Sebastian Henning
Sworn Translator in Berlin (Spanish-German / English-German)

Certified Translations

I offer you, in Berlin and all over Germany, a certified translation of official certificates and documents required by an office, an authority, an embassy, a consulate, a university or an employer. My working languages as a sworn translator are Spanish and English, as well as my native language German.

The German term for certified translation (‘beglaubigte Übersetzung’; literally: ‘authenticated translation’) is the colloquial expression for a translation which includes a certification of its completeness and accuracy by a translator officially recognised in Germany. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to speak of a ‘bescheinigte Übersetzung’ or ‘bestätigte Übersetzung’ (literally: ‘certified translation’). Some institutions (e.g. uni-assist) use also other terms, such as ‘vereidigte Übersetzung’ (literally: ‘sworn translation’) or ‘amtliche Übersetzung’ (literally: ‘official translation’).

My certified translations are accompanied, besides the certification of completeness and accuracy, by the place and date of issuance, my signature and seal. The translation is inseparably joined to a copy of the original document by my seal. The lay-out of the translation corresponds as far as possible with the original in order to facilitate comparability.

The ‘beglaubigte Übersetzung’ (certified translation) should, however, not be confused with a ‘Beglaubigung’, i.e. neither with the attestation of a signature on a document (‘Unterschriftsbeglaubigung’) nor with the certification or attestation of a copy of an original document (‘beglaubigte Kopie’, ‘beglaubigte Abschrift’). You can obtain the latter, depending on the case, at the citizens’ office (Bürgeramt), at a notary public’s office or at your respective consulate. In Berlin, you will find more information about that on the website of the citizens’ offices (Bürgerämter), as well as of the Berlin Chamber of Notaries Public (Berliner Notarkammer), where you can also find notaries public who speak Spanish or English.

Sworn Translator

As I am a sworn translator (oficially: ‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’ – ‘authorised translator’), appointed by the Regional Court of Berlin for the language combinations Spanish-German and English-German, my document translations are recognized all over Germany. The term ‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’ (for the written transfer), which is officially used in a large part of Germany, has the same meaning as other denominations used in some federal states (‘öffentlich bestellter Übersetzer’, ‘beeidigter Übersetzer’, ‘vereidigter Übersetzer’ or ‘Urkundenübersetzer’).

It is important to distinguish the sworn translator from the term ‘beeidigter Dolmetscher’ (‘sworn interpreter’) for the oral transfer. In the past, one of the tasks of the sworn interpreter, e.g. in Berlin, was to officially translate written documents. The current terms ‘interpreter’ and ‘translator’ allow for a precise distinction between the oral and the written transfer. Nonetheless, there remain still colleagues who perform both tasks. Unfortunately, the term ‘beeidigter Dolmetscher’ is sometimes still used instead of ‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’, although the translation of a written document is required. If you need a sworn interpreter (for the oral transfer) in Germany, you can find the latter at the Database of Translators and Interpreters of the State Justice Administrations.

Documents I translate for you

I translate documents from Spanish and English into German as well as from German into Spanish or English. This includes, for instance, transcripts (Zeugnis) or degree certificates (Abschluss) for your application for the Studienkolleg, a university (in Germany directly or via uni-assist), for vocational training or a job. A certified translation is also important if you wish to have your qualifications evaluated by a recognition office (Anerkennungsstelle) in Germany.

Translation of a criminal record certificate (Führungszeugnis) can be important when you apply for a visa or get a job abroad. Translation of your driving licence (Führerschein), e.g. in order to swap your licence (Umschreibung), is often cheaper than applying for an international licence. Translation of your assurance of naturalization (Einbürgerungszusicherung) and of the certificate of renunciation of citizenship (Urkunde über den Verzicht auf die Staatsangehörigkeit) is an important step towards German citizenship.

