(Last Updated On: 4th March 2021)

A recent true story: a client hires sworn translation services but receives a translation self-certified by someone not officially appointed as a sworn translator. The translation then gets rejected by the Spanish authorities.

Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated event. Clients should be aware that there are people out there trying to trick them into thinking that they are Spanish sworn translators when they are not.

Here is how to check whether someone is a genuine sworn translator:

1. Look out for the right title

Do not get fooled by words such as ‘certified’, ‘official’ and the like. Look out specifically for the expression ‘sworn translator’ (traductor jurado or traductora jurada). That title is reserved to those appointed as sworn translators by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tip: if you contact translators by phone or they do not have a website, get them to confirm by email that they are sworn translators, so that there is written proof of their statement, should it turn out to be false.

2. Check the official list

After contacting potential sworn translators, check the official sworn translators list to confirm that they really are sworn translators. The list is compiled and regularly updated by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and includes the details of all Spanish sworn translators, irrespective of their current job status.

Checking the list is a simple and quick way to confirm whether someone is a genuine sworn translator. Not appearing on the list means not having obtained the title of sworn translator.

On this page, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs links to the most recent version of the list; at the time of writing, the latest update to the list was made on 18 February 2021.

3. Check translators’ identity

I do not mean asking translators for proof of ID, but finding a way to confirm that they really are who they say they are. Let me explain:

Unfortunately, impersonating sworn translators is not something unheard of. The official sworn translators list being publicly available is a double-edged sword: it helps clients confirm that a person is an officially-appointed sworn translator while also allowing the malicious (and potentially illegal) collection and use of data. Anyone can check the list, choose a real name, get a stamp with a real sworn translator’s details and use it.

Impersonation is a very damaging practice for genuine sworn translators, who may be unaware of it until something goes wrong and a ‘client’ they do not recognise complains to them. A few emails later, translators find out that someone out there has been impersonating them. And there is a clue: another email address. By then, though, the damage caused by the impersonator may have already taken a toll on their hard-earned reputation.

Always check email addresses. Professional translators would normally only use their professional email address for client communication. Beware of emails sent from an address different to the one displayed on a translator’s website or the sworn translators list. Receiving emails from an apparent secondary address because the translator is ‘having problems with the main email account’ should set off alarm bells. If something looks fishy… it probably is.

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The information included in this article is correct at the time of publication/last update. This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. ICR Translations will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from loss of data or profits as a result of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

IRENE CORCHADO RESMELLA is a Spanish translator based in Edinburgh. A Chartered Linguist and member of the CIOL, she is also an English-Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Irene specialises in sworn and legal translation (particularly in wills and succession) and is an Affiliate member of STEP. ICR Translations is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and has professional indemnity insurance.

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