What is a sworn translation?
A sworn translation is a translation made by a translator who has been sworn in at a court of law.
Only sworn translators are authorized to provide a sworn translation. These are provided with a declaration, an official seal and the translator's signature. Some of these documents must also be made legally valid or provided with an apostille.
For which documents is a sworn translation required?
Sworn translations are required for documents for which legal validation is required (i.e. a declaration of authenticity). Documents that have been drawn up or translated in one country may not necessarily be legally valid in another country. Legally validating a document resolves this problem.
Documents in this category include diplomas and certificates, extracts from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, notarial deeds etc.
A legally validated sworn translation to be used abroad must be provided with the seal of the district court in the district where the translator is registered.
In addition, the document must be stamped with the seal of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Finally, a seal from the embassy or consulate of the country where the document will be used is required as well.
Each individual step of the legalisation procedure must be made separately. If legal validation of a document is required, the first step in the procedure is to obtain the seal of the district court.
When will an apostille (declaration by the district court) suffice?
For countries that have signed a legalisation treaty - such as the Hague Convention of 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (also known as the Apostille Convention), legalisation is not necessary. In such cases, the apostille of a clerk of the district court in the district where the translator is registered will suffice.
For an overview of the countries participating in the Apostille Convention, see: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
(The term of delivery of a document depends on the time required by the district court to process the legal validation/apostille. The costs incurred depend on the applicable local court fees.)