Many times, when people contact or go to a translation agency asking for a sworn translation, they do not know what they are asking for. They know it is a requirement of Public Administrations that they have to fulfill, but they are not told the reasons or purpose.
The difference between a "normal" and a sworn translation is, indeed, very easy to understand: the latter is the official translation of a document which is as legally valid as the original and, as we have said before, it is the most common type of translation required by Public Administrations or Authorities.
These translations are legally valid for any public or private entity and must be sealed and signed by the sworn translator-interpreter. Moreover, they must include a certification formula in which the sworn translator states that that is a faithful and complete translation of the original document.
Sworn translators and interpreters are officially recognised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to perform their task.
An important feature of sworn translation is the fact that it must include absolutely everything appearing on the original document. That is to say, the translator must describe any seals, logos, signatures or handwritten notes contained in the original copy.
The documents which are more often subject to this type of translation are academic certificates, syllabus, contracts, birth certificates, invoices, passports, deeds, and powers of attorney, among others.
Nowadays, the economic crisis is encouraging young people (and not so young) to move to other countries with the aim of finding a job. Thus, the sworn translation of academic certificates and transcripts is now more demanded than before. In this case, sometimes, people tell the translation agency or translator that they need to have their certificates "validated" but this is not the translator's task, obviously. Our role is about certifying the accuracy and faithfulness of the translation so that it can be valid for the administration. Therefore, sworn translators do not validate academic certificates or transcripts: the translation is just a necessary step prior to the validation. In Spain, in order to validate a foreign certificate, you must submit a form to apply for this validation, then pay the corresponding fees and provide the specified documentations (which are generally the attested copy of the identity card and academic document subject to the validation). In case these documents have been issued abroad, you will need a sworn translation into Spanish.
Not all translation professionals are sworn translators, though, but this does not mean that they cannot translate any type of document: they just cannot seal and sign a translation, swearing that it is totally faithful to the original, even if this is the case. Therefore, this is all about having the official recognition granted by the abovementioned Ministry or not.
NARTRAN Translations is much more than a translation agency. At http://www.nartran.com you will find a wide range of translation and interpreting services, with great quality and a customised service.