While these days I do not get this question as often as I used to, it still pops up every now and then in my emails. ICR Translations does not offer neither next-day nor same-day sworn translation services and in this short article I explain why.
Sworn translation requests are usually urgent because something previously went wrong, such as an unexpected delay in obtaining or legalising the original. Sometimes, however, sworn translation is an afterthought which clients leave to the very last minute.
‘But it is only one page!’
One page sounds like very little work, and it may, or it may not be so, depending on the document. For example, a one-page work reference letter may be quite straightforward, while a one-page handwritten or heavily-formatted certificate may require a lot of work.
‘This is very short. It will not take a whole day to translate.’
A common client assumption is that translators can start working on their document immediately after confirmation, when that is rarely the case. Translators are not sitting at their desk with nothing to do waiting for a document to translate. Maybe translating a short, perfectly legible and straightforward one-page document takes three hours in total, but that does not mean that I can fit in those three hours right now.
‘But you could do it later in the evening.’
I could. In fact, I used to take on sworn translations outside my usual working hours for a rush fee every now and then, but I stopped doing that. There is only so much work you can fit in a day and overworking is not going to help me produce my best translation work. If anything, it is an obstacle to doing my best; words do not come easy to a tired brain (even for a rush fee) and proofreading is best done with a clear head after leaving the text to ‘rest’ a bit after translating it. Your eyes ‘get used’ to the text you have been translating and can easily fail to spot mistakes and typos.
‘But you could hire someone else to review your translation.’
As a general policy, I do not outsource any part of the sworn translation process. I have occasionally worked with a legal translator and reviewer but only when the project has been big, slightly off my main working fields and I have obtained express written permission from my client first. Within a 24-hour turnaround there is simply not enough time to add extra steps to the process and to involve another person, who will most likely not be available at such short notice.
My goal as a translator is to always deliver my best possible work to clients. From experience I know that I cannot guarantee delivering my best work from one day to the next. That is why I do not take on last-minute sworn translations for next-day (let alone same-day) delivery. My minimum turnaround for a short sworn translation is two working days, so I can translate on day one and review, proofread, certify and send the translation on day two.
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.