Sworn translations give translated documents the same legal validity as the original document. The apostille translation process is not altogether that different from the sworn translation process and is only used in some foreign countries.

What is an apostille translation? What is the difference between an apostille and a sworn translation? And how are they both carried out?

What does affixing an apostille to a translated document actually entail?

First of all, it’s worth clarifying that a Hague Convention apostille is a stamp that is affixed to a document to certify the authenticity of the signature(s) at the bottom of the document and the identity of the official(s) who signed the document.

Apostilles are used by all countries that signed the Hague Convention on 5 October 1961. These countries expect an apostille to be used, even if the documents are exchanged with countries that haven’t subscribed to the convention.

More specifically: a document issued by a country that adheres to the Hague Convention must be affixed with an apostille in that same country. A document issued by a country that does not adhere to the Convention, but that is intended for use in a country that does adhere to the Convention, must have an apostille applied by the country that issued it.

As for the translation of documents, the process must always be carried out in the country that issued the document and subsequently certified or apostilled it. An apostille stamp is affixed to a translated document in Italy by the public prosecutor’s office through a court, or in the prefecture in question.

Sworn and certified translations

Apostilles and sworn translations are two different practices with the same objective, to attribute the same legal value to a translated document as the original document. Sworn or certified translations are performed by a professional translator who must fill in, sign and swear an oath before a public official so that the document can be certified and stamped before being registered by the court’s certification office.

You’ll need to follow a few rules to make sure the process runs smoothly: the translation must be attached to the original document and both must be stapled to the oath. You must also affix a €16 revenue stamp to the translated document on every four pages. Interestingly, a translation can be sworn in any Italian court and will be valid for use throughout Italy.

Why might you need translated and legalised documents?

The translation and legalisation of documents is generally required for degree certificates, birth and marriage certificates, and ID documents – essentially any document required by a citizen to establish legally recognised relationships with the institutions of a foreign country.

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