Sworn translator and notarisation

Sworn translator and notarisation In order to be able to use translated documents in a foreign country, these require notarial certification, i.e. for proving the authenticity of these documents, these should be apostilled or legalised. There are two options:

  • Choose a separate translator and a separate notary;
  • Services of a sworn translator who has the right to prove the authenticity of document copy or translation thereof.

The following provides essential information as to what is important in considering notarial certification of documents and their translations, and whether it might be more appropriate to use the services of a sworn translator to translate legal documentation.

Notarial certification is a notarial act in the simplest form. For that purpose the document is verified with a notarial certificate and in the cases of other acts of attestations (notarial certification), the notary shall prepare a notarial deed.

Documents with a notarial certificate will be given to the client, and unlike the case is with other notarial acts, the notary shall not retain any part of the document. In other cases, the notary shall retain the original of the notarial deed which is issued for use in a foreign country only if all the parties have agreed. All parties to the transaction shall be given the first copy of the deed. In case of notarial authentication, the notary is responsible for the identification of only those circumstances that are included in the notarial certificate (e.g. the authenticity of translator’s signature).

The advantage of using the services of a sworn translator is in the fact that there is no need to address two separate officials. An ordinary translator cannot verify the authenticity of document translation; instead, the papers have to be sent to a notary, who shall in turn verify the signature of translator, yet not the authenticity of translation.

If you bring your document for us to be translated, you should observe the following:

  • The presented document must be an original. All amendments to the document must be signed and the date of the document issue must be marked, each page of the document must carry signatures of responsible persons and the stamp of institution must be presented. The documents may not be torn, immersed in water, soiled or damaged in other ways.
  • If the document has been issued in a foreign country, it has to have been legalised or verified with an apostil, depending on the country’s requirements. If you are unsure what is necessary, do not hesitate to ask us. You may also read more about apostilling on our website.

Difference between sworn translator and translator

  • Sworn translators carry the responsibility for the authenticity of translation and administer the right to notarise documents.
  • Unlike ordinary translator, the skills of a sworn translator are verified on a national level and the number of errors is minimum.
  • The Sworn Translators Act specifies that a sworn translator bears liability for the damage resulting from the translation.

It is more convenient to let a sworn translator handle your documents, because thus your texts have been correctly translated and your documents certified.

The profession of a sworn translator is not an easy one, as apart from the great responsibility to be adhered, the professional notarial certificate is only granted after passing a state examination, and in every five years the sworn translators must also experience an evaluation by a relevant board. This has been stipulated by the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for the evaluation of the representatives of this profession. More information about the examination and evaluation is provided hereinafter.

Furthermore, a sworn translator must record all operations in the professional activities book, which belongs to the state and which includes all certifications of translations and transcripts. Should a sworn translator be released or expelled from office, the aforementioned book together with a professional certificate must be returned to the Ministry of Justice.

Examination and evaluation of sworn translator

The sworn translator examination and evaluation committee is appointed by the Ministry of Justice and it monitors both areas. The examination committee involves academics, acting translators, government officials and other experts, if necessary. The evaluation is carried out once in five years, and the process is aimed to determine whether the translator’s professional skills are the ones required of a sworn translator. If the individual does not pass the mandatory qualification test, the individual will be relieved of the duty and exempted from relevant rights and the individual cannot take a renewal exam before one year.

As a rule, the Ministry of Justice sets for a sworn translator a limit of one year for the performance of professional duties for each language. If the translator’s limited licence has expired, he/she need not undergo evaluation automatically.

Upon passing the examination, the sworn translator will be issued a professional certificate, which specifies all the languages that the translator may work with, and examination results. Subsequently, the certificate will also be supplemented with evaluation results. In addition, each sworn translator is required to take an oath.

Other notarial acts and translations

Under notarisation, it is necessary to consider also other acts of attestation, which may require the services of a translator. These include:

  • notarial certification,
  • notarial authentication.

The most important part of certification is the preparation of the notarial deed, without which the certification is considered void. During the procedure, the notarial deed, together with the relevant documents, shall be read out in the presence of all parties involved, and if all that is in accordance with legal requirements, the document is approved, and all the parties confirm it with their signatures. This deed shall also be signed by the notary.

The translator/interpreter’s help is required if a party has insufficient command of the Estonian language and the document is in a foreign language. In that case the act is interpreted instead of reading it out. If this is not done, the document cannot be considered certified. Any party may require a written translation that is attached to the notarial deed, but this is not mandatory. A written translation of a document requires more resources spent and it lengthens the certification process.

A succession contract may also be presented by the successor orally. In that case, the interpreter’s service may be required if the successor has insufficient command of the language in which the notarial deed has been prepared. In that case the notarial deed may be supplemented with a translation, the waiver of which must be noted in the notarial deed.

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