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Certified Translations from abroad. Can they be used?

This article considers the use of certified translation carried out in another country. In this example the specifics refer to the situation in El Salvador, but the basic procedure applies in many countries, including the use of foreign certified translations in the UK, where it is actually simpler, as no notary is required. Notaries often have the dilemma of ensuring adherence to formal procedures laid down in law when a document has been issued abroad with the proper legal formalities, including an Apostille where necessary, but when said document has previously been translated into Spanish (the official language in El Salvador) in the country of origin by a sworn translator from that country. Taking into account that said document requires legal acceptance in El Salvador. What should we do?

This situation, when the document has already been translated into Spanish by a sworn translator abroad, could lead us to assume that there is nothing more to be done and it is often presented to public institutions in that way, but it is rejected for not following the procedures explained in this article. The solution is really very simple, and the key is the TRANSCRIPTION of the document. But not just anyone can carry out this transcription, it must be done by an accredited or certified translator.

In many other countries the figure of the certified translator exists, that is, an official translator or an accredited/certified translator who is qualified to translate this type of translation (sworn) from one language to another, since they are the translators recognized by the corresponding Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In El Salvador this figure is not formally recognized and a person is only required to be fluent in two or more languages in order to be appointed as an "expert". Evidently the knowledge of a language is not enough for a person to be called a translator, because in addition to the linguistic domain they must possess the knowledge of the terminology which must be translated very precisely with no room for misinterpretations by the expert since this could affect the interests of third parties by the very nature of these documents. These are important documents, and that is precisely why they need certified translation. This is why in other countries where the figure of the sworn translator does exist, they are the only ones in charge of translating this type of document.

However, in order to comply with the legal requirements in El Salvador, the aforementioned transcription must be carried out by a certified translator according to an international Association of Translators, have a registration number and be a professional translator since, as stated above, the terminology must be very precise. Having said this, the procedure to be followed is basically the same one in which the Notary must appoint the expert translator by means of the Notarial Translation Diligences. The difference is that the expert translator must be duly accredited/certified and with an inscription number, since by homologation he or she can represent the official sworn translator in a foreign country. It is there that the translator's registration number plays a big role as the accredited/certified expert is practically assuming the responsibility of the original translator. The expert must proceed with the transcription based on and mentioning the articles and international norms about the common conventions that exist in order to substantiate and transcribe the document, in addition to listing his or her registration number in the certification in order to be identified as a counterpart of the foreign official translator, the document will now have the necessary legal effects in our country.

This is how the accredited/certified translator can help the Notary, through his notarial faith, to make the document valid and effective according to the provisions of the law when there is no accredited diplomatic representation of that particular country in El Salvador who could, through their consular officers, endorse the certified translation carried out in their county.

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