All about Sworn Translation in Spain

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Regulatory framework. Which laws regulate the work of sworn translators in Spain?

  • Royal Decree 724/2020 of 4 August, approving the Regulations of the Language Interpretation Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation.
    At the time of writing (March 2024), this law is the main legislation governing sworn translators in Spain. It is worth consulting it when questions arise regarding sworn translation. The other regulations are listed below, but many of them are no longer in force and were repealed by the 2020 law.

Interesting information: I’m sure that in the near future there will be other changes in the field of sworn translation: sworn translation and interpretation will be considered different professions (there will be different exams), and the certification process itself will most likely change due to new electronic signature technology.

  • Order AEC/2125/2014 of 6 November, establishing the examination rules for obtaining the qualification of sworn interpreter.
  • Order AEC/2287/2012 of 18 October, approving the rules for the administration of the procedure and the standard document forms for the payment of the fees for admission to the examination for qualification as a sworn interpreter, for the design and issue of the card, as well as for the issue of the qualification certificate and the sworn interpreter’s certificate.
  • Royal Decree 2002/2009 of 23 December, amending the Regulations of the Language Interpretation Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approved by Royal Decree 2555/1977 of 27 August.
  • Order AEX/1971/2002 of 12 July, establishing the requirements and procedure for certified translation and interpretation specialists to obtain the qualification of sworn interpreter.
  • Order of 23 August 1999, implementing Royal Decree 1665/1991 of 25 October on the profession of sworn interpreters.
  • Royal Decree 2555/1977 of 27 August, approving the Regulations of the Language Interpretation Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What does it mean to be a Sworn Translator/Interpreter in Spain?

A sworn translator (sworn translator/interpreter) is appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation. Although not actually a notary or civil servant, a sworn translator certifies the accuracy of the translation of a foreign document for submission to the government authorities or any other Spanish authority. A sworn translation signed by a Spanish sworn translator does not require any additional authentication or legalisation (when the translation is submitted to Spanish authorities).

Interesting information: Original foreign documents often require legalisation (apostille). Although this is not directly related to sworn translation, apostilles and sworn translation often coincide in the same document processing procedure: the apostille legalises the original document, while the sworn translation accurately reproduces the content of the legalised document.

How do you become a Sworn Translator in Spain?

At the moment, the only way to become a sworn translator/interpreter is to pass an exam organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The criteria for admission to and passing the exam are set out in the 2020 law mentioned above, as well as in the specific state exam calls when they are held.

Interesting information: the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not held exams for sworn translators for many years now, and when it has done so, it has only been for a couple of languages. Consequently, there are relatively few sworn translators for Russian, very few sworn translators for Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Turkish, and none for Georgian, Kazakh or Armenian, to name a few.

How to find a Sworn Translator

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website has a search engine for sworn translators in all currently available languages. You can sort the results by province or country. Important: According to Article 12(2) of Royal Decree 724/2020 of 4 August, a sworn translator may provide their services regardless of their place of residence, so there are no restrictions as to the province in which the translator lives, but this feature is useful, especially if you need sworn interpreting in person in your own province.

You can also use Google, recommendations and social media to find a sworn translator. Very often, translation agencies can give you a fast, comprehensive response, with sworn translation provided quickly.

Rates for Sworn Translation

In Spain, the law does not establish rates for sworn translators so there is a wide variation in prices. There are sworn translators with lower rates, but with longer waiting lists, there are agencies with the same rates as sworn translators, there are expensive agencies, and there are sworn translators who work exclusively through agencies as it is more convenient for them. There are also sworn translators that run translation companies.

If you are looking for a sworn translator, it is recommended to assess your priorities and choose the best option for your specific situation.

Are there official rates for sworn translators and interpreters?

No. This is established in Article 16 of Royal Decree 724/2020 of 4 August: sworn translators have the right to freely set their fees.

Quotes for sworn translation in Spain

Sworn translators have the right to choose freely how they budget their work so there is no industry standard. Most commonly the price is calculated per word.

There are also sworn translators who set their rates per page, but this is less common for documents such as contracts, for example, as the number of words per page can vary greatly from one document to another. Most translators also set a minimum fee for standard documents and almost all quote a fixed price after assessing the documents, before confirming the order.

Interesting information: handwritten documents are normally priced by page or hour as it is impossible to calculate the number of words of these documents. It also takes longer to translate such documents and this has an impact on the price.

Is it standard practice to discount repetitions in sworn translations?

No. Sworn translations are almost always done from scans (and now often from photos). This makes it very difficult to calculate the repetitions. In addition, most of the documents sent for sworn translations are similar, in principle they are evaluated and quoted per document.

Interesting information: Numbers are usually more time-consuming for the translator than words since they all have to be rewritten in the translation and checked. This usually takes more time (it is a more painstaking process) than translating text line by line. In fact, mistakes in translations are often relating to numbers rather than text.

