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You need a sworn translation. What is it and where to get it?

Whether you’re getting married in the Czech Republic, starting a business or applying for a residence permit, you’re probably going to need to have your documents translated by a certified translator. The following lines will help you to find one. And they will explain what it means – and takes – to be a certified translator in the Czech Republic.

Why a sworn translation?

Imagine you’re running a business. To make it profitable, there are a lot of things to see to. You don’t want a botched website that ridicules your company, so what you probably do is hire a hand-picked designer with an amazing portfolio and plenty of testimonials. And you don’t want a lousy accountant or lawyer either, so you carefully select them too. Whatever the objects of your business, it is up to you, the owner, to perform your due diligence.

It probably comes as no surprise that Czech public authorities also ensure that translated documents that they accept meet certain standards. To that end, a sworn (aka official, certified, authorized) translation is usually required.

A sworn translation, which includes a round seal with the lesser coat of arms of the Czech Republic (a lion rampant), is attached to the translated document using a three-coloured (white, blue and red) string.

This has a symbolic meaning – precisely the same colours appear on the Czech national flag.

As of 2020, there is no such thing as electronic sworn translation. To meet the statutory requirements, every certified translation must be a paper-based document that is physically attached to the source document.

Only state-appointed translators that have sworn an oath at court after having passed an official exam, are entitled to provide sworn translations.

The job of a certified translator in the English speaking world as opposed to the Czech Republic

Each country has different requirements that enable a translation to be used in formal procedures. Here are some examples.

United Kingdom

a certified translation is simply one which comes with a statement made by the translator or translation agency guaranteeing its accuracy, along with the date, the translator’s credentials and contact details. They are often signed and stamped and should be proofread for an added guarantee of accuracy. This is the type of certification that is required by UK government bodies such as the Home Office, Passport Office and the UK Border Agency, as well as by universities and most foreign embassies in the UK.

United States of America

In the US, anyone can certify a translation. A translator does not need to be certified in order to provide a certified translation. The individual translator can certify their translations, as can an employee of a translation company.


A “certified translator” is a translator that has qualified and registered with the provincial association of translators in their province. Once certified, the translator gains the ability to add the provincial association’s seal to the translation along with their signature. Interestingly, each Canadian province/territory incl. Nunavut (population of 39,000) and Northwest Territories (population of 45,000) has its own association of translators.

While a system of state-appointed translators is missing in countries such as the UK or US, there are private associations of translators that elevate professional standards and attest to the quality of the services provided by their members – ATA certification (American Translators Association), CIOL chartership (British Chartered Institute of Linguists), ITI qualified membership (Institute of Translation and Interpreting), etc.

How to get a sworn translator?

The Chamber of Court Appointed Interpreters and Translators of the Czech Republic has its own directory that allows you to filter results based on the required language pair as well as region.

As of 2020, any listed member can provide you with both translation and interpreting (oral translation) services.

Need an official translator? Let’s talk about how I can help you!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Palickova Marcela

    Dobrý den, chtěla bych se zeptat jestli byste mi mohl přeložit 2 dokument z češtiny do angličtiny. Jedna se o dokument o absolvování stáže a o vykonání urednicke zkoušky – obojí potřebuji na Environmental Health registration – Food Safety officer.
    Děkuji moc za odpověď .


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