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Sworn translations

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A sworn translation, also known as a certified translation, is a translation holding an official value. It is the only way that a translated document, in France as well as in foreign countries, can have the same legal value as the original document.

A sworn translation must be done by a translator recognised as an expert in a court of appeals. They are the only person capable of certifying that a translated document is a true and exact translation of an original text.

When should we ask for a sworn translation?

A sworn translation is designed for administrative authorities who require official documentation. Certified translations can be made to validate the authenticity of several types of documents:

  • Translation of civil status certificates: birth certificates, family records books, identification cards, passports, marriage certificates, and common-law certificates.
  • Translation of notary certificates: testimonies, sales certificates, and procurations.
  • Translation of certifications: diplomas and driving permits.
  • Translation of legal documents: criminal records, procurations, divorce judgements.
  • Translations of commercial and works documents: trade and company registrations, company statuses, general sales terms and conditions, agreements, work contracts, work certifications, etc.

Who can create a sworn translation?

Not all translators are authorised to certify a translation. The translator must meet a number of legal requirements before being capable of making sworn translations.

A sworn translator, or an approved translator, must be an expert translator and recognised as such by a ministry officer. They are extensions of the judiciary in this way, named by the judicial authority and sworn to an oath. The expert translator is required to certify the exactness of a translation with the mention “traduction certifiée conforme à l’original” (translation certified as conforming to the original). A sworn translator can handle a sworn translation from French to another language or from that language to French.

Recognising a sworn translation

The translation of a document is recognised as official because of the written signature and the seal required to be placed by a sworn translator.

In the absence of either of these two elements, the translation of the document cannot be recognised as a legally valid equivalent. Therefore, it cannot be officially recognised by the authorities in France or abroad.

The official recognition of sworn translations in foreign countries depends on the agreements between the aforementioned country and France. In order to learn about the legal accords between two countries, a request should be made to the embassy or consulate of the country for which the certified translation must be made. Once you know the required conditions for a certified translation to be recognised by the authorities in the country you would like to present the documents, you can begin the search for a sworn translator.

Where can you find a sworn translator?

Some translation agencies have sworn translators who can certify your translations. This is the case with cabinet Bonnefous a translation agency specialised in multilingual translations of legal, administrative, and financial documents.

Learn more on the websites offering sworn translation services and do not hesitate to contact them directly to learn if they have the linguistic competencies that correspond to the translation of your document. Some translation agencies or cabinets also have an on line service where you can request a quote.

But, what if there is not a reciprocal agreement for the recognition of sworn translations between two countries? You will have to undertake in the legalisation of your document. In other words, reinforce the legal character of your translation by having a certification that is afterwards legalised by the embassy or consulate. For more information on the subject, you can consult the article legalising a translation.