What is a certified translation?

What is a certified translation?

If you tend to order translations, you will probably have come across the term certified translation. But what is the difference between a certified translation and a "normal" one?

Published 8/16/2017

What is a certified translation?

Simply put, a certified translation is a translation that has been carried out by a certified translator, i.e. a translator who has been certified by the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet). You could say that Kammarkollegiet has "vouched for" the authorised translator, guaranteeing that they are able to carry out accurate translations of a high linguistic standard.

How do you become a certified translator?

Every year, Kammarkollegiet holds exams in various languages ​​for people wanting to become a certified translator. It is a written test and it consists of three different texts to be translated: a legal text, a financial text and a general text. The translated texts are then checked by two examiners; one examiner focuses on the accuracy of the translation and the other focuses more on the language itself. All three texts must be approved by the examiners in order to receive certification. Certification must then be renewed every five years. Certified translator is a protected professional title.

When do you need a certified translation?

That depends on what you are going to use the translation for. Some of our clients prefer to use certified translators for most of their translations, whereas others only do so every now and then, for things like contracts, etc. Sometimes the end user requires the translation to be certified. For example, if you want a non-Swedish qualification to be assessed, the Swedish Council for Higher Education requires that the translation be carried out by a certified translator. The same may apply to things like marriage certificates or adoption papers.

A certified translator is not necessarily always the best choice

Some clients assume that a certified translation is always better than a "normal" one. And yes - certification is a sign of quality, particularly when it comes to financial or legal translations (the specialist topics covered in the Kammarkollegiet certification exam). But if you need to translate a medical report, a new computer game or marketing content for your company, then a non-certified translator with extensive experience in that particular subject may be a better option than a certified translator who has never read a surgical record, written marketing material or even played Tetris.

The best thing to do when you need a translation, is talk to the translation agency - e.g. Semantix - about your specific project. We know our translators really well, and we always do our utmost to select the best translator for each assignment. So the more information we can get from you, the better the match.

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