Everything you'd ever want to know about sworn translations in Spain.
For example, you might need a sworn translation of your birth certificate (or divorce certificate) if you plan to marry (or remarry) in Spain
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In Spain, a sworn translation is an official translation of a document which has been certified by a sworn translator’s signature and seal. This attests that it is a true and accurate translation of the original.
A sworn translator in Spain is accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación) to translate and legalize documents. To apply for accreditation as a sworn translator, an individual must either pass a translation exam offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or possess a university degree in translation and interpretation (Licenciatura en Traducción e Interpretación).
Although a sworn translation is in fact a legal document, depending on who requires it and for what purpose, it may also require a separate legalization procedure. One common way is to obtain an apostille (apostilla) as provided for by the Hague Legalization Convention. The apostille is to be obtained from the country of the document’s origin. To find out if you need an apostille, or other legalization procedure (for example, Canada is not a signatory to the Hague Convention and an apostille cannot be obtained from Canada), contact the institution for which you need the sworn translation. If you do in fact need an apostille, you can obtain a list of the authorities that can provide it from a Spanish embassy or consulate in the country that the document was issued in. You may have to request the apostille in person.
A sworn translation may be required by certain government, academic, legal or financial institutions for certain procedures.
For example, you might need a sworn translation of your birth certificate (or divorce certificate) if you plan to marry (or remarry) in Spain. Or you might need a sworn translation of your academic transcripts for homologación (getting your foreign university degree recognized in Spain). Or you might need a sworn translation of an insurance report, a corporation’s articles of incorporation or an employment contract with a foreign firm.
Verify the quality of the completed sworn translation.
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Alternatively, the simplest way to find a sworn translator is to pick one in your area from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation’s official list. Click here for the official list of sworn translators in languages from A to U (Albanian to Ukranian). Many translation agencies also employ sworn translators and may say so in their ads. Or you can check the Spanish phone directory, either in print (your local Páginas Amarillas).
Cost control vs. quality: At the risk of seeming contradictory, let’s go ahead and discuss cost control vs. quality for a sworn translation. When it comes time to select a sworn translator, ask yourself: “Will anyone read this translation?” If you’re certain that the answer is no and you just need the translation to fulfill some obscure bureaucratic requirement, go ahead and give yourself permission to try the cheapest sworn translator you can find. Getting the sworn translator’s signature and seal is the only thing that matters here. If on the other hand you think that someone will actually read the translation and its contents will be carefully scrutinized, then you can’t afford even one mistake, especially when it comes to bureaucracy – humorless, inflexible bureaucracy. Invest in the most experienced and most expensive sworn translator you can find, and consider it a financial investment in whatever it is that you need the sworn translation for.
Translating it yourself: If you have the time, talent, the desire to save some money and a cooperative sworn translator on your side, you may be able to translate the document yourself. Some sworn translators will take your translated text, make the necessary corrections and adjustments, and then seal and sign off on it, making the translation “official” in the eyes of the Spanish government and giving you a nice price break in the process.
Quality control: If at all possible, you or someone you know with good language skills should verify the quality of the completed sworn translation. As in any profession, errors do sometimes occur and it would be in your best interest to have the sworn translation double-checked.
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