Sworn Translator

Sworn Translator: Everything You Need to Know About Sworn Translation

With the increase in migration and international business, sworn translation has quickly become an important need for many South Africans. You may have been told that you need certain legal documents translated by a sworn translator, but you are unsure what a sworn translator is or what they do. We have answered 10 common questions about sworn translation so that you can find out everything you need to know in our quick guide. Better Language Company (BLC) will provide you with an accredited and efficient sworn translator for your sworn translation needs.


Answers to 10 Common Questions About Sworn Translation:

Sworn translation is a highly important translation service. Suppose you require the services of a sworn translator. In that case, it means that you need legal documents translated by a translator that is certified and accredited to perform these translations. Read through our answers to the 10 common questions about sworn translation to find out everything you need to know before acquiring the services of a sworn translator.

1) What is Sworn Translation?

Sworn translation is a certified translation service performed for legal documents or certificates. Certified translation is the translation of these documents from one language into another. The translated copy of the original documents is then stamped with an authorising signature and seal by the sworn translator.

2) Why is Sworn Translation Important?

Sworn translation is important to guarantee the translated document’s accuracy and status. The authorising stamp is a certified endorsement that the sworn translator has ensured that the translation is an accurate copy of the original document. The sworn translator would take responsibility for any inaccuracies in the translation. When supplying legal documents to an official body, the stamp and signature of the sworn translator will demonstrate that the value of the translated document is equal to the original legal document or certificate.

3) How Does a Sworn Translator Differ from a Translator?

Sworn translators differ from ordinary translators. Translators will take a written document and translate it into the desired language. A translator will be fluent in a language or multiple languages and be accredited to perform translation services. The translator will be specialised in providing general, financial, or legal translations based on their qualifications and work experience.

Translators will need to have language skills and experience in the selected field to ensure accurate translation of terminology, technicalities, and subject matter. Translators are often required to make necessary adaptations to ensure the translation is accessible to the target audience. In certain cases, translators will offer a localisation service where they adapt the translated document to acquire the characteristics of the language and culture and ensure a local feel.

You cannot have a sworn translation of your documents performed by an ordinary translator. Acquiring the services of a translator to translate legal papers or certificates and then having these translated documents stamped and signed by a police officer, commissioner of oaths, or lawyer does not constitute a sworn translation. The sworn translation must be performed by an accredited sworn translator. An accredited sworn translator must perform the sworn translation.

Sworn translators are translators who are fluent in a target language and are accredited as a translator. This translator will also need to have legal qualifications, in-depth knowledge of the South African legal system, and an in-depth understanding of the legal systems of other countries where their target language is spoken. To become a sworn translator, the translator will need to pass the sworn translator accreditation test and will then need to appear in High Court to receive a certification to perform sworn translation.

Unlike ordinary translators, sworn translators will not make any alterations in the translation of the original legal document or certificate. All information in the original legal document or certificate will be meticulously translated as is, including the layout of the content, the stamps, and the signatures. This is to ensure that the accuracy and value of the translated document are credible.


4) Is a Legal Translator the Same as a Sworn Translator?

Legal translators are often confused with sworn translators due to the similarity of the nature of the translated documents. Legal translators will have an in-depth understanding of legal terms and regulations. They will provide legal document translations relevant to the recipient country’s legal system to avoid any legal ramifications based on technicality errors. A legal translator can become a sworn translator by taking the accreditation test and receiving the High Court certification. Still, without these certificates, a legal translator cannot perform sworn translations.

5) How Do I Know I Can Trust a Sworn Translator?

In South Africa, you can trust a sworn translator accredited by the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) and who has received a certification from the South African High Court. SATI is highly stringent in accrediting sworn translators, and thus you can trust the reliability of this accreditation. To verify whether or not to use a particular sworn translation service, you can ask to see these credentials before you begin the sworn translation process.

6) What Legal Documents or Certificates Require Sworn Translation?

An ordinary translator cannot translate some specific legal documents and certificates. These documents need to be translated by a sworn translator to ensure accuracy and credibility. We have listed below the legal documents and certificates that almost always need to be translated by a sworn translator.

  • Wills.
  • Marriage certificates.
  • Death certificates.
  • Birth certificates.
  • Registered partnership certificates.
  • Divorce orders.
  • Affidavits.
  • Patents.
  • Contracts.
  • Company articles of association.
  • Notary deeds.
  • Educational certificates.
  • Medical reports.
  • Forensic reports.
  • Court rulings.


