Understanding South Africa’s certification requirements for sworn translations is crucial when your life’s journey takes you to the borders of the Rainbow Nation. the immigration process in South Africa can be stressful, and translating your documents into English shouldn’t contribute to that stress. The immigration process in South Africa can be stressful, and translating your documents into English shouldn’t contribute to that stress. As part of your immigration application, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will often require you to provide documentary evidence to support your case. If any of these documents are in a foreign language, you must submit them with a certified translation in English. This article provides an understanding of South Africa’s certification requirements for sworn translations. It highlights the role of sworn translators, the scope of documents, the process, timelines and costs.
What is a sworn translation in South Africa?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that under South Africa’s certification requirements for sworn translations, sworn translations, also known as certified translations, are translations of official documents carried out by sworn professional translators, meaning that they are recognised and authorised to do so by the courts of South Africa. These translators swear an oath before a court and agree to translate the documents provided to them faithfully and completely. They also sign and stamp their translations to certify that they accurately reflect the source document.
This procedure helps to give legal weight to the translations, which means that they can be used before administrative and legal authorities.
What type of documents can be officially translated?
The submission of untranslated documents in a foreign language could be the cause of a delay or rejection of your application. That’s why it’s important to know which documents need to be translated. The rules are quite simple. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) follows national regulations which state: ” Any document containing foreign language submitted to The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) shall be accompanied by a full English language translation which the translator has certified as complete and accurate, and by the translator’s certification that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language into English.” These documents include, but are not limited to:
- Birth certificates,
- Marriage certificates,
- Divorce decree
- Police clearance certificates
- Medical reports,
- Bank statements,
- Tax returns,
- Business profiles,
- Residence certificates,
- Driver’s licenses,
- Identity documents,
- As well as specialized documents such as technical manuals,
- Scientific papers,
- And research studies.
The fundamental principles which govern sworn translations
Sworn translations are based on two fundamental principles: accuracy and authenticity. A sworn translator’s certification, which includes their signature and seal, guarantees the authenticity of the translation. Accuracy is ensured by how faithfully the translation reflects the original document. For example, South Africa’s certification requirements for sworn translations state that a sworn translation must be accompanied by a translator’s certificate stating the translator’s name, that the translator is fluent in English and the foreign language, and that the document is an accurate translation of the original. The certification should date and bear the translator’s signature and contact information. Attach the certified translation document to the original, and ensure that each translated document receives a separate certification from the translator.
Cost and delivery time of sworn translations
The time taken to complete a sworn translation in South Africa can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of document, the language pair involved and the availability of certified or sworn translators in that language pair. On average, the complete translation and certification process for sworn translations can take anywhere from a few days to a week. However, it is important to note that urgent requests or documents requiring additional verification may take longer.
In terms of price, there are huge variations in the cost of document translation services in South Africa and it can be confusing to know translation rates or what to expect, but on average you can expect to pay between R500 and R700 per page, depending on the type of document and target language.
- A translator must give his client the original copy of the sworn translation.
- A digital copy of the sworn translation has no legal value if presented as is to an administration which handles legal procedures requiring translations by sworn translators.
- Is it prohibited to provide forged documents for translation? Translators always check the validity of the documents before they begin translating.
- A certified translation can only be used once. Should another procedure happen, another translation must be requested.
Finding the right sworn translator in South Africa
In summary, South Africa’s certification requirements for sworn translations require specific expertise from a professional with a thorough understanding of the South African legal system. Due to the detailed nature of this work, it’s particularly important to work with a language service provider who understands the ins and outs of the sworn translation process and can match you with a suitable translator. At Frenchside, we work with a network of qualified legal translation professionals who are ready to help you translate your documents for use. If you have a sworn translation project or any questions, please contact us at +27 (0) 12-348-3134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They are committed to delivering professional results at competitive rates.