Changes to the Sworn Translators Act

Estonia: Amended regulation on activities of sworn translators and the procedure for approving document translations

Amended regulation on activities of sworn translators and the procedure for approving document translations

In Estonia, significant amendments to the Sworn Translators Act came into force on 1 January 2014.

For use in Estonia, various documents must already be officially translated into Estonian, e.g. powers of attorney plus excerpts from commercial registers and articles of association to be presented to the commercial register, banks, the tax and customs board or notaries. Thus, in practice, the amendments concern all foreign companies that have a branch or a subsidiary in Estonia.

So far translations could be made by any translator whose signature was certified by a notary. Notaries had to assure themselves before confirming that the translator was proficient in the respective language, but checking the translation as regards content did not take place. Now the situation will change: the reliability of document translations is to be increased and the legal accuracy and quality of the translations is to be ensured.

Sworn translators are a liberal profession. They certify copies and printouts of documents and in the process of translation they give advice to clients – e.g. whether a document must bear an apostille or has to be legalised for use in a foreign country. Sworn translators are responsible for the accuracy of translations (as regards content) and ensure the reliability of a translation.

After a transitional period, translations will be officially certified only by sworn translators. A translation by a sworn translator is thus equivalent to a certified translation, i.e. all documents that must have an official or certified translation under the laws of a foreign country or Estonia will in the future be translated in Estonia only by sworn translators. The rights and powers of foreign translators remain unaffected.

These provisions will come into force for Estonian – foreign language translations as of 1 January 2015 and for foreign language – Estonian translations as of 1 January 2020. The translation market will change even in the transitional period – the number of sworn translators in Estonia must increase in order to keep up with the growing demand for certified translations. Currently, there are 29 sworn translators in Estonia for 8 languages.

Among other things, an increase in prices for translations is to be expected since the fees of sworn translators can be agreed freely.

Source: State Gazette, RT I, 23.12.2013, 1

Hanna Pahk
Contact in Tallinn
Hanna Pahk
Phone: +372 667 6240

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