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Posted on17 January 2023

Sworn Translation or Certified Translation – what’s the difference?

Man confused about Sworn vs Certified Translation_Translation Agency

Requests for certified translations are among the most common we receive as a UK translation agency. Sometimes, however, it turns out that a sworn translation is required instead. What’s the difference between a certified and sworn translation? Let us explain.

What is a Certified Translation?

The term ‘certified translation’ tends to mean different things in different countries, which creates a lot of confusion. When submitting foreign-language documents like birth or marriage certificates to UK authorities, you will usually have to provide a certified translation. This means that your paperwork cannot be translated by just any bilingual person.

To be certified, the translation has to be done by a professional and qualified translator. Additionally, it has to include a stamp and signed statement, which confirms that it is a true and accurate translation of the original document. Certified translations can be signed and stamped either by the translator or a representative of a recognised translation agency, such as Atlas Translations.

What is a Sworn Translation?

Now, if you’d like to submit translations of your official UK documents abroad, you may need a sworn translation or legalised translation. Unfortunately, the specific requirements may vary depending on the purpose and country. Spain, France, Germany, Poland, and Romania are among the countries which require sworn translations when submitting official documents.

In some of these places, sworn translations can be carried out only by a sworn translator. This is a person authorised and appointed by a legal authority of a specific country. Sworn translators sign and stamp the translation, and it ends up having the same legal validity as the original document.

Do I need a certified or sworn translation?

Our customers who need to translate their documents from English often ask ‘which one should I get?’. Unfortunately, as each country and its institutions have different requirements, we are not always able to advise on what type of translation you need. To avoid potential issues and delays, it’s always best to contact the relevant institution for clear instructions.

Can we help?

We are always eager to help our customers. Although sworn translations are not something we do regularly, we do have sworn translators of some languages on our database. In the past, this has helped us to assist our customers with sworn translations in Spanish and Polish.

Since sworn translators are usually based abroad and sworn translations are not a thing in the United Kingdom, getting your hands on them can be challenging. If it’s needed urgently, it may be best to find a translation agency in the country where the paperwork is to be submitted. This is simply because it will likely have access to a larger number of sworn translators in the target language. Nevertheless, if you contact us at Atlas Translations asking for a sworn translation, we’ll do our best to help you.

And of course, if you require a certified, notarised, or legalised translation, we can arrange it for you right away. Just give us a call on 01727 812725 or email

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