What does "sworn interpreter" even mean?
A sworn interpreter, sometimes also called sworn-in interpreter or authorised interpreter (in German vereidigter/beeidigter/öffentlich bestellter Dolmetscher) is an interpreter who has sworn an oath before the Regional Court relevant to their place of work and thefore who fulfils a certain set of requirements.
To be sworn in, an interpreter must prove their professional qualification as well as their personal suitability. This can be done by studying translation and interpreting at a university, for example. After being sworn in, a sworn interpreter will receive an interpreter’s identification card from the relevant Regional Court.
When do I need a sworn interpreter?
In practice, sworn interpreters are most of all necessary before courts and notaries. However, it is true that you are always on the safe side with a sworn interpreter because they have proven their professional qualification and had it certified by the relevant authorities.
The courts in Germany are required to employ sworn translators when a party to the legal proceedings does not speak German sufficiently well. This is what is mandated by the German Judicial Systems Act (GVG). But even without the legal requirements, it is prudent to work with sworn interpreters to make sure the legal proceedings go smoothly. Ultimately, there is nothing worse than when an a court hearing – in which every detail counts – comes to a halt or falls apart completely because of translation mistakes.
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