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2015/2016: The End of Sworn Translation?

In many European countries like Poland, France and Spain, sworn translation takes a very important part in bureaucracy and official affairs. If a court or any other person or authority requires the text to be written in its language, they will need a sworn translation to be sure the content in such translated document is faithful and complete according to the original document composed in some other language. Sworn translations (link to TRANSLIT sworn translation page) are made by translators appointed by the authorities of some country to assure fidelity and complete translations of documents need in specific issues.

In 2013, Viviane Reading promoted a project, which will put an end on sworn translations. The main aim if this project seems to be easy: make easier and cheaper for citizens in the European Union to go through bureaucracy. Many organisations and experts had been trying to stop this initiative since the announcement two years ago, but the situation does not seem to be changed –a draft is being currently composed to create a brand new set of rules regarding the admission of texts subject to translation and the conditions of the translation process as well.

You will be thinking this idea would be a very good thing for both people and authorities, everything will be easier and people will not have to pay for sworn translations, which could be expensive if the documents are very long. What is more, sworn translation is not even need in many countries, like in Ireland for example. At first sight, it is obvious this proposal only has really advantages for people, but let’s think about its advantages and disadvantages:


  • Bureaucratic procedures simplified, there is no need of looking for a sworn translator, a regular translator will do.
  • Free movement of documents all over the European Union.
  • Abolishment of Apostille and the need of the legalisation of documents.
  • Providing optional multilingual EU standard forms.
  • And, if a regular translator does it, the text will be obviously cheaper than a sworn one.


  • A translator appointed by the authorities is not going to swear that the content is full, complete and faithful to the original and s/he will be liable for the text.
  • Any person could translate any text, there would not be any difference between skilled translators and people who know languages, raising doubts about the fidelity of translated document.

But well, we still have certified translators, whose work is as valid as sworn translation, you may think. And yes, you are almost right, certified translation could be as powerful as sworn translation, but in other countries in the European Union like Spain, it does not exist or it is not as usual as sworn translation. Likewise, people could hire any person who knows a language to translate documents like court orders, birth certificates or any other important documents.

Please, feel free to leave a comment below and show what you think about this upcoming changes in European Union.

Author: Luis Cano Collada

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