Certified translation usually involves translation of official documents required by various authorities and institutions. The intention of such translation is to confirm that the translated content is identical to the original text (source document). There is no international standard for certified translation so the requirements as to who should prepare such a translation differ, depending on the country. Regardless of any applicable legal requirements, lingy ensures certified translation matching any European legal system.
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Certified translation in the world
People who wish to work as interpreters or translators must be certified by NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters), which is an association for translators. Subsequent professional degrees obtained depending on the knowledge possessed, are a confirmation of professional qualifications. Language Aide is the initial title which only confirms knowledge of a given foreign language. Further degrees, i.e. Professional Interpreter and Professional Translator, give the translators rights to provide specialised translation services (including legal translation).
The information regarding increasing qualifications by translators with certified language competences, and other data can be found on the NAATI website.
The Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council is an organisation that associates translators, defines standards of translation and ensures exams confirming qualifications applicable in Canada.
If a document was not translated by a certified translator, the reliability of such a document and language competences of the translators requires additional confirmation.
The information about the above can be found on the respective websites of a consulate, e.g. for Polish, refer to the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto, which provides certified confirmations for the Polish/English language pair. In this case, it is not required for the translation to be prepared by a sworn or professional translator, or to be confirmed by court beforehand.
Additionally, the above website includes a list of selected translators, legal advisors and notaries working in the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
There is no unified system for verification of translators’ processional competences. This means that there are various organisations associating people who offer translation services, which make it easier to source a specialist in a given language pair. The American Association of Language Specialists founded in 1957 in Washington D.C. and the American Translators Association are examples of such associations.
Official documents such as those issued by a court or other administrative authorities (e.g. marriage certificate) require an apostille seal. This means that the document is authentic and originates from a specific institution. It makes the document legitimate when used abroad. Private documents must be additionally certified by a notary public.
Such a form of certification has been applicable to Poland since 14 August 2005 when this country became a party to the Hague Convention which annulled the obligation of legalising official documents for consular institutions.
There are no sworn translators in Great Britain. Specialised translation with legal nature can be prepared by a person who is specialised in this area. Such translations are called certified because they have to be confirmed by a notary public in order to be legal. The above notary public is also responsible for the quality of such a certified document.
There is also no single state institution that defines translation standards, but only various organisations associating translators, e.g. The Association of Welsh Translators and Interpreters or The Association of Police and Court Interpreters.
It’s important to note that documents translated into English and certified in Poland by a sworn translator (sworn English-Polish translator) are respected in Great Britain.
There is no official list of sworn translators operating in Belgium. Each court has its own list of sworn translators authorised to provide certified translations. To check the competences of a given translator, you will need to contact the court registry.
In order for a translation to be considered certified, the translator’s signature must be certified by the court that has sworn the translator.
In the case of documents in the Polish-French pair not translated by a sworn translator, if the translation has been done reliably and legibly, it may be certified by the Consular Division of the Embassy of Poland in Belgium.
Certified translations in this country can only be prepared by sworn translators.
Due to the fact that both Denmark and Poland are signatories of the Hague Convention, documents translated in these countries can be certified with an apostille by the legalisation department of the Danish and Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively.
The list of sworn translators operating at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Copenhagen can be checked on the institution’s website.
In France, only sworn translators are authorised to prepare certified translation of official documents such as marriage certificates or diplomas.
The valid list of specialists working in France according to the data of the Ministry of Justice can be found on the website of Annuaire des traducteurs assermentés de France (database of sworn translators in France).
A list of sworn translators of Polish can be found on the website of the Consulate General of Poland in Lyon. It’s worth adding that the civil registry offices both in Poland and in France issue multilingual copies of civil status records (plurilingue), which are recognized in both countries without additional translations or authentication.
This country is also no exception when it comes to the profession of a sworn translator. On the website of the BTV office, which is subordinate to the Dutch Minister of Justice, you can find the register of sworn translators of Polish and Dutch authorised to practice as sworn translators on the territory of the Netherlands.
There are no sworn translators in Ireland. Professional translators are associated by The Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) which keeps a register of translators and is in charge of all matters related to the preparation of translations.
The type of translation prepared by such specialists is defined as ‘certified translation’. However, there is no requirement that all translations should be prepared solely by translators from the ITIA list. There are also no provisions that would clearly regulate the aspect of translation, and there is no single model certification clause that would be used by all translators (the translations themselves can be made on plain paper).
An individual who has passed examination specified in the Act of 20 December 2000 and in the ordinance of the Minister of Justice can become a sworn translator in Iceland.
Icelandic law does not regulate the content and formula of the translation certification clause. Specifically important documents are often printed on special watermarked paper. It is available in bookstores and there is no limit to its purchase. This means, however, that the preparation of a translation on such paper itself does not in any way guarantee that it is a certified translation.
The law in Iceland does not require sworn translators to keep registers as the case is in Poland, therefore translations are not numbered.
