What Is Sworn Translation

What Is Sworn Translation

Translation Services: Sworn translation is also referred to as ‘certified translation’ or ‘official translation’, but the correct term is ‘sworn translation’

Sworn translation is a certified translation of an official document. A sworn translation is the legal equivalent of the original document and has the same legal effect as the original official document.

Image showing sworn translation

The skills of prospective sworn translators are evaluated by peers (experienced translators), after which the successful candidates take an oath in the High Court of South Africa to “translate faithfully and correctly, to the best of their knowledge and ability”. Sworn translators stamp and sign every page of their translations and insert a statement certifying that the translation is a true and accurate translation of the source text.

Sworn translation is a certified, faithful, translation of the source text. It serves a different function from communicative translation. Sworn translation is very much source-text based. Communicative translation is target-oriented. It strives to communicate with the target audience. As such, prudent adaptations are acceptable in communicative translation only. The users of communicative translations are often not even aware that the document was created by means of a translation process.

The demand for this service is much smaller than for communicative translation, yet its role is crucial. Sworn translation is more expensive than communicative translations and includes the delivery, by hand or by courier, of certified hard copies.

Below is a list of typical documents requiring sworn translation:

  • Affidavits
  • Birth certificates
  • Company articles of association
  • Constitutions
  • Contracts
  • Death certificates
  • Declarations
  • Divorce orders
  • Educational certificates
  • Fica and Rica documents, such as proof of residence
  • Forensic reports
  • Marriage certificates
  • Wills

Sworn translators abound in the international languages that are translated in South Africa. However, in the nine African languages, spoken by 75% of the South African population, there are very few certified translators.

We will explore the reasons for this state of affairs in our next blog, as well as the discussions Better Language Company has been having with the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) about their plans for rectifying the situation.

BLC has been providing translation services for our clients successfully for over 13 years, mainly into the following languages: Afrikaans, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Contact us now to find out more.

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