Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée)

001 Translations Agency will assist you with all your requests for official Sworn Translations (traductions officielles assermentées) in France or abroad. Your documents will be translated quickly at the most competitive rate by an expert translator sworn before the Court of Appeals. If necessary, we can take care of additional legal steps for your translation (apostille by the Court of Appeals or legalization by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).


How will your documents be sworn (assermentés)?

001 Translations Agency will stamp your document with its professional stamp and assign it a unique reference number.

A Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée) is a translation accompanied by an official endorsement signed by the expert translator and the translation agency that attests to the accuracy and authenticity of the document. Sworn Translations (Traductions assermentées) are mainly requested by public administrations and official institutions such as universities, prefectures, town halls, consulates and embassies.

Validity of a Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée) abroad

The steps to be taken depend on the country of destination and the body requesting the translation.

If you need to present an official document issued in France in a foreign country, usually the authorities involved ask you for a Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée) of the document. But a Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée) is not always enough. Sometimes the body receiving the document requires additional steps to legalize the Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée), i.e. to make the Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée) legally valid internationally.

The steps to be taken depend on the country of destination and the body requesting the translation. This is why we always advise our clients to check with the requesting body to find out what type of legalization they need:

  • Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée)
  • Legalizing the translator’s signature
  • Apostille

Little guide to legalizations

How does it work?

There are 3 levels of legalization:

A first state authority (city hall, notary, chamber of commerce) verifies the signature of the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté), based on their ID. This is called legalizing the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté)’s signature. For greater clarity and to avoid confusion by using the same term for different procedures, 001 Translations prefers to use the expression "authenticating the translator's signature (authentification de signature du traducteur)".

A second state authority (Court of Appeals or Ministry of Foreign Affairs) verifies the signature of the first level state authority. This is called an apostille or legalization

Note bene: In France, unlike most countries in the world, two level 2 authorities are in charge of legalizations.

The Court of Appeals is responsible for legalizing documents for countries that have signed the Hague Convention, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for legalizing documents for countries that have not signed the Hague Convention.

A third authority (the foreign consulate) verifies the signature of the level 2 legalization. Fortunately, this only applies in the case where the destination country is a non-Hague Convention country!

Signature legalization

Sometimes, the body requesting the translation requires the legalization of the translator's signature.

This formality is carried out in town hall, with a notary public or at the Chamber of Commerce. It makes it possible to check the identity of the translation’s signatory as a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté). The official or notary public affixes a seal indicating that the identity of the signatory has been verified and that the translator's signature is correct.


the state be a guarantor of the translation process.

In France, the Ministry of Justice through the Court of Appeals is in charge of this procedure. The Bureau des Apostilles will certify that the signature of the city hall official or notary is authentic and that the legal procedure has been respected in France. The Court of Appeals official affixes a certificate - called an apostille - with an identification number to each document (original and translation).
This process requires the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) to have their signature legalized at the town hall, and then to send the documents to the Court of Appeals. These steps take time and depend on the administration's workload. In general, it takes about 2 weeks to get the apostille. The apostille is only valid for countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention.

If the country of destination for your documents is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in charge of the legalization process and you will probably have to go to the relevant consulate. It is your responsibility to check with the relevant authorities to find out what procedure to follow.

Independent sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) or translation agency?

Consider the various elements of your application, such as:

  • How urgent is my request?
  • Is a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) able to guarantee that I will receive a Sworn Translation (Traduction assermentée) of my documents on time?
  • Are the price differences between the freelance translators and translation agencies I contacted very different?

Sworn translators in a given language may be in short supply and therefore unavailable when you need a document translated quickly or urgently. In addition, sworn translators (traducteurs assermentés) apply free fees and can therefore charge you higher rates than a translation agency which may have negotiated prices. Serious translation agencies, managed by professional translators themselves - which is of course the case for 001 Translations Agency - have developed specific expertise in the field of certifying (assermenter) official documents.

A high price does not mean that the translation will be of better quality, but the difference can also be justified by the means used to ensure that the translated document will be delivered to you on time (e.g., registered mail, DHL, Fedex or Chronopost). Furthermore, because of their position as intermediaries, translation agencies are in contact with many sworn translators (traducteurs assermentés) in France and abroad. This can be very important if the translation has to be done expressly in 24 or 48 hours for example. In general, as for any official act, a much longer period of time is required for Sworn Translations.

What is an expert sworn translator (traducteur expert assermenté)?

An expert sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) or certified translator is a translator whose character is recognized by the French administrative authorities.

After the Public Prosecutor's Office has examined the translator's initial request, the Public Prosecutor appoints the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) who takes the oath before the District Court.

At the swearing-in, the president of the tribunal reads the following oath: "You swear and promise to translate faithfully and conscientiously all documents and speeches that you may be called upon to interpret before a court, a public authority, a civil registrar of the department, or to draft an authentic deed before a notary or before a department official." The translator, standing with their right hand raised, answers: "I swear.”

The sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) may also serve as an interpreter during a hearing or investigation. In this capacity, the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) must be present during the interrogation of an accused person or a witness who does not speak or understand the French language well enough. They can therefore intervene as an expert in a police station following an arrest or an accident and, of course, during court trials. The presence of an interpreter while a person is in police custody is mandatory. Otherwise, any judicial decision would be declared null and void.

Official documents that a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) can translate

A sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) can translate any official document

civil or criminal procedure documents, intended to be produced in a court of law, administrative documents and public status documents, bailiff's deeds, notarial deeds, but also academic documents, as for example:

  • Identity card
  • Residence card
  • Adoption decree
  • K-bis
  • Contract
  • Last will and testament
  • Police report
  • Notarial deeds
  • Divorce decree
  • Court decisions
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Criminal record extract
  • University degree
  • Transcript
  • High school (Baccalauréat) diploma

Generally speaking, a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) is authorized to officially translate any document written in a foreign language that must be presented in court or before the French (or foreign) administrative authorities. This is all the more valid for the translation of documents which enable the authorities to draw up official civil status documents (marriage certificates, residence permits, divorce decrees, notarial acts, affiliations to Social Security, to CAF, child adoptions, birth certificates, ...). An official translation is of course required for French documents requested by foreign consulates.

Mission and status of an expert sworn translator (traducteur assermenté)

A sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) is considered to be a judicial expert who assists the court in its work; like lawyers, they are a court officer

They perform expert missions and are responsible for producing accurate translations that can be produced before any government agency. In other words, the translation must be consistent with the original. This is called an official Sworn Translation (traduction officielle assermentée). The sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) will sign all their translations as well as the copies of the originals that they have processed by affixing their stamp. A translation made by a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) is valid within the entire French territory and the overseas territories and departments before any organization and public authority.

In addition to their official duties as an expert, the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) can also translate for individuals, lawyers, companies, authorities, etc. in many fields other than legal. And they can have one or more areas of specialization (technical, medical, scientific, literary or economic).
The only difference between a sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) and a non-sworn translator (traducteur non-assermenté) is that the former is approved by the public authorities. No criteria of degree or experience are taken into account. 001 Translations Agency ensures that the sworn translator (traducteur assermenté) has at least one university degree in foreign languages and that they have solid experience in translation.