A list of sworn translators operating in Iceland can be found on the website of particular county governors (is. sýslumenn) syslumenn.is. According to Icelandic regulations, in most institutions, e.g. in hospitals or in courts, it is possible to use the services of an interpreter. It is not always free of charge and due to the limited number of interpreters, arranging such an appointment may take time.
The issues related to the profession of a sworn translator, or more precisely, translators admitted to work in courts and public administration bodies in Liechtenstein, are regulated by the Act of 26 November 1999 and the Ordinance of 25 January 2000.
The translators have an identification badge and may also use the term “translator admitted to work in courts and public administration bodies of Liechtenstein” in front of their name.
There are no sworn translators in Lithuania equal to those in Poland. Official translations are prepared by translation agencies. The documents they prepare, i.e. certified translations, bear the given agency’s round seal. Translations certified this way are signed by the translator who prepared them, and their signature is additionally certified by a notary public.
In Luxembourg, a sworn translator is registered on a list kept by the Ministry of Justice. The translation does not bear a certification clause. It only has to include a heading with the information on which language the text was translated from as well as a note as to whether the translation was made from the original document or from a copy. Certified translations are prepared on plain paper.
Sworn translators in Luxembourg place a seal with their details on the translated documents. The form of the seal is not regulated by the law so it can be round or rectangular.
The profession of a sworn translator does not exist in Latvia. This role was partially taken over by notaries. In Poland, however, translations made by a Polish sworn translator of the Latvian language are respected.
There are two types of certifications for translation in Latvia.
The first one is carried out in accordance with the provisions of No. 291 of the Council of Ministers: “Principles for certifying translations of documents into the national language”, i.e. a certificate with the translator’s signature and seal of the translation agency as well as a certification clause containing the information that it is a “truthful translation”, and an indication of the full name registration number, city and date of the translator.
The second type is a certificate issued by a notary public who confirms the translator’s signature or his/her identity with the notary’s own signature and seal, but without a note about the status of a sworn translator.
Similarly to the Netherlands or Luxembourg, also in this country only sworn translators approved by court are permitted to prepare sworn translations of official documents.
The Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer (BDÜ – Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators) is a national organisation that represents around 80% of translators in the country.
Statsautoriserte translatørers forening (STF – Association of Translators Authorised by the Norwegian Government) operates in Norway. Certified translators who are members of this organisation are authorised by the Norwegian government to place their own seals and signatures on translated documents along with the following clause: “authentic sworn translation”, which constitutes a certified translation.
The Translatørportalen website, managed by STF, features a search engine for translators in selected language pairs.
There are no sworn translators in Portugal. Certified translations are provided by Portuguese consulates in the individual countries where the document was drawn up as well as notaries, civil registrars, lawyers, legal advisers and chambers of commerce and industry.
There is no specific template of the translation certification clause defined in Portuguese legislation. The translated document should contain information about the language of the translation and confirmation that it is a certified true copy of the original document.
Sworn translators are officially registered in Slovakia. The list of sworn translators is kept by the Slovakian Ministry of Justice. The names of sworn translators of Polish, active at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Bratislava can be accessed on the Embassy website.
Sworn translators in Slovenia appear as a function, not as a profession. Individuals appointed by the Ministry of Justice as sworn translators for an indefinite period of time are authorised to prepare certified translations.
Certified translations feature a clause confirming that the translated document is a true copy of the original document, as well as the seal of the sworn translator and his/her signature.
The list of sworn translators is available on the website of the Slovenian Ministry of Justice.
Individuals who have passed the relevant state examination are authorised to prepare certified translations in Sweden. There is also a division into translators and interpreters. A similar principle applies to the authorisations for specific language pairs. They are acquired for translations into/from a specific language, e.g. from English to Swedish or from Swedish to English.
A sworn translator places their stamp on each certified translation and applies their authorisation number, which also indicates the type of authorisation he/she holds.
In Sweden, a sworn translator does not take an oath, as the case is in Poland, but when acquiring a license to practice the profession, translators are obliged to comply with the code of a sworn translator. The rights should be renewed every five years.
There are no sworn translators in Hungary. In line with Regulation of the Council of Ministers No. 24/1986, the National Agency for Translation and Attestation, which has branches all over the country, is authorised to prepare translations into Hungarian that are respected by state authorities.
Certified translations may only be prepared by people who hold qualifications as specialised translators or specialised interpreters. According to the above regulation, it is possible to prepare certified translations also by other translation agencies but this only applies to selected documents in the official languages of the European Union. In such a case, the translators who provide such services must hold the qualifications of specialised translators or specialised interpreters.
A finalised certified translation is stitched to the source document and stamped with the name of the office in Hungarian and French as well as the national emblem of Hungary. The translations also feature fiscal stamps, the signature of the head of a given office or a person authorised as well as the date of the translation.
Both courts and consulates in Italy may indicate their official translators, i.e. individuals who have passed an exam or can confirm their foreign language skills in any other way.
Refer to the website of the Consulate General of Poland In Milan to access the list of attorneys, notaries and translators operating at this institution and to find information on the certification of documents translated between Polish and Italian.