Five useful tips on sworn translation of documents
Learn what you should consider to get positive results in this service
The translation of official documents, technically known as sworn translation or public translation, is a really popular service as it is crucial for those who want to travel abroad, whether to work, study or for leisure, because it can help avoid problems with paperwork.
However, sworn translations are slightly different compared to other types of translation. It is done by translators who are properly registered with the Board of Trade of their state of residence, among other special requirements.
Below you will find some tips that directly and positively affect the success of this type of translation, so that it can fully meet the needs of those involved, offering excellent value for money.
What should I do to get high-quality sworn translation services?
You can use some of our advice to obtain high-quality translations, which is a popular service. According to Braztoa 2019 Yearbook of the Brazilian Association of Tour Operators, 1.5 million Brazilians traveled abroad in 2018.
This means that these people probably had to look for sworn translation services, as well as other people who may also have used this service to obtain legal confirmation outside Brazil.
Check out our tips:
1 – Enroll in your State Board of Trade
This is a mandatory requirement. Translators must enroll in the Board of Trade of the State where they work. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to provide sworn translation services.
This is because sworn translators need to have authority to attest their translations. Sworn translators confirm that the document translated is legally valid and they don’t have to resort to a court to do so.
To enroll, however, translators must pass a public examination organized by their State Board of Trade. You can contact the relevant Board of Trade for further information about the process.
However, be aware that these examinations are not held very often, i.e., you should be careful not to miss enrollment deadlines.
2 – Have a thorough understanding of the source and target languages
Sworn translation of documents is not necessarily more important than other types of translation, since each type has its own particularities. Nevertheless, the responsibility of sworn translators is really heavy.
In addition to handling sensitive documents, any mistake, however small it may be, can completely undermine the purpose of the translation, meaning that a full understanding of the language pair involved is indispensable.
That is why sworn translator recruiting and selection follow such strict rules, because it is necessary to make sure translators have a thorough understanding of the languages involved to avoid misconceptions and problems.
3 – Study the local culture
Although sworn translations usually do not include cultural information, professional translators must also have a deep understanding of the culture of the countries where the documents targeted are issued.
This does not mean that translators have to be experts on these matters, but they need to have a basic understanding of cultural aspects and they need to be able to get the necessary information for the good performance of their professional activities.
Thus, if a translator comes across a term or phrase with a cultural connotation, they will know how to deal with it during sworn translation of documents, ensuring a high-quality service.
4 – Document layout
Another big difference posed by sworn translation of documents refers to the need of standardizing translated documents in all cases.
When it comes to free translations or technical translations, the translated content can be delivered in print, in a digital file or as agreed upon with the client, i.e. there is a wide range of options.
This does not apply to sworn translation. Regardless of what the original document looks like, the translated content will always be placed inside a translator’s standard letterhead, meaning the translation will never have the same layout as the original document.
Clients should be aware of that to avoid surprises when they receive a translation in a different layout from the one they had imagined. Nevertheless, the translation will be in accordance with appropriate legal requirements.
5 – Beware of every small detail
Last but not least, every detail found in the original document must be analyzed so that it is fully translated.
This is another very distinctive difference posed by sworn translation of documents, which must contain absolutely everything that appears in the original document, including the names of issuing agencies, acronyms, stamps, seals and any other information that appears throughout the original document.
If any piece of information cannot be found in the translation, its integrity may be put at risk, which automatically invalidates it and, consequently, it cannot fulfill its respective purpose.
Note that a translation is only valid when accompanied by its respective original document. Then, one can always check whether a piece of information is missing in the translation.
Sworn translation: a service that requires absolute accuracy
Of course, every translation needs to be completed with excellence, whatever its purpose, but sworn translation of documents stands in a different position because they involve legal and bureaucratic issues, unlike any other.
They also share some elements with technical translations, given the formal and specific language used in many documents, especially in contracts, court records, powers of attorney, among others, which requires translators to have this specific understanding as well.
After learning about some tips on sworn translation of documents, you can clearly understand the importance of resorting to a translation agency with several years of experience and a team of experts. Thus, you can ensure the integrity, quality and legal validity of your documents.