Sworn translation: The definitive guide

Do I need a sworn translation?

A sworn translation is required for documents produced for official organisations, courts and educational establishments.

Sworn translations require a stamp and the signature of a sworn translator, a professional accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to certify that the translated content reflects the content of the original text and has the same validity.

Why have I been asked for a sworn translation?

Some of the most common questions are, why can’t I use an unstamped translation? Or why have I been asked for a sworn translation?  

The purpose of sworn translations is to form part of an administrative or legal process and they contain the same level of validity as the original document issued by an official body. Therefore, the translation is faithful to the original text, without omissions or changes in style being made by the translator.

Types of documents that require a sworn translation

These are some of the texts that require a sworn translation.

Academic context

  • Diplomas
  • Record of grades
  • Academic certificates
  • Academic records

Employment context

  • Statutes
  • Annual accounts
  • Contract of sale for shares or share interests
  • Company earnings certificate
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Articles of association
  • Payslips

Legal/Administrative context

  • Proof of identity
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Court rulings
  • Income Tax returns
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Purchase and sale contracts
  • Leases
  • Passports
  • Foreign documents
  • Criminal record
  • Birth certificate
  • Death certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Common law couple certificate
  • Municipal registration certificate
  • Family record book
  • Vaccination record
  • Bank statement

We are the only Spanish translation agency that provides an instant quote for sworn translations.

We simplify things for you.

Frequently asked questions

Does the stamp on a sworn translation expire?

The stamp on a sworn translation does not have a period of validity or an expiry date.  

Can I pay for an unstamped translation and then only pay for the stamp and the signature of the sworn translator?

No. A sworn translation has to be carried out  by a translator who is accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that your translation can be stamped and signed, and for them to exercise their responsibility for the translated content.  

What is an apostille and where can I get one?

The authentication or apostille is an administrative act that certifies the authenticity and validity of a foreign official document. This process verifies the status of civil servants and diplomatic agents and the authenticity of the signature that appears within the document. 

This process is limited to identifying and accrediting the signature contained within the document and therefore, does not imply responsibility for the content or its subsequent purpose.

The apostille is requested through the  Authentication Service at the Ministry of External Affairs.

Why can’t I use any translator for a sworn translation?

At BigTranslation, for sworn translations, we work with language combinations from and into Spanish.

To become a sworn translator in Spain, you will need to pass an annual test or examination  that is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. To take this test you need to be a graduate, hold a bachelor’s degree or an approved foreign qualification and be a Spanish national or a national of a European Union state or of the European Economic Area.

In what format should I send the original documents?

Preferably, the documents should be sent in PDF format. Whether due to image or scanning quality, all illegible content within a document, will be marked as “[Illegible]”.

Why is it sometimes necessary to provide the physical document but not always?

The requirement for a physical copy depends on the organisation receiving the sworn translation. It is the client’s responsibility to ask if a physical copy is required.

Why is the original document attached to the sworn translation?

The sworn translation accompanies the original document when it is handed over, as the translation makes continuous reference to the content and structure of the original documents.

How much notice should I give when requesting a sworn translation?

As much notice as possible. Carrying out a sworn translation is a complex translation process and you should keep in mind the delivery time if a physical copy be required.

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