lunes, 14 de febrero de 2011

What is Sworn Translation or Interpreting?

What is it?

When we refer to sworn translation & interpreting it is understood as a translation or interpretation which certifies its accuracy with regard to the original document. As in many other cases, not everyone has the capacity to certify a translated document or interpretation. To acquire this capacity, professionals need to be competent in a specific field. There are two different ways to become an official translator or interpreter. The first one is to attend the minimum credits required at the universities to obtain the sworn title when studying the degree of Translation and Interpreting. The second one is to pass the official examinations which are noticed once a year by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is possible to become an official translator or interpreter from foreign languages into Spanish as well as into Catalan. If you are interested in the first way to obtain the entitlement, you may find further information at the Spanish version at the Official T/I section. At this section you will find useful information about official translators and interpreters from foreign languages into Catalan.


The Generalitat de Catalunya is responsible to prepare and notice the Catalan sworn title. There are three different ways to obtain the entitlement:
  • When passing the examinations once a year noticed by the Culture Department. The examinations and the entitlement vary a little bit depending on the speciality, (translation or interpretation). In any case, there is a common Catalan and law test. The translator examinations consist of a direct and a reverse translation test and some linguistic questions about specific aspects of the test. At the interpreting examinations there is just one liaison interpreting test at courts or police stations. If you have a Degree in Translation and Interpretation, you need to pass 12 ECTS of sworn translation and 12 ECTS of sworn practicum in order to be entitled as official translator. On the other side, if you are interested in sworn interpretation you need to pass 16 ECTS of interpretation and 12 ECTS of sworn interpretation; or
  • Being entitled as a Catalan sworn interpreter by the MAE. The Generalitat noticed the first examinations after passing the Decree of 1994, while the MAE did it in 1992.
The Sworn Translators and Interpreters Registry contains a list of the translators and interpreters from foreign languages into Catalan registered in order to make available contact information about them to people requiring these services.
The entitlement to certify accuracy in a translation or an interpreting is related to civil responsibility in any case where the quality requirements are not fulfilled, with accuracy and precision. These requirements force the translated documents to have a particular form, so that nobody can attribute a false translation to an official translator.


The sworn translation has many specific characteristics concerning the form aspects. Firstly, one of the most characteristic features of this kind of translation is the seal and the signatures, which have to appear on every page of the translated document. It is also characteristic the beginning and final formula and the certification.

The standard expression for the certification usually follows the translation. The compilation of this sentence is determined in the official translator and interpreter entitlement Decree.

(Name and surnames), as an official translator or interpreter of (language),
I certify that this translation into (target language) is complete and accurate to the original document written in (source language).
I, for the record, sign this certification.
(Place and date)

The Decree also contains the main information that has to include the seal, but not his shape or the way such information has to appear. In any case, the seal has to include:
  1. The official translator or interpreter name and surnames.
  2. Registry number.
  3. ID number.
  4. Languages and translation specialities in which the translator or interpreter is entitled.
  5. Address and phone or fax number or e-mail address.


The validity of an official translation has no expiry. It cannot substitute the original document but certifies its content, therefore, if the content of the original document expires, the translation has no effects by itself.


It is needed a sworn translation or interpreting when for some reasons it is required the responsibility of someone for the negative consequences of a translation. The Public institutions are usually the ones, who request this kind of documents, but it is interesting to find the professional that will translate the document and also the amount to be paid for the services offered. Otherwise, this kind of document can be required for police station and court proceedings. Therefore, the certification has two main purposes:
  • Ensures people their procedural guarantee when they do not know the official language of the country.
  • Allows the procedure of documents written in non-official languages in the country where they are submitted.


The validity of the sworn translations and interpretations depends on the region they are signed.

Esther Monzó
Official translator & interpreter

Universitat Jaume I

Source: Gitrad

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