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All there is to know about the certification and legalisation practices of translated documents

When do I need a sworn translation?

Everyday Action line carries out sworn, legalised and apostilled translations.  In this article we aim to provide clarity, explaining under what circumstances and with which formalities a translation must be sworn or legalised in court.

Court of Forlì

We will explain:

  1. When you need a sworn translation
  2. Who can legally validate a translation
  3. Which documents are needed
  4. The fees
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  1. When you need a sworn translation


  • CERTIFIED TRANSLATION (also known as simply a “SWORN” translation).

Official documents translated into Italian for use in Italy require a sworn translation.

The sworn translation testifies to the correspondence between the original and translated text, so that the translated version bears the same legal validity as the original.

The most common examples are:

  • you wish for your qualification, awarded in a foreign country, to be recognised throughout Italy
  • a non-European citizen would like their driving license to be recognised in Italy
  • for family reunification you require sworn translations into Italian of birth and marriage certificates
  • you have obtained a car abroad and need its registration information translated into Italian
  • translation of documents required for Italian citizenship
  • translation of documents for a marriage
  • any legal document, belonging to an individual or to a company/ institution, that involves foreign bodies or entities (e.g. testamentary documents, birth certificates, criminal records, memorandums of association, financial statements etc.)

If a translation needs to have legal validity abroad (for example, an Italian qualification that you wish to submit in a foreign country), it must first go through the certification procedure (sworn translation) and then be legalised at the Public Prosecutor’s Office to attest to the authenticity of the clerk’s signature. Legalisation, therefore, is the second stage of the legal process, coming after the certification proceeding.

The most common cases are:

  • a firm wants to take part in a competitive tender abroad and needs to submit its last two financial statements and the by-laws in the language of the country that has called for the bidding
  • whoever has an Italian qualification and wishes to attend an educational institution abroad, or apply for jobs abroad, will need to present a legalised translation of their qualification
  • planning permission, visas, criminal records, court rulings or legislative acts that must be notified abroad

If the translation of a document into a foreign a language must be used abroad, it will first go through the certification procedure (sworn translation) and then be legalised (see above). Alternatively, if such document is required in a country that subscribes to the 1961 Hague Convention, it will be apostilled. If the country which the document has to be sent to is amongst those that adhere to the Convention, the document will be marked with an Apostille stamp. This acts as international confirmation of the document’s authenticity.

Alternatively, the document will be legalised. Practically speaking this does not change anything, only the stamp that marks the final page of the document will be different.

  1. Who can legally validate a translation

  • Swearing or legalising a translation is not something you are allowed to do yourself. For example, even if a person is able to translate their own school certificate themselves they cannot go to court to swear their own translation.
  • Therefore, the documents must be sworn by a third person before a Registrar of the Court or a Justice of the Peace: the translator must assume the responsibility, by taking an oath, of having faithfully translated the original text.
  • In Italy there is no such thing as a Sworn Translator. Sworn translations (that is, those rendered official by an oath), have full legal value, regardless of whether or not the translator who has undertaken them is registered on a list of court experts.
  1. Which documents are needed

Action line can work with either the original copy of a document, or a scan/photocopy, which you can hand over to us in the following ways:

  • by coming to our office in person in via Dandolo 18/A, Forlì (in the historical centre) (opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
  • via e-mail ( or fax (0543/23916).

We can take care of placing the necessary official stamps or, if you prefer, you can bring the stamps here yourself. It is necessary that every fourth page of the document is marked with an official stamp. The cost of a stamp is 16,00 Euro. We shall return to you a package containing the text that needed translating (either original or photocopy), the translation and a signed record of the oath.

  1. The fees

The final price will be calculated based on: the cost of the translation + the cost of the certification or legalisation/apostille service (fixed price) + the cost of the official stamps (a stamp of 16 Euro on every fourth page of the document is required)

  1. Frequently Asked Questions

  • How will I receive my translation? You can stop by our office to collect it. Alternatively, we can send it by courier to the relevant address.
  • How long will it take? Usually the time-frame is short. For a 1-2 page document you should expect to wait 2-4 working days. If the document is being translated from one foreign language to another it might take slightly longer. Compared to the sworn translation, the legalisation process will require a greater time-frame. This is because the court keeps the documents for two working days, after which it will be possible to collect them. Contact us for a free quote regarding timings and fees.
  • Which languages do you translate? We work with a huge number of languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian,  Western Persian.
  • Can I translate my documents autonomously and then take them to you to be certified/legalised? Under no circumstances can we testify to the legal validity of a translation that we haven’t done ourselves. Nevertheless, sometimes we do receive requests from foreign people who have translated their documents autonomously. If the client’s translation is adequate, a revision on our part will suffice. Given that we assume the responsibility for the validity of the content, we will have to study both the original documents and the translation to check that they were faithfully reproduced.
  • Is it possible to legally validate a translation between two foreign languages? Yes, it is possible. Contact us for all the information relevant to your case as well as a quote regarding fees and timings.
  • Must the translator who undertakes the translation be signed up to the Register of Court Experts? No, the sworn translations, that is those that are rendered official by an oath taken in the city court, have full legal value irrespective of the fact that the translator who has undertaken them is registered on a list of court experts. Nevertheless, if there is a specific request that the translation be conducted by a translator who is signed up to the Register of Court Experts, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that it is entrusted with a person who fulfils this criteria.

More information

For any other query, write to us at or on Skype (action_line). We are happy to help.

For a free quote regarding timings and fees, contact us on our Forlì number (+39) 0543 23916 or our Ravenna number (+39) 0544 202061.

Alternatively, send your document directly to The text will be handled with maximum confidentiality.

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