator is only meaningful if the searching person specifies in which jurisdiction they want the translator be “sworn”, and if they select a country that has no such system, they would be warned with an explanation and the filter would be disabled.


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Kevin Dias
Local time: 08:24
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Country dependent Jan 5

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

Kevin,
I have encountered outsourcers several times who were unaware that there are no sworn translators in the US. You have to make sure that whoever uses this future filter in the directory fully understands what the implications are. As others suggested, asking for a sworn translator is only meaningful if the searching person specifies in which jurisdiction they want the translator be “sworn”, and if they select a country that has no such system, they would be warned with an explanation and the filter would be disabled.


Hi Katalin,

Yes, great point. I imagine that if such a feature were to be incorporated the option to filter by sworn translators would only appear if the country/location filter option is utilized by the outsourcer and the country/area selected by the outsourcer is one in which such a system exists.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TARGET country dependent Jan 5

If Proz wants to go this way (which is a worthy cause), here is some informative background, which I hope shall be useful.

For the record, I am a sworn translator licensed by the Brazilian government for English (all such translators are implicitly licensed for the national language, Portuguese). While I've put together as much information as I could - in English - at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/sworn-translation.html , there is no universal guide for anyone who needs, say, an original document written in Syldavian translated in a way to be accepted for official/legal purposes in Slobovia.

There is an interesting comparison to be made with the Apostille of the 5th Oct. 1961 Hague Convention. All signatory countries mutually accept each other's Apostilles.

Such reciprocity does NOT exist anywhere with "official" (aka sworn/certified) translations. I'll quote just ONE example to illustrate, Brazil x Australia.

Brazil - Pursuant to a federal decree dated 1943 - and unamended to date - NO document in a foreign language can be accepted for any legal/official purpose unless it is attached to the corresponding sworn translation, done by a sworn translator appointed (after having passed an exam) by the Brazilian government. Such translators must be Brazilian citizens and live in Brazil.

Australia - All governmental agencies require foreign-language documents to be submitted with their certified translations, and while they explicitly recommend translators accredited by the NAATI (a private institution), they'll accept any translation deemed official in the document's country of origin.

Bottom line is that while Australia will accept Brazilian sworn translations into English, Brazil will not accept NAATI-certified translations into Portuguese.


Yesterday, on another matter, I saw that in Europe sworn translators may be regional within one country. In contrast, Brazilian law explicitly says that while its sworn translators can only operate within the state where they are registered, their sworn translations are valid throughout the entire country.

Brazilian law on sworn translations (from 1943) precedes not only the Computer Age, but also electronic photocopiers and the agonizing fax, hence everything is in hard copy (though scanning & e-mailing are not forbidden, as they didn't exist then).

Spain has a similar law. however it dates back from the 1600s, so it has been updated several times. One key difference is that Spanish sworn translators are required to have ANY EU country citizenship, and can reside anywhere. Therefore I know of at least one sworn translator in Brazil who is licensed by BOTH Brazil AND Spain. (She'd lose her Brazilian license if she moved to Spain.)


In the USA and Canada each translated-document-receiving entity is empowered to establish their requirements. There are private translation accrediting organizations (ATA, CCTIC, ATIO), however not all entities require such certification.

One particular case in Western Canada attracted my attention. A Brazilian nurse moved there, and wanted to revalidate her Brazilian diploma. The local nursing board required an official translation of her entire 120-page course syllabus. So she hired a translator established there, certified by all three of the aforementioned organizations, who did it following the local protocol. That translation was rejected. The board showed that, in the small print, they required that document to be translated by a translator deemed 'official' in the country where it was issued!


Portugal (which shares a common language with Brazil) has rules. Making a long story short, a Brazilian sworn translation from any language into Portuguese having the endorsement (Apostille) of the Consulate of Portugal in Brazil will be valid there.


Brazilian sworn translators only cover some 20+ languages. The law rules that all others should be served by ad-hoc appointed translators, which is often a time-consuming and expensive (fees) process. When time is of the essence, the best solution is to get a sworn translation into one of the served languages in the country of origin, and proceed from there to a Brazilian sworn translation.


The above is merely the tip of a huge iceberg. Yet our mission - as translators - is to convey information across language borders.

Some translation clients believe that a translator who has been certified by any entity is generally "better" than another who hasn't. To further cloud the issue, there are "certified translator diploma stores" around, at least one of them has been discussed on the Proz forums.

Evidence of this misconception was found with a successful Brazilian writer I met a few years ago. Two of her books had sold out two editions each. I'd classify them under the "esoteric romance" genre. She decided to go global, and have them translated into EN, FR, DE. So she contacted a number of translators, chose one (always the same) page of each book, and invited them to take a test. Results were appalling, as rated by native readers in all three. I asked her where she had found those candidates... the Sao Paulo State directory of sworn translators! Of course, most of these are used to translate technical/legal stuff, far away from her books.


Bottom line is that the best Proz could do without plunging into a database covering unlimited possibilities would be to add a few searchable fields to a translator's profile:
1. Officially sworn/certified? Y/N
2. If Y, by (a) government and/or (b) private entity
3. If (a = Y): (c) national: which country? / (d) regional: which jurisdiction (state, county, court, etc.)
4. If (b = Y): which entity? (list: ATA, IoL, Abrates, etc.)

While the requirement is clear-cut in Brazil and Spain, in most other countries it will be necessary for the translation client to ASK the translation-receiving entity what are the requirements for their specific case.


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Marcella Marino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:24
Member (2016)
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree with Susana Jan 6

"An idea would be to validate the credentials of being a sworn translator/interpreter and specify in which country, since what date, under what circumstances and with which attributions. In total, five variations."

I agree with Susana's idea.
Just my opinion: I would also add to specify what is meant under "sworn translation" in our belonging country, I mean what does it imply for documents, revenue stamps to be applied on them (in Italy we have to put them on sworn documents) and fix expenses (apart from the costs of the translation and swearing services, that need to be discussed with the customer and charged separately). Maybe this was already meant by Susana under "circumstances and attributions".


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