I Have Been Asked for a Legal Translation in Spain. What Is It?

The term sworn or legal translation in Spain applies to all those documents written in a foreign language and translated into Spanish or vice versa that have legal validity. These documents are normally to be submitted to an official body for legal or administrative purposes.

There are, of course, important differences between a regular translation and a sworn one. Regular translations can be required for informational purposes or to be published, but they are not legally valid. However, a sworn translation is, per se, a legal document. A private translation can be made by any person with language knowledge and the ability to translate, while official translations are made by a sworn translator, who has the certification of Sworn Translator-Interpreter granted by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation. Sworn translators are, therefore, entitled to certify the accuracy and completeness of their translations. 

Personal seal and signature

Sworn translations must always bear the translator’s own personal stamp and signature. In addition, they must also include a certification that proves that it is a sworn translation. This is usually on the first or last page. 

For some years now, the information appearing on the stamp must necessarily include a specific type of data, including the identification number that is assigned to each sworn translator. All pages of the sworn translated document should be signed and sealed with the stamp of the sworn translator and can be printed on stamp-impressed paper or regular paper, according to the translator’s choice. It is important to remember that the most important thing is to get the highest fidelity to the original, so following source layout and strict format are not essential. 

In contrast to a regular translation, a sworn translation automatically becomes a new document itself, as it has validity by itself. 

There are many situations that may arise where a sworn translation can be compulsory in Spain, such as administrative or judicial proceedings, police proceedings, conferences, and many more. Specifically requesting a sworn translation is a decision that public authorities make. You can learn if you need to submit a sworn translation generally by the organization where you must deliver the translated documentation.  

In order to provide information, the Office of Interpretation of Languages in Spain, the highest organ of State Administration in the area of translation and interpreting, offers a list of all sworn translators available online to citizens. This way, you can easily choose the provider you need by filtering out that language combination the translator translates and/or interprets. 

For all those situations mentioned above, it is vital that sworn translations and interpretations are carried out by certified and specialized translators and interpreters who can keep the accuracy of those at all times in order to avoid possible legal problems or understanding mistakes.

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