If an official document is to be used abroad, a certified translation may be needed, also known as a sworn translation. Once sworn, the document has the same legal value as the original.

When is a sworn translation needed?

Generally, a sworn translation is required for:

  • biographical documents
  • birth certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • qualifications with a list of exams taken
  • residence permits
  • medical reports
  • testamentary documents
  • contracts
  • patents
  • legal and notarial documents
  • financial statements

The documents issued in Italy acquire full legal value abroad thanks to the certification of the translation, a procedure that validates in the country of destination the documents issued by the public body of the country of origin.

Documents must be translated in every part, including any stamps, seals, logos, and watermarks. In the event that some textual elements are not legible, the translator must enter the words “illegible”. The final translated document must always respect the format of the original.

Sworn translation: Certification procedure

The sworn translation can be requested from a court, Justice of the Peace or notary public. The translated document becomes official when the translator swears before a judicial officer that he or she “has carried out the operations well and faithfully and that he or she has no other purpose than that of making the truth known”. Misrepresentation is a crime under the Criminal Code.

The translator signs an affidavit assuming full responsibility for the translation and guaranteeing that the translated content corresponds faithfully to the source text. The report is also stamped and signed by a public official, who registers it with the Court’s Certifications Office, and then attached to the official document, the translation of the document, and the legally required revenue stamps.

In order to certify a document, it is advisable to use the services of a specialized translation agency that works with professional translators accredited by the courts.


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