A new law which took effect in Hungary on January 1, 2018 is ending the state monopoly on attested (or certified) translations.

Article 62 of the Act CXXX of 2016 on the Code of Civil Procedure states that “if translation is necessary, simple translation may be applied, unless provided otherwise by law, a binding legal act of the European Union, or an international convention. If any doubt arises concerning the accuracy or completeness of the translated text, certified translation shall be applied.”

Until the passage of the new ruling, the Hungarian Office for Translation and Attestation Ltd. (Országos Fordító és Fordításhitelesítő Iroda Zrt. or OFFI) is the only organization that can issue attested translations that will be accepted by all courts and all public administration authorities.

Established in 1869 as the Central Translation Department, OFFI became a state-owned enterprise in 1945, offering attested translation, attestation of translations, and making attested copies of foreign language source documents. It is also in charge of providing interpretation for courts, prosecutor’s offices and investigative authorities as well as technical translation and revision service, according to its website.

Benigna Quirin, Head of Cabinet, OFFI, affirms that “in lawsuits filed after January 1, 2018, translations of documents submitted to courts can be filed as ‘simple’ technical translations prepared either by the OFFI or other translation agencies.”

However, she clarifies that “courts may order the submission of attested translation if suspicions arise as to the correctness or completeness of a translated text. In such cases when courts rule that attested translation is needed, translations shall be done by those authorized for such activity pursuant to law.”

Quirin says OFFI also do non-attested technical translations for any client, beyond its duty to provide attested translations. Moreover, the legal provisions on translators’ qualification requirements have not changed.

“In all cases, only the translations prepared by duly qualified technical translators may be filed with the courts. The central sectoral control of technical translation and interpreting activity is carried out by the Minister of Justice. This control activity shall cover all technical translation and interpreting activity irrespectively of the organizational framework or organizational subordination in which the body or person carrying out the activity operates. These rules continue to remain important quality guarantees for evidence procedures in lawsuits,” she explains.