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What is a sworn translator?

A sworn translator is an interpreter or translator who has taken a general oath before a regional court, a higher regional court or an interior authority. The sworn translator, also known as a certified translator, is thus able to translate and certify documents of an official nature into another language.

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State-approved translator

A sworn translator or interpreter is used when an official document such as a court decision or a deed needs to be translated. The documents retain their legal validity only if the translation is done by a translator appointed by the court. Certified translations are often required in the context of company formations, naturalisation procedures, binational marriages or emigration. The state-approved translator is also consulted in court proceedings, for example if the defendant does not speak the national language.

Tasks of a sworn translator

The most important tasks of a sworn translator are the translation and certification of official documents, e.g. procedural acts of civil or criminal proceedings, notarial deeds, administrative documents, documents for submission to a registry office, contracts and certificates.

Sworn translator job title

The job title may vary depending on the federal state. This is because the general swearing-in or authorisation of an interpreter is subject to the law of the respective federal state, which enacts its own laws for the preparation of certified translations. Common job titles are sworn translator, certified translator, sworn interpreter, state-approved translator and translator under oath. The terms are to be regarded as equivalent.

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FAQ: More questions about sworn translators

How much does a sworn translator cost?

According to the German Judicial Remuneration and Compensation Act (Justizvergütungs- und Entschädigungsgesetz, JVEG), the cost of a translation service is £75.00 per hour. However, prices vary depending on the assignment, translator and language. In addition, a fee for certification may apply.

How can I become sworn in as a translator?

A prerequisite for being sworn in as a translator is passing a state examination. Subsequently, an application for oath of office must be filed with the competent court, which is accompanied by an aptitude test. If the applicant is considered suitable, they must take an oath that they will perform their work faithfully and conscientiously.

How does one become a sworn translator?

To access this title, a translator must be selected by a court of appeal. The applicant must prove his or her suitability in an aptitude test. They then receive a seal with which they may authenticate their documents in future.

Where are sworn translators used?

Certified translators are primarily used in public authorities and courts.

How do I find a qualified sworn translator?

All sworn interpreters and translators can be found in the interpreter and translator database of the state justice administrations (https://www.justiz-dolmetscher.de/research/). Various search filters facilitate the search for a suitable translator.

Which documents or official documents need to be translated by a sworn translator?

Sworn translators translate and certify very different types of documents, including court documents, administrative documents and deeds.

How do you recognise a correct certification?

A certified translation can be recognised by the fact that the translator adds a certification statement with his or her signature under the document. It is important that both the original document and the translation are certified.

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