How is the cost of copies of sworn translations calculated?

Often a percentage of the price of the first translation will be charged. Sometimes the cost of an additional copy of the translation may depend on whether a copy is requested together with the translation or later on.

At this point, it is very common for there to be different rates for an electronic sworn translation and a printed translation. Contrary to popular belief, not all electronic translations are printed first. Modern technology makes it possible to sign and stamp the document without having to physically print it. This also affects the cost of copies, if it is necessary to sign and stamp them on paper.

Interesting information: copies are becoming less necessary as the majority of procedures with government authorities are done online with PDF files.

How to get the price of a sworn translation

Virtually all sworn translators of any language want to see the documents first to assess them, so they ask for scans to be sent to them. Of course, some standard documents (criminal record certificates, birth certificates etc.) can be assessed in advance so that the customer can have an idea of the price and timeframe. However, the translator should always see the material first in order to calculate the final cost and timeframe. Figures given without seeing the document are usually approximate.

If you are concerned about the confidentiality of your documents, you can always redact your personal data in any documents you send to calculate the price. It is also essential to look for reputable professionals who comply with personal data protection legislation.

Payment methods for translation in Spain

The most common payment method is bank transfer to an IBAN account number. At Lingua Franca, we also offer our customers the option of paying by credit card, Bizum, ApplePay, GooglePay and PayPal. Cash on delivery is barely used nowadays.

The best Sworn Translators

As has been mentioned, each customer’s priorities and timeframes are individual to them, so the choice of translator is a personal one. It is recommended to find your own translation provider, with whom you feel comfortable and trust with your documents. It is like with notaries: all notaries are qualified to do their job. However, you always want to find ‘your own’. For example, at Lingua Franca we check each other’s work, which helps us avoid making mistakes and deliver our work on time; our customer appreciate this.

If you need a sworn translation, get in touch with us. We respect every document we translate, we take care of each translation.

You can call us at 950 48 65 03 or send us an email at We will be happy to help you!

What documents need to be translated by a Sworn Translator?

The documents that need to be translated by a sworn translator vary according to the situation in question. The best option is to check the requirements directly with the receiving entity: consulate, UGE (Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit), immigration, ministry of education etc. The requirements may also vary throughout the year and may also be different in your particular case (e.g. request to provide additional documentation, such as sworn translations of payslips or bank statements in a digital nomad file review).

What documents do we most frequently provide sworn translations for at Lingua Franca?

It depends on the language and the procedures involved. For example, for visas and residency in Spain, the following documents are generally translated: birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees or certificates, criminal record certificates, social security certificates and other documents concerning work, various types of tax certificates (income tax and similar), academic documents (degrees, diplomas, transcripts), employment contracts and company certificates. We also translate many powers of attorney, disability-related documents, court judgements and rulings, medical certificates, bank statements and pay slips.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, it is highly recommended to always first check which documents require a sworn translation in your particular case.

Can Sworn Translators certify Customers’ translations?

A sworn translator is legally responsible for doing an accurate translation, consequently, it is not normally possible to have other translations certified by a sworn translator.

Sworn Translations for Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Georgian

As has been mentioned, there are very few sworn translators for Ukrainian, Belarusian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Turkish and some other languages, which has an impact on the timeframes and often the cost. An alternative option is to contact the consulate. According to the BOE (State Official Gazette) already mentioned,

“[Translations] carried out by a diplomatic representation or foreign consular post in Spain, provided that they refer to the text of a law of their country or to a public document of such country. In order for these translations and interpretations to have official status, it must be duly attested that they have been carried out by said diplomatic representation or consular post”..

The same applies to languages for which there are no sworn translators in Spain (GEORGIAN, KAZAKH, ARMENIAN). In these cases, the first option is to contact the consulate of the country in question in Spain. The second option is to obtain a translation in the country in which the document was issued and have it certified by the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then by the Spanish consulate.

Inverse Sworn Translation

Can sworn translators translate from Spanish into a foreign language?

Yes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation allows for both direct and inverse translation. However, it should be borne in mind that the decision regarding whether to accept the translation rests with the receiving body, consequently, before ordering an inverse translation, the customer should check whether a translation done by a Spanish sworn translator will be accepted in the target country and authority.

Furthermore, according to EU Regulation 2016/1191, “A sworn translation carried out by a person qualified to do so under the law of a Member State shall be accepted in all Member States”, so an inverse sworn translation done in Spain for a European country should be accepted by the local authorities.

