‘SWORN TRANSLATORS’ IN THE UK
What is a “sworn translator”?
The concept of a “sworn translator”, or a “certified” translation can mean different things, depending on where you are. In Spain, for example, the system is clear. To become a sworn translator, you must firstly be an EU resident, and hold a university degree. Next, you must undergo a series of strenuous exams. Assuming success in all these, you’ll become a sworn translator, and get a unique number, license and certificate. The documents that these translators translate gain legal status. Thus, they are often essential for many official documents.
Are there sworn translators in the UK?
Unfortunately, no. In the UK, there is no such thing as a “sworn translator”. No such standardised exams exist. Therefore, it is harder to ensure quality, and translators don’t have the same ability to make documents legal.
How do you get documents certified in the UK?
According to the government advice, for a translation to be certified, the translation company should confirm in writing:
- 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
Translators simply have to give their guarantee that they have translated to the best of their abilities, and that it is an accurate translation. However, this therefore means that anyone can make claims about their translations, as the industry is unregulated. Thus, it is important to check the credentials of the translator.
How best can I certify my translations?
Although the market is not officially regulated, it is possible to ensure a larger degree of accuracy. In its advice for the translating documents for passport applications, the HM Passport Office advises that translations:
“should be provided by a translator registered with an official organisation such as the Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation & Interpreting.”
The Chartered Institute of Linguists and the Institute of Translation & Interpreting are independent organisations, where translators have to sit exams before becoming a qualified member. Therefore, like Spanish sworn translators, there is a guarantee of quality. Thus, this gives them the ability to ‘certify’ translations.
Furthermore, you can also check to see if translators are ISO 17100:2015 certified. The ISO 17100:2015 certification ensures that a translator meets minimum standards and qualifications. For example, it requires that a translation is subject to revision by a second person. Therefore, whilst there are no sworn translators, it is possible to ensure reliability.