Difference Between Certified, Sworn and Apostille Translation in UK

When it comes to translation services, there are various types available, each with its own specific purpose and requirements. In the United Kingdom, three commonly used terms in the translation industry are certified translation, sworn translation, and apostille translation. Understanding the differences between these types of translations is crucial to ensure you select the right service for your specific needs.

Certified Translation: Accuracy and Authenticity

Certified translation refers to a translation service where a professional translator in the UK attests to the accuracy and authenticity of the translated document. It is often required for legal, governmental, and academic purposes. In the UK, certified translations are commonly requested for immigration and visa applications, educational qualifications, legal documents, and official business matters.

During the certified translation process, the translator signs a declaration affirming that the translation is accurate and complete to the best of their knowledge. They may also affix their official stamp or seal to the translated document. Certified translations are typically accepted by official authorities, courts, and other institutions.

Sworn Translation: Formality and Legal Recognition

Sworn translation, also known as official translation or legal translation, involves a translator who is authorized or appointed by a court or other legal authority to provide translations that hold legal weight. In the UK, a sworn translator is known as a “sworn translator-interpreter” or “certified translator-interpreter.”

Sworn translation services in UK require the translator to take an oath before a competent authority, such as a solicitor or notary public. The translator is then granted the authority to provide translations that are considered legally valid and can be used in courts and legal proceedings. Sworn translations are commonly used for contracts, court documents, evidence, and other legal materials.

Apostille Translation: International Validity

Apostille translation involves the process of obtaining an apostille, which is a special certificate affixed to a translated document to authenticate its legal validity in countries that are part of the Hague Convention. The apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature, seal, or stamp on the document.

The purpose of an apostille translation is to ensure that a document issued in one country is recognized as valid in another country. It simplifies the process of presenting legal documents across borders by eliminating the need for further authentication or legalization.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1 What types of documents require certified translations in the UK?

Ans: Certified translations are often required for immigration documents, educational certificates, birth certificates and marriage certificates, contracts, business documents, and legal documents.

Q.2 Are certified translations accepted by UK universities for international students?

Yes, most UK universities accept certified translations of academic qualifications and transcripts for international students’ admission applications.

Q.3 Do all legal documents require sworn translations?

No, not all legal documents require sworn translations. Sworn translations are typically required for court-related matters, contracts, patents, and other legally binding documents.

Q.4 How can I obtain an apostille for my translated document?

To obtain an apostille for your translated document, you need to contact the relevant authority in your country responsible for issuing apostilles. In the UK, it is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) or the government office in your specific region.

Q.5 Can I get a document both certified and apostilled?

Yes, it is possible to have a document certified and apostilled if you require it to be recognized and accepted in both national and international contexts.

Q.6 Are there any specific requirements for translators providing sworn translations?

Yes, sworn translators must meet certain qualifications and be appointed or recognized by a competent authority. They must also adhere to ethical standards and confidentiality obligations.


Understanding the differences between certified translation, sworn translation, and apostille translation is essential when navigating the translation requirements in the UK. Whether you need a translation for legal, academic, or international purposes, selecting the appropriate type of translation will ensure accuracy, authenticity, and compliance with the necessary legal and regulatory standards. Consulting with professional translation services that specialize in these specific types of translations can help you obtain reliable and recognized translations for your needs.