Partial Sworn Translation

Is it possible to translate only the parts of a document that are of interest? For example, to not translate an entire contract, but only a number of clauses.
Yes, as long as it is continuous text. In other words, paragraphs and parts of a text can be translated, for example, an entire series of clauses in a contract. However, you cannot partially translate sentences or blocks of text while skipping certain words or phrases. It is important to bear in mind that it is the receiving body’s decision whether or not to accept a partial translation. It is very common for banks and government authorities to ask for documents to be fully translated.

Interesting information: tax returns are the document most commonly partially translated. Everything that is filled in is translated, while fields that are empty are indicated as such and are not translated.

Digital signature and stamp on paper

At the time of writing (March 2024), the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs authorises (but does not require) the use of any kind of digital signature on sworn translations:

“… it is permissible for them to be signed electronically by means of one of the systems included in the aforementioned article.
This in no way implies an exemption from complying with the requirements established in Order AEC/2125/2014 of 6 November, laying down rules on the examinations for obtaining the qualification of Sworn Translator-Interpreter, with regard to certification, signature, stamp and photocopy of the original that has been translated”.

This means that your sworn translation may or may not have a digital signature, without this affecting its legal validity. Of course, having a digital signature can simplify the process by letting you print the translation directly, but the mandatory requirements for the signing and printing format of sworn translations remain unchanged; I will discuss them below.

Sworn Translator’s stamp

What information has to be included on the stamp?

Article 18(5) of Royal Decree 724/2020 of 4 August establishes that only the following information should be included on the stamp: the name of the sworn translator, the language or languages for which they have been appointed by the Ministry and the personal registration number of the sworn translator. A model text is attached to this Order:


Sworn Translator of (LANGUAGE)


Other symbols, logos, contact details or email addresses may not be included in the stamp in accordance with Article 18, paragraph 2 of Decree 724/2020 of 4 August.

Interesting information: translators for the languages of Spain’s autonomous communities are not appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but by the regional governments of Galicia, Catalonia and the Basque Country to translate from/to these languages. They have more freedom in the design of their stamps, so it is common to see information such as their address or email in such stamps.

Is a translation agency required to add its stamp to a sworn translation?

Some translation agencies add their stamp to sworn translations that have already been printed and stamped by the translator. This is a purely advertising element that has no effect whatsoever on the legal validity of the sworn translation. Here at Lingua Franca, we do not follow this practice as we prefer to follow only the Ministry’s guidelines for the format of sworn translations.

Can there be other stamps on the translations?

As has been mentioned, as long as the translation bears a statutory stamp and meets the other requirements for sworn translations, there is no rule against adding other stamps with additional information. At Lingua Franca, we try not to overload a sworn translation with additional elements.

Stamped Paper

Is it compulsory to use stamped paper for sworn translations? NO, there are no rules on the use of any particular type of paper. Stamped paper can give the paper version of a translation more ‘solidity’. But it is important to remember that the presence or absence of stamped paper in a sworn translation has no effect on its legal validity or on the legal procedure itself.

CERTIFICATION: Mandatory requirements for the certification and format of sworn translations

Certification, Signature and Stamp

Article 18(3) of Decree 724/2020 of 4 August establishes that sworn translators must use “the form set out in Annex I”. The form is reproduced below:

     “Mr/Ms ………………………………………………………… first name and surnames), Sworn Translator/Interpreter of ………………………… (language) under certification granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, hereby certifies that the above is a true and accurate translation into (target language) of a document written in ……………………………………………… (source language)

In ……………………………………… (place), on …………………………………… (date).”


Interesting information: Some sworn translators are still using the form specified in the previous 2014 regulation. This should not affect you at all since the difference between the new and the old certification is minimal (only a few words have been changed). It is almost impossible to notice. In all our years of practice, we have never seen this affect the acceptance of a translation.

Can any information be added to this certification?

Yes, but separately. Some sworn translators add other information not specified in the decree, such as the number of pages of the translation, whether the translation has been done from a photocopy, the wording of the certification in the two languages of the translation etc.

In which language should the certification be written in the case of an inverse translation?

Certification in Spanish is mandatory. Certification in another language is complementary and is particularly appropriate for inverse translations.

Interesting information: for sworn translations into English for countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, it is often requested that the certification also includes the contact details of the sworn translator. It is advisable to bear this in mind and confirm it with the sworn translator or translation agency before starting the sworn translation as this requirement is not mandatory for sworn translations in Spain. At Lingua Franca, we take this requirement into account when we provide sworn translations into English.

Do the signature and stamp have to appear on all the pages?

The signature must appear at the end of the sworn translation after the certification, but it is not mandatory for it to appear on all the pages. However, the sworn translator’s stamp must be stamped on all the pages of the translation and on the copies of the original document.

