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Official Translations

Nov 24, 2014

In today’s globalising world, many people and institutions require official translations, but the concept of official translation is not widely known.

An official translation is the translation of any document which needs to serve as a legally valid instrument. In reality, most official translations involve translating legal documents such as contracts, deeds, Wills and many others. However, they can also include translations of medical reports and academic documents, for example.

Only official translators are authorised to certify official translations. For example, in Spain official translators are appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Official translators have to be familiar with the two legal systems involved and master their legal terminology to produce accurate translations. Furthermore, the official translation has to mirror the content, tone and style of the translated text.

The official translation will be always certified, signed, dated and stamped by the official translator.

On most occasions, the document translated will bear an Apostille which means that the document has been legalised. An Apostille is an official form attached to documents to be used in countries which are signatories of the Hague Convention.

In Spain, an official translation produced by an official translator does not need to bear the Apostille.

An official translation will be required in many circumstances such as:

  • If an English Will disposes of any assets in Spain, an official translation of the Will is necessary to be submitted to the Spanish notary, land registry or the bank. The official translation of the death certificate in English will be also necessary and official translations of birth and marriage certificates may be required.
  • If a property in Spain is transferred by an English divorce order, an official translation of the order is necessary to be submitted to the Spanish notary, land registry or the bank.
  • If a judgment in English has to be enforced in Spain, an official translation of the judgment is necessary to be submitted to the Spanish court.
  • If a British company wants to open an office in Spain, the official translations of the deed of incorporation and the memorandum and articles of association, among others documents, will have to be submitted to the equivalent of Companies House in Spain. The Spanish bank may also require the official translations if the company wants to open a bank account. The Spanish Social Security or Tax Office may also need official translations of employment contracts or pay rolls.

The official translations always must be submitted with the original translated documents.


Dalila Segador

About the author

Dalila Segador

Dalila joined Nockolds in 2005 and is a Sworn Official Translator in our International Team. Before joining the firm, Dalila graduated with a master’s degree ...

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