The certified translation

The certified or notarized translation is different from the sworn translation and often confused with it. These are completely different procedures. With the certified translation, you simply certify that you are faithful to the source text. It is a translation issued by an official translator, accompanied by a declaration on letterhead paper certifying that the translation is faithful and conforms to the original source text. Certified translations do not require revenue stamps, it will be sufficient to attach the self-certification containing the translator’s personal details and contact details.

Some countries do not require sworn translation to consider a translation valid for all purposes and with legal and official value. These countries simply require “certified translation” or “notarized translation”. In the United Kingdom, for example, there is no sworn translation process, so certified translations of degrees, resumes, certificates, tax returns and other documents are accepted.

This is because, unlike Italy, some foreign countries have legally recognized associations of translators whose translations have certified value. Therefore, in order to obtain certain services from foreign bodies, certified translation of documents is required. In this case, it will not be necessary to follow the more complex and costly procedure for sworn translations, but it will be sufficient to proceed with the self-certification of the translation by the official translator who has carried it out.

The assumption that it will save you time and money is always the same: ask the authority that receives the documents what exactly is needed. Neither the court, nor the Justice of the Peace, nor the authority issuing the document can know that. There is no single reference text from which certain information can be obtained. Unfortunately, it varies from case to case, country to country. In order to understand what the main distinction between the two types of translation is really based on, it is enough to make the difference between documents for evidentiary or public declaratory purposes and documents that regulate relations between private individuals and that perhaps require a greater degree of formality.

On 16 February 2019, Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 came into force, which promotes the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for the presentation of certain public documents in the European Union. This provides for the abolition of apostille/legalization and translation of certain public documents between EU countries.

Legal and Technical Translations  |  Dott.ssa Antonia Tofalo  |  MCIL CL, AITI  
Court-Appointed Translator of the Court of Salerno, Italy – (n° 17/2004)
Roll of Translators and Interpreters at the Chamber of Commerce of Salerno, Italy – (n° 972)
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