Interesting information: The translator’s stamped copy of the original document forms an integral part of the sworn translation. It cannot be separated from the translation, does not serve as a certified copy of the original, nor does it replace it. Do not separate the translation (file or paper version) from the translator’s stamped copy. If you are required to provide both the original and the translation, you will need to provide both the original and the translation. The copy with the sworn translation is used to compare the document so that the receiving body can see the document from which the translation has been made. Remember: a sworn translation does not replace the original, but accompanies it.

Is the Original necessary for a Sworn Translation?

No. Nowadays the vast majority of sworn translations are done online from a scanned copy of the original. It is faster, more convenient for the customer and the translator, and more secure as the original stays in the customer’s possession at all times.

Interesting information: in Spain, the sworn translator does not staple anything to the original, does not stamp it and does not interact with the original physical document in any way. Everything is done with a photocopy (scan).

Period of validity of Sworn Translations

Sworn translations have no expiry date. The exception is translations made before 2016 in Spain since different printing and formatting requirements applied to them. If your sworn translation was done in Spain after 2016, it is valid.

Interesting information: original documents do, as a general rule, have an expiry date, and when they expire you will need to update the sworn translation. A classic example of this is a criminal record certificate. If you need a recent criminal record certificate, you will need a new sworn translation of it.

Is it possible to print out sworn translations?

You can print out sworn translations that come with a digital signature. According to the regulations, sworn translations without a digital signature must come in the original version, although some bodies may accept copies, it is best to confirm this with them. In addition, most submissions are now done online so there is no need to print in these cases.

How do you check the validity of a sworn translation?

Find the name and registration number (which appear on the stamp) on the ministry’s search engine. You can also read all the transfer requirements in this manual (I discuss all the requirements above) and in the Royal Decree. Sworn translations that come with a digital signature can be verified at

Mistakes in Sworn Translations: What to do

Notaries, lawyers and translators can make mistakes. This is unpleasant for both you and the professional. Fortunately, in the case of sworn translations, mistakes are easily corrected. Report the mistake and it will be quickly corrected. If it is not a mistake, but a question about terminology, my advice is the same: contact the professional or the agency that did the translation. As a general rule, queries are resolved quickly and easily.

Patronymics and spelling names in the Latin alphabet

In the case of translations from non-Latin alphabet languages (from Russian, Arabic, Greek and Bulgarian, for example), we always ask you to send us the Latin spelling of your first and last name(s) as it appears in your passport, so that the translation matches your other documents. We also translate the patronymic or parts of the name or country-specific treatments and suffixes that appear in the document.

In Spain, the government authorities that deal with foreign documents are used to patronymics and other ‘additional’ elements in the names of foreign nationals and this does not usually become a problem.

Can the translator indicate correspondences of meanings? (equivalences, old names, currency)

This is not normally done. This is not part of the sworn translator’s work, but that of the person to whom the document and the sworn translation are submitted. In the case of academic documents, we try to follow the golden rule: translate as is, but if a term is very close to the Spanish equivalent, we specify it.

In practice, there are many options for sworn translations.

Interesting information: The most important thing to know when getting academic documents translated is that the Spanish Ministry of Education, which reviews qualifications for homologation (recognition), does not compare the sworn translation and the Spanish system, but the original and the Spanish system. The Ministry’s qualification homologation officers have the relevant tables on the different countries, their education systems and the qualifications in the original language. This is done precisely so as to avoid placing all the ‘weight’ of the document and its homologation on the translation and the sworn translator. The translation serves as a document that complements and accompanies the original, but under no circumstances is it used as a basis for comparison.

Does a sworn translation need to reproduce the format of the original?

There are no rules in this respect, each translator is free to choose the option they prefer, as long as everything can be easily read and understood. The format does not influence the acceptance of the translation by the organisation concerned.

Can the stamps, symbols or logos appearing on the original be reproduced?

They should not be reproduced, but mentioned/described only.

Can a sworn translator authenticate the original document?

No, the work of sworn translators is limited to translating. It is not part of their work to determine whether the originals are fake or genuine.

Can words in other languages be translated?

Sworn translators may only translate from and into the languages for which they are appointed, even if they are proficient in other languages or understand the words written in languages other than those for which they are appointed. There are no specific rules governing what to do if a document contains words in a language for which the sworn translator is not authorised. The most common practice is to indicate that there is text in another language [text in another language].

If important information in the document is in a second language, the relevant part needs to be translated by a translator appointed to translate from that language.

Can photocopies, photos and electronic documents be translated?

Yes. Almost all documents are now translated from scans. However, the scans provided by the customer should be of good quality in order to facilitate the translator’s work, to be able to print and stamp the copy of the original and for it to have an acceptable, formal appearance.

Request your free quote without obligation, we guarantee a quick response and a firm delivery time.

You can call us at 950 48 65 03 or send us an email at We will be happy to help you!

Foto de Olga Kulebiakina
Olga Kulebiakina

Gerente de Lingua Franca Traducciones Juradas