7) What Should a Sworn Translation Look Like?

After acquiring sworn translation services, it is important to assess the translated legal document or certificate. While you may not understand the translation, there are easy ways to evaluate and determine whether or not the sworn translation has been done professionally. We have highlighted the two key things to look for when assessing the sworn translation of your legal documents or certificates.

“True Translation of the Original” Stamp: Assess the translated document for a stamp that states “true translation of the original” or a stamp to a similar effect. This is an official stamp that verifies the authenticity of the sworn translation. Included in the stamp must be the signature of the sworn translator and the date that the sworn translation was completed.

Stamps on Every Page: You are not looking for just one official stamp when assessing your completed sworn translation. The sworn translation stamp on every page of your legal document or certificate sworn translation stamp needs to be there swornsworn translation stamp.

8) How Will I Receive My Sworn Translation?

You will always receive a hard copy of your completed sworn translation. Your sworn translation of your legal documents or certificates needs to be on paper to authenticate the official signature and stamp of the sworn translator. You will either be posted the completed sworn translation or you can collect the sworn translation yourself if you have required the services of a sworn translator in your vicinity.


9) How Long Does a Sworn Translation Take?

The timeframe of a sworn translation depends on the length of the legal document or certificate that needs to be translated. In most cases, the most time-consuming part of getting legal documents or certificates translated is sourcing the original documents if you do not have them. Sworn translators require the original papers or certified copies of the original documents that can be sent as hard copies or emails to provide an accurate and credible sworn translation.

10) Is Sworn Translation Valid in Every Country?

Sworn translations are not valid in every country due to differences in rules and regulations regarding the validity of sworn translations. While most sworn translations produced by South African sworn translators are useful in many countries, it does not mean that every country will accept these sworn translations. It is important to enquire about the rules and regulations regarding the recipient country of your sworn translation before acquiring South African sworn translation services.

Trusted Sworn Translators at BLC:

BLC offers accredited and credible sworn translation services. BLC and our sworn translators are accredited with SATI, so that you can trust the reliability of our sworn translation services. The BLC sworn translators provide sworn translations of the highest quality and ultimate accuracy to ensure that you can be confident when you acquire our sworn translation services.

We take every step to ensure that you receive the best-sworn translation service. We have a wide database of trusted freelance sworn translators that we will pair your sworn translation requirements with. Your paired sworn translator will be an expert in your desired language and be experienced with your specific legal documents or certificates to ensure total accuracy in the completed translation.

With BLC sworn translation services, you will benefit from accurate sworn translations produced timeously. Our sworn translators are highly efficient at producing exceptional sworn translations. With BLC, your sworn translations will be completed quickly. They will be accepted as an equal translation of the original document when you provide the sworn translation to the necessary official body.


About BLC Translation Services:

BLC is your total translation services solution. We offer translation services for general, legal, and financial translations alongside our sworn translation services. We have listed our specific translation services below, but if you do not find your particular documentation listed that you require translation services, contact us, and we will accommodate your requirements.

  • Technical documents.
  • Literature.
  • Proposals.
  • Internal company documentation.
  • Marketing and advertising material.
  • Educational books and terminology.
  • Reports.
  • Financial material.
  • Legal documentation.

At BLC, we can cater to all of your translation needs due to having an extensive range of widely qualified translators. Our collection of freelance translators has accredited translators for numerous local and international languages. We have listed below the available languages we offer for our translation services.

South African Languages:

  • English.
  • Sepedi / Northern Sotho / Sesotho Sa Leboa.
  • Sotho / Sesotho / Southern Sotho.
  • Xhosa / IsiXhosa.
  • Zulu / IsiZulu.
  • Setswana.
  • Afrikaans.
  • SiSwati.
  • Tshivenda.
  • Ndebele / IsiNdebele.
  • Xitsonga.
  • African Languages:
  • Swahili.
  • Igbo.
  • ‘African’ French.
  • ‘African’ Portuguese.
  • Chichewa.
  • Shona.
  • International Languages:
  • German.
  • Russian.
  • Japanese.
  • Urdu.
  • Spanish.
  • Arabic.
  • French.
  • Italian.
  • Gujarati.
  • Portuguese.
  • Hebrew.
  • Hindi.
  • Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese).
  • Dutch.


No matter where you are, you will have access to our translation services. We are a global translation company with an extensive list of local and international clients. We offer internationally competitive rates for our translation services so that you can always afford the quality of our translation services.

Get your documents translated by an accredited, professional, and reliable sworn translator with BLC.

Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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