How to become sworn translator?

Graduates of linguistic studies very often dream of being a translator, however getting diploma is not always enough to achieve this goal. Sometimes happens, that theoretical knowloedge learnt from lessons taken at university, does not go in pair with practise, which is very important while doing any job. Practical abilities are incredibly important in the translator work, especially when it comes to specialist translations or when we work under pressure due to short time. Even more time and commitment must be put into education if we want to work as certified translator. Until recently, to become one, only requirment was to finish proper studies. Now in this field can work anyone who meets requirments along with passed (not so easy) examination for sworn translator. From normal one, sworn translator has more sophisticated translating skills, that focuses on law aspects. 

Who is sworn translator?

Sworn translator is person of public trust, that is perfectly fluent in chosen foreign language, translates documents and certifies their copies. Moreover, due to knowledge of foreign language, translator agrees to work in the state administration bodies, such as courts of law, police and prosecutor’s offices. In other words, sworn translator has to take care of certified translations, which can be only done by person authorised to certify those with seal. Additionaly sworn translator specialises in specialst translations most commonly – law translations.

What are good qualities of sworn translator?

To become good translator, just knowledge of foreign language alone, won’t be enough. You need to be reliable, precise and diligent person. Moreover in case of sworn translators, content of translated documents musn’t be disclosed, because informations in those are private. Responsibility, dutifulness, ability to work under pressure and good time organisation of work are required. Good translator should also be fluent in English, Polish or other language he will use in translations. Finally that kind of translator must be ready to take responsiblity for their work and possible mistakes.

Who can become sworn translator?

You should really think it through, if you want to work as sworn translator and do certified translations. To think about future as a sworn translator in Poland, firstly we should check if we meet the prerequisite requirements. According to the act of 25th November 2004, in order to qualify as a sworn translator you must meet the following conditions:

  • Polish citizenship or citizenship of countries belonging to UE or EFTA,
  • advanced knowledge of Polish language,
  • full legal capacity,
  • no criminal record for an intentional offence, a fiscal offence or an unintentional offence against business security,
  • finished higher education,
  • positive results from written and spoken exam for sworn translator

Sworn translator exam

To work as sworn translator, passing examination is required. To pass examination for sworn translator you must prepare very well. You can sign up in the Ministry of Justicy for sworn translator examination. Future translators take examination in front of State Examination Comission, because it is state exam. Examination consists of two parts: written part and spoken part. In written one you are asked to translate from Polish to foreign language, and the other way around. Spoken part of exam just like first one, requires to translate from Polish to other language and vice versa. Total given time for translations is 4 hours. During examination you are allowed to use dictionaries, specialist texts or glossaries you bring with you. It’s worth to mention, that texts given on exam, are specialist ones, usually economic or legal texts, with much more complicated syntax and vocabulary. Additionaly to take second part of exam you pass first part. Furthermore, to take exam for sworn translation you must pay 800PLN fee. After passing of both parts, sworn translator takes the oath of office and is being written into the list of sworn translators conducted by Ministry of Justice. Translator also gets his own seal, with which he can certify and mark documents he translates, as well as authenticate documents translated by others. Sworn translator is also bound by professional confidentiality, so he can’t disclose any of documents or spoken cases he translates. His responisbility is great, that’s why he has to be incredibly careful with official documents.

How to prepare well for sworn translator exam?

Passing rate of examination for sworn translator is only 20%, that’s why you should prepare before you try to take it. Aside from excellent knowledge of foreign languages, you must be well versed in Polish. You must remember, to constantly broad your vocabulary, polish your style, and to take care of spelling and punctuation. Reading books can help with this. Additionaly, knowing that in the work of certified translator, translating court and legal documents is included, sworn translator should study legal and law documents, both in foreign languages and in Polish. Knowledge of this kind of texts is incredibly hepful, because it allows for faster and more precise translating. Necessary is knowledge of the basic law, both in Poland and country of language that we know. It’s good to know that there are many language schools, and other organisations offering courses and classes that prepare for sworn translator examination. It’s also important to know that in case of failing examination, next application can be lodged, but it will take 12 months before you are allowed to retake exam. If you want to become sworn translator you must be prepared really well, because failure means long months of waiting before next try.

Since we were kids, people told us it’s worth to know foreign languages, because it opens for us many doors and gives chances for better paid job. So, is it worth it to become sworn translator? Doubts raise from the fact, that qualifications allowing us to work as sworn translator, are very high and difficult to gain. Noneless after getting through initial hardships, this profession will give us constant contact with foreign language, and chances to work with many different types of texts. Passing sworn translator examination, is big chance to broaden your competences, and to gain more commisions. Furthermore, having title of sworn translator brings more trust – those translators do important job after all, and their services are requesed by court or police – With certified translations, our clients, no matter who they are, can be sure they are working with professional. 

Author: Marlena Fornal