Sworn translations: the work process

Sworn translations: the work process

As a sworn (certified) translator, I often provide sworn translations for private customers. For me, this is part of my everyday activities, but for the customer, it is often an exciting and unknown process. In most cases, the customer calls first to ask what a translation will cost and how long it will take. That’s a bit complicated right from the start because I find it difficult to give a fitting price quote over the phone. The price and delivery date are determined by some factors that I cannot assess by telephone (word count, readability in the case of handwritten documents). That is why I usually ask the customer to send the document to me via e-mail. I always promise to handle the information very discretely, because these are often personal documents that are very valuable to the customer.

To produce a valid certified or sworn translation, I have to see the original or be provided with a very good first-generation scan of the original. I make a copy of this (in the case of translations for the Netherlands, most municipalities want to work with a copy of the translation) and that copy is attached to the translation. For translations that are going to be used abroad, whether I work with the original or with a copy depends on the country of destination. For example, in the case of translations for Australia, copies must always be stamped with the text “Seen as original by translator XX”.

After receiving the document in the mail, I will give the customer a quotation and delivery date as soon as possible. On the basis of that email, the customer can decide whether or not to work with me. If the email is answered in the affirmative, I get to work. In most cases, this means that I convert the document into an editable Word file, after which I translate the text.

When I have translated everything, I take a break. A necessary step in the translation process because after staring at a text for a long time, I can no longer clearly see the details of such a text. And especially with birth certificates and other personal documentation, the details (the names and dates) are of crucial importance. After the break, I finish the translation, read everything carefully and then print the translation, attach it to the source document (copy or original) and put my stamps on the papers.

The sworn translation is always accompanied by the ‘translator’s statement’, which states since when, at which court, with which signature and under which number the translator is registered as a sworn translator. It is up to the translator whether further contact details are included in that statement; in some cases, municipalities or authorities want to verify by telephone whether I have indeed created a specific translation.

When the translation is finished, I send the customer an e-mail with the message that the translation is ready. I also include the invoice in this message, so that it can be paid immediately. Another payment option is iDeal (I can send a payment request via Whatsapp). As a rule, the private customer pays the invoice first and then can pick up the translation (or I send it by regular mail). For security reasons, I do not accept cash payments at the door.

Do you have any questions after reading this message, or do you need a sworn translation? Please contact me via info@proactive-translations.nl.