German Certification Rules

FAQs on certified translations in Germany

What is a “sworn translator” in Germany?

In Germany, a “sworn translator” is a translator officially sworn-in at a local court, higher regional court, or court of appeal in the Federal Country where they reside permanently or otherwise publicly appointed. Only a sworn or publicly appointed translator for the language in question can deliver a sworn translation. Translators must prove their relevant qualifications before being sworn in/publicly appointed.

Details in a German Certified Translation

A certified document in Germany must include the translator’s contact details and their seal with the words “Öffentlich bestellter und vereidigter Übersetzer” (“Publicly appointed and sworn translator”). The certification page must also show the language for which the translator is officially sworn in.

Finding a sworn court translator

German courts will provide you with a list of “vereidigte Übersetzer” on request. German professional bodies for translators, like the BDÜ or the ADÜ Nord also offer lists of sworn translators. The official interpreters and translators database can be found here.

Recommendation for sworn translator in Germany

If you need the services of a sworn translator in Germany, the text’s author highly recommends colleague Jana Kohl.


Can I obtain a sworn translation for German use outside of Germany?

Yes, sometimes. Usually, when a German authority – be it court, school, university or registry office – asks you to provide a sworn translation, it is best practice to use a sworn translator resident in Germany.

According to German certification rules, a translator must be sworn in for whichever language pair you require, e.g. English/Spanish/French/Italian/German.

German courts will provide you with a list of “vereidigte Übersetzer” on request. German professional bodies for translators, like the BDÜ or the ADÜ Nord also offer lists of sworn translators. The official interpreters and translators database can be found here.

However, very often, the German Embassy recommends that people in the UK use a qualified German translator who is resident in the UK and a member of a professional association. This can be the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.

To summarise, sometimes a translator in the UK can provide your certified translation and sometimes you should ask a translator in Germany. Please contact the German Embassy for clarification.

If you do require the services of a sworn translator in Germany, I can highly recommend my colleague Jana Kohl.

Who can become a sworn translator at a German court?

Only qualified translators living in the relevant Federal Country may become sworn translators at a German court. Therefore a translator permanently resident outside of Germany cannot become sworn-in at a German court.

Can UK-based German-English and English-German translators certify translations?

Due to the above reasons stated, I cannot be registered as a sworn translator in Germany. However, I can self-certify translations for use within the UK including for the German Embassy. Because I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, my self-certification is usually acceptable to UK authorities and to the German Embassy.

Certification by UK-Based German-English and English-German Translators

UK-based German-English and English-German translators cannot be registered as sworn translators in Germany. However, they can self-certify translations to be submitted via the German Embassy, if they are members of professional associations like the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

Sending Original Documents for Translation in Germany

In the UK, we do not work with original documents. I will usually ask you to scan the relevant document(s) or send smartphone images of all pages per email for this purpose. Ensure the image includes complete pages, any prints on the back, every number, and every stamp. The translation will be attached to a printed and signed copy of the original document, which will be later submitted to the authorities.

The certification page added to the translation also clarifies that the translation has been carried out from a copy.

The same process applies when certifying translations for submission via the German Embassy.

If, however, your translation is for Austria, you will have to send me the original document, as the certification page must include confirmation that I have had sight of it.


Accurate, confidential, efficient and reliable English-German translations

Professionally qualified German translator into English and English into German, offering first class translation services for commercial, industrial, governmental and private clients.

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