A sworn translator is a judicial expert, appointed by the Cour d’appel (Court of Appeal) or the Cour de cassation (Court of Cassation). Experts are registered as interpreters or translators, or quite commonly both. In the justice system their role is to translate documents or to interpret for individuals when called upon by the judicial authorities. All translators in CRETA are registered with the Cour d’appel of Colmar (the full list can be consulted on the website of the Cour de cassation). Our electronic directory indicates whether the member is a translator and/or interpreter, together with his or her working language(s). All expert translators/interpreters have to compile an annual activity report for the relevant court and follow at least one training session per year. Expert translators and interpreters must also comply with a code of ethics specific to their profession, primarily being bound by a duty of impartiality and confidentiality.
French authorities (e.g. prefectures, municipal authorities, health insurance offices, naturalisation platforms …) require translations of foreign documents by sworn translators on the list of a Cour d’appel (or Cour de cassation).
The translators in CRETA are duly registered with the courts. You just need to contact a translator in the CRETA directory and ask for an estimate. In principle the translator must see the original document – sometimes the authority may require the translator’s stamp on the original or on a copy certifying that he/she has seen the original. If the estimate is based on an electronic copy it is essential to send the translator the complete document, both sides if need be. The translation will always be provided on paper with the translator’s stamp and signature, together with a unique number “ne varietur” attributed to the specific translation. If the translator is not given access to the original document he/she will indicate that the translation is based on the copy presented.
Translations of French documents required by authorities abroad will often need some form of certification or confirmation of the translator’s signature by a public official (town hall or notary) and may require an apostille (affixed by the Cour d’appel) or legalisation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The various country-specific procedures are described on the websites of the Ministry or the relevant Consulates.