31 August 2021

Certified and sworn translations: the differences

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Certified and sworn translations are two of the options available to those who need to certify the validity of the translation of their document, but what are the differences between the two?

There is a tendency to confuse sworn translations with certified translations, people often mistakenly believing them to be synonyms. In fact, though they have the same objective, namely to guarantee the veracity of the translation, there are substantial differences between the two types of service.

With a sworn translation the translator completes and signs a sworn statement, i.e. a document in which he or she declares that the translation is faithful to the original text, before a judge or other legal official.

Meanwhile, certified translations represent an alternative and differ from sworn translation in two respects: the certifying body and their validity. Let’s take a closer look.

What is a certified translation?

A certified translation is a translation that is accompanied by a Certificate of Translation Accuracy (CTA).

Through the CTA, the translator communicates their qualifications and competence in the translation languages and declares that the translation conforms with the original document.

The certificate contains the translator’s details, signature and stamp.

The first difference between a sworn translation and a certified translation is therefore the nature of the certifying body. In the former case it is a judge or person authorised to validate the translation, in the latter case it is the translator themselves or the translation agency.

Related to this is the second difference: the question of validity. Although they do not yet have legal value, which can be acquired with an additional legalisation service, sworn translations have greater value than certified translations.

Despite these differences, in both cases the translator assumes legal responsibility for their work. In fact, documents subject to this type of translation usually contain sensitive information, meaning that any translation error could have negative consequences for the people involved, and the translator is legally accountable for their mistakes.

Certified translations therefore have no legal value but at the same time oblige the translator to take responsibility for them. At this point, however, there is another issue to clear up: the question of their validity abroad.

Validity abroad

Certified translations are not valid everywhere. Every country has its own rules and regulations: some, like the Anglo-Saxon countries, accept them without any problem while others may require other types of guarantees.

As certified translations have less value than sworn translations, as we have seen, they are often used for documents of secondary importance, such as diplomas, certificates, CVs, etc.

The fact remains that choosing a certified translation leads to significant time and cost savings. Unlike a sworn translation, it does not require a revenue stamp or a sworn statement, and is therefore a quicker and less expensive alternative.

Given the sensitive nature of the information in both cases, both sworn and certified translations require the collaboration of professional translators, such as the Way2Global team.

Our translation agency carefully selects its resources on the basis of the rigorous processes of the ISO Standards, in accordance with which we are certified, enabling us to appoint the best mother-tongue interpreters specialising in our areas of expertise for each assignment.

Our network also includes sworn CTU translators, i.e. those enrolled on the Register of Technical Consultants, and therefore able to perform any type of legal translation.

Need a certified or sworn translation? Get in touch!


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