At Legal English we offer more than simple translation services. Very often, the translation of a contract, certificate, deed or other legal document drawn up by a lawyer or notary has to be submitted to national authorities or authorities abroad, and a certain procedure has to be followed in order to formally demonstrate that the translation is an accurate and faithful rendition of the original, thereby giving the translation formal standing both in Italy and in other countries. This is what is known as a ‘swearing’ a translation or having a translation ‘legalized’.


Sworn translations
This involves swearing on oath that the translation accurate and correct, and is required whenever it is necessary to certify that the translation is wholly faithful to the original.
Only a public servant can provide this service (it is usually provided by a Court Registrar). The office responsible for handling this service, the number of copies and the amount of stamp duty to be paid can vary from place to place, but the basic procedure is the same.
The translator takes the original document, the translation, the stamps recording payment of stamp duty (usually one €16.00 stamp per 4 pages of translation), and a formal record of the oath, swearing that he or she “has properly and faithfully carried out the duty assigned to me for the sole purpose of making the truth be known” (and in doing so, accepting full liability in law for the translation provided).
The public servant then checks the original document, the translation and the formal record of the oath, all of which are fastened together, and provides his signature and the necessary seals. The translation is then a sworn translation.


The eventual recipient of the translation often also requires a further step to be taken in addition to the translation being sworn: authentication. This involves certification of the legal capacity of the public servant who, having carried carrying out all the necessary checks on the record of the oath, signed the sworn translation. Completion of this step means that the document that was sworn has been legalized. Note that it is not the translation itself that is being legalized, but the signature of the public servant who countersigned the record of the oath being sworn.

Legalization involves a seal (an Apostille) being affixed to the back of the document. This is dealt with by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The public servant (the public prosecutor or someone acting for him or her) affixes this seal, which formally certifies the legal capacity of whoever countersigned the record of the oath being sworn, and authenticates their signature.

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