Given that in Portugal, unlike in some other countries, there is no such thing as a sworn, official or certified translator (that is, an official court translator), any translation that needs to be certified can only be done so by a notary public, lawyer, solicitor or the Chamber of Commerce. Such a certification, however, does not mean that the authorised entities read and confirm that the translation is correct. Translations that are certified by a notary public simply imply a certificate affixed to the translation, which is appended to the original document in the source language, signed by the translator who, before the notary, declares under oath that the translation in question "is a true and faithful rendering of the original document".
If, for instance, you need a translation into English certified for the UK, things change. Although in the United Kingdom the concept of a sworn or certified translator also does not exist, the Home Office, as well as many universities and official bodies in the UK, prefers that translations be certified by a Qualified Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) or a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL). This type of certified translation is done by the qualified translator themselves, who, if they are a Qualified Member of the ITI for instance, affixes the ITI Certification Seal to the translation, together with a statement with a similar wording to the certificate issued by the notary public.
Qualified Members of the ITI and members of the CIOL can also certify translations for other countries, but it is always best to confirm what type of certification is required by the body to which you are submitting the documents. Some bodies or countries only accept translations that have been certified by their respective embassy or consulate, or may even require that they be legalised or apostilled. The same is true for Portuguese certified translations.
So, although basically anyone can be a translator in Portugal or the UK because translation isn't a regulated profession, make sure that you contact a professional translator to take care of the translations you need to ensure that they are done properly.
- According to Article 49(8) of the Portuguese Civil Registration Code, documents for registration purposes, such as birth certificates, in English, French or Spanish to be submitted to civil registry offices in Portugal no longer require translation. There is a caveat, however: the civil servant receiving the documents must be able to read and understand the aforementioned languages.
- According to Article 68(1)(e) of the Portuguese Notaries Act, a translator is forbidden from translating for spouses or immediate family, including second-degree relatives, and may also not certify translations for them.
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