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Different types of translation

 Sworn Translation or Legal Translation.


This is one of the most common confusions in the field of translation, since both terms are very similar. But the truth is that although we seem to be talking about the same thing, legal translations and sworn translations are totally different concepts.


Sworn translation is also called, depending on the country, as a sworn translation, official translation or certified translation. The translator in charge of the translation, depending on the country, is called an expert translator, certified translator or sworn translator.


Translating a document, legally and officially, from a foreign language into an official language of the Spanish State or vice versa is only possible if the sworn translator is authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC in Spain).

Sworn translations are not simply private translations, but have official value. What characterizes a sworn translation is its official nature, which is given by the translator himself, recognized by an official body, by placing his signature and seal on the document in question.


With this act the translator attests that the translation corresponds faithfully to the official document and has legal validity before any administration or official body.

Sworn translations are not necessarily related to the legal field but any document can be the object of a sworn translation.


A legal translation consists of the translation from one language to another of a document of a legal nature, specific to the field of law.

The document can be public (official documents issued by an Administration or public body) or private (written to regulate a legal transaction between individuals or companies).

The translator carrying out the translation must have specific training and be familiar with the terminology and peculiarities of the legal system, since in most cases these documents have been written by legal professionals.


The documents usually contain a large number of legal concepts that are not used in ordinary life, so it is important to know how to properly translate these concepts into the other language.

In most cases it is not enough to know a language to make a legal translation. If the document is intended to have legal effect in another country, it is necessary to know both legal systems (that of the original text and that of the country of the language into which it is translated) so as not to make any mistakes that could lead to legal consequences.


Here you can see a more detailed description:


Legal translation consists of translating, from one language to another, documents of a legal nature, whether public (official documents issued by a government or public body) or private (drafted to regulate a particular legal transaction between individuals or companies).


Documents that require specialized legal translation:

Any document written by a legal expert, whether a public official, a lawyer, a judge or a legal advisor, as well as a large number of financial documents containing a good number of legal concepts:

– Sales and financial contracts.

– Powers of attorney and deeds.

– Labor documentation.

– Wills and trusts.

– Insurance policies, expert reports.

– Documents related to Intellectual or Industrial Property.

– Foreign regulations and legislation.

– Judicial decisions.

– Arbitration proceedings.

– Deeds and articles of association.


And, in general, any legal or financial text that implies the creation of rights or obligations for a certain party.

Without a doubt, sworn translations and legal translations maintain clear differences and it is important to know how to recognize them. 

However, if you still have any questions, please contact me without any obligation and I will be happy to answer them.

Margaret Kramer

Legal Translator

Traducción Jurídica MK

Apartado de correos 490

29620 Torremolinos

Málaga (Spain)


Mobile: +34-662-492-232

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