Introducing Jana Kohl – sworn legal translator and court interpreter
While there are occasions where translators in the UK can provide certified translations for Germany, as a rule, these translations have to be carried out by a sworn translator in that country.
In those instances, I highly recommend my colleague, Jana Kohl.
Jana is a long-time colleague of mine who provides sworn certificate translations in Germany. In 2015, after almost 25 years living and working in the UK as a legal translator from English into German, she moved to the South of Germany where she was sworn by her local Regional Court to provide certified translations and work as a court interpreter. Although based in the Black Forest region of Baden‑Wuerttemberg, Jana’s translations are recognized by courts in all states (Länder) of the Federal Republic as well as in Switzerland and Austria.
Who needs a sworn translator?
Not all translations need to be sworn but the authority that requested a translation will tell you if they expect it to be certified (“beglaubigt”/”beeidigt”).
However, if you perhaps want to establish a company in German for import/export purposes, wish to get married in a German speaking country or have your qualifications recognized, your certificates will most probably need to be translated by a court approved specialist.
What does “sworn” mean?
It means that the translator confirms with their stamp and signature that they provided a complete and accurate translation of the document that was sent to them (either as an electronic copy, an original or certified copy of the original).
“Sworn” translators in Germany go through a rigorous checking process – they must submit their relevant qualification certificates together with proof of knowledge and experience in legal translations. They also must have an up-to-date certificate of good conduct. In addition, they need a data protection policy, to ensure that all personal data handled by them is safe. Once everything has been verified and all requirements are met, the translator will be invited to swear an oath before the president or vice-president of the regional court. From then on, they are able to provide sworn translations and interpret in court proceedings.
Is a sworn translation the same as a certified copy of my original document?
No – translators only certify their own translations. They do not verify the authenticity of the original certificate. Only an official person or body, e.g. a notary public or register office, will be able to issue certified copies of original certificates.
How does providing a sworn translation work?
Ideally, the German authority that requested a sworn translation will specify whether they accept a translation from an electronic copy (most do) or whether only translations from the original or a certified copy of the original are acceptable. In their certification text, the translator will specify what form the original document was provided to them. It is the responsibility of the clients to find out which form of certification is accepted by their authority.
For a quotation, please send a scanned copy of your certificate by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should scan all pages, including any back pages if they contain text. Don’t forget to include apostilles that are attached to the certificate. Double check that ALL text of the original (in all corners) is included in the scanned copy. You will receiv a quote that specifies the translation price, certification fee and costs of postage (registered mail). In addition, German VAT (currently 19%) will be charged.
If you do send originals or certified copies of originals to Jana Kohl, Rheinstrasse 4, 79104 Freiburg. i.Br., Germany, please only use registered mail to minimize the risk of loss. A simple copy of the original or of the certified copy of the original will be attached to the sworn translation and Jana will return the original documents together with the original translation by registered mail.