In order to continually adapt to the current laws of a country, the translation of legal or administrative documents requires a rigorous process. What is the difference between a sworn translation and a certification?
A legal value alike that of official documents
Handled by an expert translator, accredited by the Court of Appeals, the Court of Cassation , or the High Court of Paris, a sworn translation is certified to be equivalent to the original source document. Called a “sworn translation” or a “certified translation”, once the translation is completed, it has the same legal value as an official document in the eyes of the Justice Department and French or foreign administrative authorities.
In order to obtain the mention “translation certified to be conforming to the original”, a sworn translation must always be accompanied by a unique registration number, a stamp, the date and the signature of the sworn translator. A sworn translation can be requested for a number of types of documents: civil acts, scholarly, legal, administrative, work , sales, transportation, or even technical documents.
Certification, one step towards authentication
In certain foreign countries, further steps, beyond a sworn translation, may be requested. These could include certification, an apostil, or legalization through the Chambre of Commerce and Industry (CCI). This shouldn’t be confused with the term “certified translation”. In this case, certification means verifying that the translator is accredited by a legal authority.
Unlike a sworn translation which only requires the skills of an expert translator, certification requires a third party who will verify the quality of the translation. Once validated by a notary or a town hall, the certification also ensures that the sworn translation of a document perfectly corresponds to the original text.
Recognized expert translators and interpreters
Sworn translations require a lot of knowledge in linguistics, terminology and legislation. These translations follow a specific ethical code and precise rules. They use and follow a quality charter for the page formatting of translated text. Recognized as “expert translators-interpreters”, the translators who handle sworn translations become judicial experts as well, working either in translation agencies, or as independents.
For any request of a sworn translation, from French to a foreign language, you can find information on the laws of the country of destination through an embassy, consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To find sworn translators in your area, you can consult the list of expert-translators from the Court of Cassation of France website.