Authorisations and certifications – Språkbolaget can clarify

We are often asked if we or our translators are authorised or certified. This question may be asked because a customer contact abroad has requested it, or because a client is simply looking for some kind of stamp of quality. Språkbolaget can offer authorised translation, but the question is whether it is actually necessary.
No international standard exists for what a certified or authorised translator is, or for what is required to call oneself certified/authorised. Different countries have different systems for this process, or no form of  authorisation at all.

Authorisation by the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency
In Sweden, authorisation is provided through the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency. Translators authorised through the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency have passed a test comprising a general, legal, and financial text. Authorisation entitles translators to use a special authorisation stamp on a document to certify that the translation corresponds with the original. Thus it is the individual translator who is authorised; we cannot be authorised as an agency.

When is authorisation necessary?
Some Swedish government agencies, such as the Swedish Tax Agency, courts, and other institutions and organisations require this stamp in order for foreign documents to be legally binding. This may involve transcripts, certificates such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, register extracts etc. It is important to understand that authorisation from the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency is not a stamp of quality in general. For example, there is no Swedish authorisation for medical texts. The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency also only authorises translators who translate to or from Swedish. If you want to translate a document from French to English, there is no applicable Swedish authorisation.

Other countries
Authorisation or certification may be entirely different in other countries. For example, in the US the American Translators Association (ATA), an industry organisation, offers one certification, and there are also others. But these certifications are not applicable in the same way as Swedish authorisation; rather, they serve as evidence that the translator is serious and professional. Instead, certification from a notary may be required for the translation to be legally binding. Government agencies in the country in which the document will be used determine which authorisation applies.

Translation study programmes and degrees
Many countries, including Sweden, have special university study programmes and degrees for professional translators. A degree in translation is also valid authorisation for government agencies in some countries, though not in others. Whether or not it counts as authorisation, a master’s degree (or similar) in professional translation is certainly a stamp of quality that is as strong as passing a test from an industry organisation.

Quality translations
Most translated texts do not require authorisation. Instead, it is important for the translator to be familiar with the subject matter and accustomed to finding the right tone and stylistic register to create a smoothly flowing text in the target language. Språkbolaget’s translators only translate into their first language; they have the relevant training and experience translating in their field, and they have passed our quality tests. That is our stamp of quality. If you need an authorised translation, we will help you find an authorised translator in our network.

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