I also translate any kind of documents related to marriage and family. When you wish to marry at a registry office (Standesamt), you will be required to submit your single status certificate (Ledigkeitsbescheinigung; in Germany: e.g. extended resident registration certificate (erweiterte Meldebescheinigung)) or the certificate of capacity to contract marriage (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) and your birth certificate (Geburtsurkunde). If you had a previous marriage, you will also be requested to have the divorce judgment (Scheidungsurteil) translated, with a statement that the judgment has become final (Rechtskraftvermerk). Should a relative pass away in a foreign country, it will be necessary to translate their death certificate (Sterbeurkunde) for the due records at the registry office (Standesamt). On the occasion of a birth of a child, where you also have to submit your own birth certificate (Geburtsurkunde), the acknowledgment of paternity (Vaterschaftsanerkennung) or a declaration of parental custody (Sorgeerklärung) can provide legal certainty.

Certified Translations valid in Germany
(Spanish-German / English-German)

In Germany, a certified translation (‘beglaubigte Übersetzung’), which contains the certification of completeness and accuracy, can be carried out, in accordance with Art. 142 passage 3 of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO), only by a translator ‘who has been authorised or publicly appointed by the authorities of a federal state, under the stipulations of the state’s law, or who is deemed to have equivalent qualifications’. This means that every federal state has their own stipulations for the recognition of a sworn translator, which leads to partially different terms.

In the federal state of Berlin, the denomination ‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’ was introduced on the occasion of the amendment of Art. 19 of the Law on Implementation of the Courts Constitution Act (AGGVG) in 2009. Since that time, the sworn translator (‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’), who certifies the completeness and accuracy of the translation of a written text, is distinguished from the generally sworn interpreter (‘allgemein beeidigter Dolmetscher’), who is allowed to perform oral transfer at court and notaries public. We ‘ermächtigte Übersetzer’ are committed to carrying out our written translations conscientiously.

In the federal system of Germany, the different denominations for translators in accordance with Art. 142 Passage 3 of the ZPO are equal in rank and are valid in the whole country. Besides the term ‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’, used in eight federal states, there exist the official denominatons ‘öffentlich bestellter und beeidigter Urkundenübersetzer’ (Baden-Württemberg), ‘öffentlich bestellter und allgemein beeidigter Übersetzer’ (Bavaria, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Saxony), ‘öffentlich bestellter und allgemein vereidigter Übersetzer’ (Hamburg), ‘allgemein ermächtigter Übersetzer’ (Hesse), ‘allgemein vereidigter Übersetzer’ (Saarland) and ‘öffentlich bestellter Übersetzer’ (Saxony-Anhalt).

It does not matter which term the authority in charge uses when it asks you to submit a certified translation of your document. The only condition in Germany is the record as an ‘Übersetzer’ (translator) in the joint Database of Translators and Interpreters of the State Justice Administrations, with the entry ‘Ermächtigt’ (Authorised). Please note: If, sometime, you are asked to present a translation of a written text done by a ‘beeidigter Dolmetscher’, this is possibly only due to the lack of the difference between oral (interpreter) and written (translator).

It is important not to forget that you often will be required to obtain an apostille (or a consular legalisation) to prove your document is genuine. Therefore, please find out beforehand if you need one. You will obtain the apostille from the competent body in the country in which your document has been issued.

Certified Translations for other Countries
(German-Spanish / German-English)

Most authorities, universities and employers abroad accept a certified translation carried out in Germany. You can find some information on this on the websites of the respective body or consulate, please ask these bodies if you have any doubts.

The authenticity of a document issued in Germany often needs to be confirmed by an official body so that it is recognised in other countries. In many cases, you will therefore require, for your document and in addition for the certified translation, an apostille issued by the competent body of the respective German federal state or a legalisation by the respective foreign consulate. , depending on the country of destination. You can find further information on this on the websites of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany or foreign embassies and consulates.

You will obtain an apostille for documents issued by a notary public in Berlin, or for a certified translation performed by a sworn translator in Berlin, at the Regional Court of Berlin (Office for legalisations and apostilles). You can obtain your apostille for my translation from the court office by yourself, otherwise I can do the latter on your behalf. The competent bodies for providing apostilles for other documents issued in Berlin can be found on the website of the State Office for Residents’ and Regulatory Affairs State Office for Residents’ and Regulatory Affairs (LABO). Apostilles for certain documents issued by federal authorities (e.g. Führungszeugnis) can be obtained from the Federal Administration Office (BVA).