When someone asks me if I’m a sworn translator, I immediately dust off my trusty template response file. This response explains how I’m a certified translator, but I can’t possibly be a sworn translator because they don’t exist in my jurisdiction. If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me this question, I’d be a rich woman. In fact, I’d probably be writing this from the Seychelles rather than a sleepy Yorkshire town.
When you use my services, I always try and educate you as much as I can about the industry. You’ll thank me for it in the long run because next time you need a translator, you’ll know what service to ask for, and ultimately, you’ll be able to get the job done quicker. Knowing what you want makes your life easier as you get the service you need and deserve, and it makes my life easier because I can deliver a flawless translation that’s fit for purpose.
I hate to break it to you, but sworn translators don’t exist in England and Wales, and it’s my job to explain that you won’t find this mythical being, even on the darknet (educated guess). However, many people throw around “sworn” and “certified” translation services interchangeably for various reasons, but this confuses people. Perhaps you’re used to sworn translators in your jurisdiction, or maybe you’ve been advised that you need a sworn translation, when in fact, a certified translation would suffice.
Misinformation can seriously confuse you because you simply don’t know where to turn for the right service. Fear not, I’m here to expel some myths and arm you with a toolkit to get the certified translation of your dreams so you can get hitched or settle your Brexit status. You’ll end up with a translation that ticks all the boxes.
I recently received an enquiry from a Spanish colleague whose client required a “sworn” translation of their PhD certificate and related documents from French into English. After digging a little deeper, they didn’t require a “sworn” translation. They needed a “certified” translation. I found this out within minutes of the initial email because I knew the right questions to ask. By asking for more information about the translation’s purpose and the requesting party, I provided crystal clear advice. Until I know what you need, I don’t know what service is right for you.
This is probably the start of something beautiful. But first, make sure you’re clear on what exactly the requesting party needs from you. What are the requirements of the translation? You don’t ask. You don’t get.
Once you’re clear on their expectations, you’ll know what you want, and it’s always so much easier to get what you want in life when you’re clear on what that is. If you’ve never needed a translation for official purposes before, it isn’t easy to know the right questions to ask. Don’t worry. I’ll let you into a little secret. I know the right questions to ask, and soon you will too.
First things first, what do you need it for, and what is the purpose of your translation? The purpose of the text has never been more critical. So, make sure you check with the requesting party exactly what they intend to do with the translation. Once you have the correct information, you can then provide me with a clear brief, and you can breathe a sigh of relief while I crack on.
The purpose can differ drastically according to the requesting party or use. If in doubt, I always ask my clients to check with the relevant authority or person requesting the translation precisely what they require in writing. And if they require a certified translation, we’re in business. It’s imperative to ask the relevant authority or person requesting the translation for their requirements. If there’s a problem with the translation you provide, you’re covered as you’ve asked the right question in writing, so they won’t have a leg to stand on.
Translators will also really love you if you give them plenty of time to complete, certify and post the translation to you, so you both avoid any sleepless nights. Get in touch with me as soon as possible so that we can get the ball rolling.
So, what’s the damage?
I charge more for a certified translation as it requires more work; the translation itself, extra administrative tasks, certification, and postage are all reflected in the price. I’ll be very transparent about the cost from the start, and we’ll agree on this before certification. If we get this right, your certified translation will be signed, sealed, and delivered in no time.
So, what’s the difference between a certified translator and a sworn translator? All you need to know is that only the former exists in England and Wales.
Unlike many EU countries, the UK does not have a system of “sworn” or “certified” translators accredited by a particular body. Translations required for official purposes, such as birth, death and marriage certificates, legal documents, academic transcripts etc., can be self-certified by any practising translator, including members of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) like me.
However, guidelines frequently stipulate that a “certified translation” should be prepared by a professional body member, such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). As I’m a Member of the CIOL, your documents are in safe hands.
Please note that certification does not guarantee the quality of a translation but identifies the translator and their credentials and makes them accountable for their work. Using a qualified professional is vital for translations required for official purposes, but the requirements for a certified translation vary depending on who needs it.
The UK government says:
If you need to certify a translation of a document that’s not written in English or Welsh, ask the translation company to confirm in writing on the translation:
– that it’s a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
– the date of the translation
– the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company.
Whereas HM Passport Office gives this advice:
Where a document written in a foreign language is submitted in support of a passport application it should be submitted with an English translation attached. It should be provided by a translator registered with an official organisation such as the Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation & Interpreting. A translator who is employed by a recognised Translation company, the latter being a member of the Association of Translation Companies, is also acceptable.
As you can see, the requirements differ slightly depending on who’s asking. So, the moral of the story is: always quiz the requesting party. Then, I have all the information I need to deliver an end-product fit for purpose.
What do you get for your money? Once I’ve translated your document(s), I’ll attach a letter on company letterhead confirming that a qualified translator (otherwise known as me) has translated your document in a format and wording approved by the CIOL. It includes all my credentials, including my membership number, so you or the requesting party can check that I am who I say I am.
I will also initial and stamp each page of the translation to prevent any tampering or misuse. My initials, coupled with a personalised stamp, will clarify that I’ve certified this translation for you and no one else. I’ll also sign it to certify that the document is a true, faithful, and accurate English translation of the French document. Signed, sealed, delivered, and it’s yours!
You’ll receive a hard copy with a few little freebies, including a little card, a cheeky discount code and a few edible goodies. These are to say thank you for choosing to support my small business. I genuinely do a happy dance when you buy from me, but luckily for you, you don’t have to witness that.
So, there you have it, a certified translation in all its glory, and you can now marry, divorce, or avoid whoever you like. I hope this has helped debunk a few myths about certified and sworn translations because there is a lot of fake news out there. In fact, I’m surprised Trump didn’t tweet about certified translation at some point before he was banned.
As a member of the CIOL, I can help you if you need a certified translation from French to English. You even get chocolate! Or, if you require another language combination and you’re not sure where to turn, I have a network of trustworthy translator pals that will save the day. Ask away!
You can find me on all the usual social media platforms or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get in touch. I don’t bite, I promise!