Sworn translation consists of translating legal texts from one language to another, and attesting to their legal value. Professional translators who handle such projects are called sworn translators. As professionals, they are duly accredited to do their work, at international level by each country's organisations.
It entails translating official documents such that they retain all their legal validity. That is, they remain admissible by the bodies for which they are intended. These bodies are normally public or governmental entities (national or local), as well as courts of law.
The content of these documents can vary considerably, as they are not limited exclusively to the legal field: there are many legally valid documents whose subject matter has nothing to do with the legal environment. Legal translation should not therefore be confused with sworn translation, as the latter encompasses many more disciplines.
Some of the more common examples of sworn translations include the following documents, which are needed to carry out a wide range of legal procedures with the authorities:
Examples of sworn translations can also be found in the evidence given during legal proceedings under international law. For example, a translated expert's report will only be valid in court if it has been translated by a sworn translator.
Sworn translations are a particular type of professional translation, as the legal validity of these translations can only be preserved if they have been produced, signed and stamped by a sworn translator. This type of translation professional therefore has a dual role:
It should be noted that it is not necessary for the same official translator to complete both stages; any unofficial professional translator can translate the document, but it will not be valid without a sworn translator reviewing and subsequent endorsing it.
For an international translator to perform the function of a sworn translator, they must be duly accredited by the authorities of each country. Specifically, the regulations governing sworn translations in Spain can be found in Royal Decree 2555/1977 of 27 August.
This regulation requires that sworn translators operating in Spain:
Once the translator is granted this accreditation, they are added to a directory of sworn translators which is published on the MAEC's website. Translation agencies and interested clients can view this list and choose the official translator of their choice.
Sworn translators who work with agencies like sanscrit are properly accredited official translators who attest to the legal value of the documents they translate.