Understanding the translation world

Do you know the difference between a notarized translation and a sworn translation? It’s all explained below!


What types of official translations for Switzerland?

Any document issued by an official authority is considered to be authentic. As such, its translation can only be performed by a translator authorised by the State, which has the power and legitimacy to confirm its authentic nature on an equal footing with the original document.

Reference is often made to certified, sworn, authenticated or notarized translations. But what do these terms mean, and are they all appropriate?

A certified translation is one for which the compliant and official nature is certified by means of an official stamp and signature. When the translation is completed, the translator stamps and signs it, while also indicating the date of the translation.

This attestation is a verbal or, more often, written declaration, that substantiates the truthfulness of a fact.

For a sworn translation, the translator indicates his or her full name, address and position. The translator must date and sign the attestation. A sworn translation can be used in legal proceedings.

Authenticating a translation means that its authenticity is certified. This provides it with an official nature.

A birth or marriage certificate, for example, is authenticated by the civil registry. As a general rule, the translator authenticates the original.

Certain authorities require a certified translation to be notarized. The sworn and/or official translator places his or her certified signature on the document. The notary then certifies the authenticity of the translator’s signature. There are countries that will not accept translations unless the translator’s signature has been legalized by a notary. In Switzerland, depending on the Canton and purpose of the translation, the official translator’s signature on the translation must be legalized by a notary.

icône interprète

Do not confuse translators and interpreters

Translators only translate written documents. They strive to translate the text assigned to them with the greatest possible accuracy.

Interpreters provide oral transposition from one language to another, and serve as intermediaries during a conversation or discussion between persons speaking different languages.


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