The myopic apartheid system has had some unforeseen consequences. One such consequence affects the translation industry, specifically when it comes to providing sworn translation services.
Sworn translators abound in the non-African languages that are translated in South Africa. However, in the nine African languages, spoken by 75% of the South African population, there is currently only one single sworn translator.
We will explore the reasons for this state of affairs in our next blog, as well as the discussions Bangula has been having with the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) about their plans for rectifying the situation. In this article we will look at what sworn translation entails.
Sworn translation is also referred to as ‘certified translation’ or ‘official translation’, but the correct term is ‘sworn translation’.
Sworn translation is a certified translation of an official document. A sworn translation is the legal equivalent of the original document and has the same legal effect as the original official document. The translation skills of prospective sworn translators are evaluated by peers (experienced sworn translators), after which the successful candidates take an oath in the High Court of South Africa to “translate faithfully and correctly, to the best of their knowledge and ability”. Sworn translators stamp and sign every page of their translations and insert a statement certifying that the translation is a true and accurate translation of the source text.
Since sworn translation is a certified, faithful, translation of the source text, it serves a different function from communicative translation. Sworn translation is very much source-text based, whereas communicative translation is target-oriented, for it strives to communicate with the target audience. As such, prudent adaptations are acceptable in communicative translation, but definitely not in sworn translation. The users of communicative translations are often not even aware that the document was created by means of a translation process.
The demand for sworn translation is much smaller than for communicative translation, yet the role of sworn translation is crucial. Sworn translation is more expensive than communicative translations and includes the delivery, by hand or by courier, of certified hard copies.
Below is a list of typical documents requiring sworn translation:
- Birth certificates
- Company articles of association
- Death certificates
- Divorce orders
- Educational certificates
- Fica and Rica documents, such as proof of residence
- Forensic reports
- Marriage certificates
Bangula has been providing sworn translations services for our clients successfully for over 13 years, mainly into the following languages: Afrikaans, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Contact us now to find out more.