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Sworn translations. How, where, when

Le traduzioni giurate

In an increasingly globalised world – where transactions, performances and services mostly occur at international level – sworn translations have become a tool that is frequently used in very different spheres.

In fact, several documents released by various authorities of many countries need to be translated in order to be submitted outside the national borders.

However, in order to preserve their official character it is required that the validity of their translation is also “certified” somehow.

Administrative documentation and certificates of different kind, contracts, notary deeds are only some examples where the relevant translation must be sworn to be considered valid to all effects by the foreign authority receiving them. 

Sworn translation is therefore a translation that, after being performed by an expert translator, in compliance with the original text and using specific terms and standards of the relevant sector, is then sworn at a court or notary, thus certifying its faithfulness to the original.

Sworn translators and their oath

Translators swearing at a court (more specifically at the so called “Ufficio Asseverazioni Perizie e Traduzioni” – Expertise and Translation Asseveration Office) must be registered into a special list of experts and consultants at the territorially competent Chamber of Commerce.

In order to be able to swear their own translations, they will use a standard formula: “I swear that I carried out the task I was entrusted with well and faithfully for the sole purpose of disclosing the truth”, thus declaring that that the text they are presenting is the faithful and truthful translation of the original document. Such oath guarantees the legal validity of the translated document, allowing its use in official occasions.

Procedures, time and costs

What is then the procedure to follow to obtain the sworn translation of a document? Anyone needing a sworn translation – of a birth or degree certificate, of a driving licence or a vehicle registration certificate, of deeds, decrees from authorities or scientific papers – only needs to provide the sworn translator with the concerned document.

The latter, after carrying out the translation into the requested language, will submit it to a court along with a declaration of faithfulness to the original.

This declaration, signed by both the translator and a court’s officer (or a notary), is then dated and revenue stamps of 16€ (1 every 4 pages) are applied on it, as it is usually done in case of official documents.

The translation is then included in the register of asseverated expertise thus becoming an official translation. It should be specified that neither the court nor the notary control whether the document is original or the content of the starting document, as they do not have any competence in translation.

Translation prices

As far as costs are concerned, it should be considered that the main cost is represented by the translation costs, that can vary based on the length of the text to be translated, the type of document and the languages used. The only calculation that can be readily made is for the revenue stamps.

Finally, it should be stressed that this is a very fast procedure: the sworn translation is in fact obtained contextually with the translator’s oath. The only timeline to be taken into account is, once more, the one linked to the work of translation.

Legalisation and apostille

In case of sworn documents to be submitted abroad, the sworn translation should be also legalised. Legalisation is a procedure needed to certify that the signature of the translator who swore at the court is true, and it can be carried out by a notary or by an officer of the public prosecutor’s office.

A further certification is represented by the apostille, a stamp that is put on the document to certify the signature of the officer or notary who legalised it.

The apostille is a legal tool acknowledged by the Hauge Apostille Convention, signed by 115 States just with the aim of abolishing the legalisation of foreign public deeds. Thanks to this tool, it is no more required to legalise a document in two countries (the releaser and the recipient of the document). It is also possible to avoid legalisations at consulates and embassies, if not expressly requested by the receiving foreign country. 

Di Renzo Regulatory Affairs offers their clients services of scientific and technical translation, with the possibility of sworn translation at the Court of Rome, including legalisation if required.

Written by Maria Pia Felici on 21/03/2023

Foto di Trid India da Pixabay