Certification of sworn translation and legalization services: certifying documents for use abroad

The certification of sworn translation (asseverazione) and legalization of legal documents for use abroad is a supplementary service to multilingual legal translation – and it’s something that Way2Global offers all of its clients as part of a comprehensive, efficient legal translation service.

Our certification of sworn translation and legalization service, which also includes consularization and apostillation where required, certifies the veracity of a translation for judicial or administrative purposes.

Foreign legal and administrative documentation or for use abroad often requires additional steps to certify the validity of the translation.

Regardless of the document’s source language and country or its target language and country of destination, translations may require different sworn translation, legalization, apostillation or consularization services depending on the  specific country and jurisdiction.

As a result of our translation agency’s extensive experience in this sector, we can handle any type of request and oversee the entire process necessary for your legal documents, including certification of sworn translation and legalization services — you will not have to worry about a thing.

Certification of sworn translation services

Certification of sworn translation (asseverazione) is a statement made by the translator in the presence of a public official (usually the court registrar) to certify the veracity of their translation.

This process results in a sworn/certified translation, which is necessary for the translated document to be valid in Italy – or any country other than its country of origin. Some classic examples include translation of documentation for citizenship applications, marriage certificates, wills, birth and death certificates, criminal records and articles of incorporation.

In this process, a sworn translation of a public document is certified by the court registrar, whereby a sworn translator issues a declaration that the translation conforms to the original text.

The sworn translator, a professional enrolled in the register of experts or the register of court-appointed experts, or simply a professional translator who is registered with the Chamber of Commerce or qualified to produce sworn translations, must compile a report declaring that they have been faithful to the original text during the translation process, thus attesting to the total conformity of the two documents. By law, the sworn declaration may only be made in the language spoken in the country where the certification of the sworn translation takes place.

The result of the certification of the sworn translation is a bound folder containing the original document, the translation and the sworn declaration – these must be kept together. Duty stamps are applied to the sworn declaration according to the system used by the respective court, and this represents the final stage in the asseveration process.

Certified translations

For certified translations, it’s the translator, in their capacity as a professional, affixes their stamp and signature to the translation, attaching a declaration certifying the accuracy and faithfulness of the translated document.

Certified translations aren’t valid in all countries, and often are not sufficient to officially validate the veracity of a translation, because their legal weight is less than that of sworn translations.

They can still be useful, however, as they are a simple, quick way to translate certifications, diplomas, degree transcripts or report cards, CVs, reference letters, and professional register certificates.

Legalization services

Legalization services are legal translations of documents destined for use abroad and comprise a step occurring after the certification of sworn translation (see also apostillation and consularization).

Sworn translation requires the subsequent step of legalization for a document to be considered legally valid in a different country from the one it was produced in, as in the case of visas, criminal records or convictions.

After the sworn translation is certified, the translation is then legalized (i.e. made legal) at the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the court, based on the destination country, by having a seal applied to it certifying that the document has been issued by a competent authority and attests to the veracity of the translation.

In the case of legalization, the translator first produces the translation, then visits the court for the steps of certifying the sworn translation and legalization.

Way2Global can handle every step of the legalization process, from translation to certification of sworn translation through to legalization, so that our clients receive a translation document with full validity in the destination country.

Apostillation services

Apostillation is a more streamlined version of legalization, permitted in countries that have signed to the Apostille Convention of 1961 (list of signatory countries).

The convention sets out a single procedure for the legalization of documents destined for use abroad, whereby the authorities in the country of origin attach a special official declaration, known as an apostille, to the document.

This official seal certifies the authenticity of the document and confirms that it has been issued by a competent authority.

Apostillation must be requested from the relevant authority, as specified by each country participating in the convention. In Italy, this is the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the Prefecture.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office can authenticate the signatures of the notary publics, court registrars and judicial officers. The Prefecture can authenticate the signatures of the civil officials, school officials and forensic examiners.

Consularization services

Consularization services refer to legalization of documents and translations at consulates and embassies, following their legalization at the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

This double step is required when the document is destined for countries that are not part of the Apostille Convention, which enables signatory countries to simply use an apostille.

To consularize a translated document for use in a country that is not a member of the Apostille Convention, the translation must first undergo certification of sworn translation at the court, followed by legalization at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (see previous paragraphs). The document is then filed at the consulate or embassy of the relevant country so that a visa or consular stamp certifying its validity can be affixed.

Translation validation services in European Union countries

There are no special requirements within the European Union. If the original and destination countries are both member states, no procedures, certifications or seals of authenticity are required. The bureaucratic process was simplified and streamlined by Regulation EU 2016/1191 of 2019, which aims to incentivize the free circulation of documents among EU member states.

In some cases translation itself is not even required, with pre-prepared multilingual forms available instead.

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How long do certification of sworn translation and legalization services take and how much do they cost?

Certification of sworn translation and legalization services entail in additional costs and take more time than standard legal translation.

Translation with the service of certification of sworn translation usually takes an extra half-day. On top of the fee for the service, the cost derives from the fact that a €16 duty stamp must be applied to the translation every 100 lines, from the first page of the translation onwards.

Legalization – or translation with apostille – usually requires three working days from the date we receive the documents.

Consularization services are subject to timing and costs that vary based on the procedure in place at each individual consulate. Each one has different rules, business hours and prices.


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