Sworn / official translator for certified translations

For this purpose, the translator has to apply to the competent court and prove his/her suitability in advance. This is done in most cases by presenting the university diploma or master certificate, etc. that has been awarded to the translator for degree studies in "Translation/Interpreting" or "Multilingual Communication".

Important is mastery of legal terminology in the source and target languages.

When these documents have been examined by the court and the applicant is deemed qualified (s)he then will receive an "invitation to the administration of oath as a document translator". In this event the translator is made aware of his/her duties and rights as a future "publicly appointed and sworn court (or sworn) document translator". Following this, the translator must take the oath. Here he can choose between the "oath with religious affirmation" or the "oath without religious affirmation."
By signing at the bottom, the sworn/certified document translator assumes the obligation to faithfully and conscientiously perform all "certified translations" in accordance with § 1 of the Obligations Act of 2 March 1974. As part of this commitment the officially appointed and sworn court/sworn translator will be informed of the contents of the following penalty provisions of the Criminal Code:

  • § 133 para 3 BW-FLV
  • § 201 para. 3 Breach of confidentiality of the spoken word
  • § 203 para. 2,4,5 Violation of private secrets
  • § 204 Exploitation of secrets
  • §§ 331, 332 Personal gain and corruption
  • § 353 b Violation of professional secrecy and a specific duty of confidentiality
  • § 358 Secondary consequences
  • § 97 b para. 2 IV with §§ 94 to 97 Betrayal in erroneous acceptance of an illegal secret
  • § 120 para 2 Freeing of a person under arrest
  • and § 355 Violation of tax secrecy

For the now officially appointed and sworn/certified translator these criminal provisions apply by virtue of his/her obligations.

Then the publicly appointed and sworn translator receives his/her certificate of appointment or Protocol of the oath as a document translator from the president of the court.
With this official document, (s)he can have a so-called round seal made which (s)he can use immediately for "certified translations".

Certified translations are often needed in the context of legal proceedings, naturalization procedures, bi-national marriages, emigration, return migration, semesters abroad, etc.

If you need foreign documents/certificates in German, it may be cheaper to have these translated directly abroad into German - but these translations are not recognized by the German official institutions, authorities and courts. To ensure that your documents issued abroad can be recognized and used in Germany, they must be translated by a German court/sworn document translator.

Or if you need a certified translation of a German document in a foreign language (for example, the certified translation of a university entrance certificate in English), please contact us.


We provide certified translation for these languages

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Dutch
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Thai
  • Italian
  • Swedish
  • Norwegian
  • Danish
  • Serbian
  • Croatian
  • Bosnian
  • Romanian
  • Turkish


Certification of German documents (e.g.as certified copies) may be performed, for example, by municipal authorities (city office), a notary or a parish office. Certified translations as described above may only be made by officially appointed and sworn court (or certified) document translators. Often, if the certified translation is from German into a foreign language, and the translation will then be presented or used abroad, legalization by an official authority (e.g. district court) is required. Information on whether this is necessary, can be obtained from the public body for which the certified translation is required!


The "Hague Apostille" is also used to confirm the authenticity of a public document and is issued by an authorized authority of the country in which the certificate was issued. In Germany, the following applies: The BVA in Cologne is responsible for documents pertaining to the Federal States. If an Apostille is to be issued for documents of the Federal States, responsibility is not uniformly regulated. Here may be responsible: Interior ministries, foreign ministries, district governments, district court presidents, Justice ministries, etc. Should the apostille be for a foreign certificate, it is better to ask in the issuing country which authority is responsible.


For legalization the authenticity of the certificate is confirmed - as in the Hague Apostille. However, this legalization is done by the diplomatic mission or a consular officer of the State in which the document is to be used. The need for legalization can always be confirmed by the office for which the certificate is intended. If the legalization for the use of foreign documents is to be done in Germany, the German embassies and consulates abroad are responsible. However, these are - as in the opposite case - dependent on pre- and superordinate legalization by public authorities of the host country.