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Digitally certified translations

 

Did you know that you can now get your translation certified electronically (“e-translation”)? How? Read our FAQs below or contact us, we are here for you!

 

Is a digitally certified translation equivalent to a hard copy “stamped and sealed” translation? 

A new law on court translators came into effect in the Czech Republic on 1 January 2021 (Act No. 324/2019 Coll.), enabling sworn translators to certify their translations digitally, subject to agreement with the client. If all formal requisites stipulated by the law are met, the e-translation is equivalent to a hard copy translation.  

  

Does Orange Tree offer digitally certified translations in any language?  

At the moment, we offer this service only for translations from Czech into English and vice versa. However, the service will be extended to other languages in the future, depending on how quickly our external translators adapt to the new law.  

  

In what format will I receive the translation? Do I need special software to open it?  

The law requires a PDF/A format, which can be opened in any standard PDF viewer.  

  

Does the file also include the original document and the sworn translator’s clause?  

Yes, a digitally certified translation consists of the same parts as a hard copy certified translation, i.e. of the original, translation and sworn translator’s clause with an electronic signature.  

  

Is the sworn translator’s round stamp included in the e-translation as well?  

No, the translation is certified with a qualified electronic signature of the sworn translator instead. The signature must be created using a Qualified Signature Creation Device (USB token or smart card) and must be based on a qualified electronic signature certificate.   

  

Is the term of validity of sworn e-translations limited in some way?  

Yes, digitally certified translations are only valid for the period of validity of the translator’s electronic signature, or rather the timestamp attached. The standard (and maximum possible) validity of an electronically signed and timestamped document is currently five years. However, we can easily renew the e-translation for you after this time. You can also have the e-translation converted into paper form at a Czech Post branch at any time throughout the validity period, or you can ask us to provide a printed translation with unlimited validity in addition to the electronic version.  

  

How will I receive the translation? Do I need a data box?  

A data box is not needed, the translation can be sent by e-mail or via an online file transfer service, it can be uploaded to a cloud drive or saved on a data carrier.  

  

Can I have the translation converted to hard copy?  

The translation includes a qualified electronic signature and so you can have it converted to hard copy for a fee at a Czech Post branch throughout the term of its validity (i.e. five years), even repeatedly.   

 

Can I have a digitally certified translation apostilled, as is the case with hard copy certified translations?  

No, only printed documents can be apostilled in the Czech Republic at the moment. Therefore, if you know that the foreign authority you are dealing with requires verification of your certified translation by the Czech Ministry of Justice, order the translation in hard copy. We will also be happy to arrange the apostille for you.  

  

Will the respective authority or country of destination accept the digitally certified translation?  

That is always up to the respective authority and country. If you know that you will submit the translation in electronic form only (this is very frequent e.g. in visa procedures etc.), the e-translation is the clear choice. In other cases, we strongly recommend that you first inquire with the given authority or country about their requirements. If it turns out later that you also need a printed translation for some reason, we can issue it for you or you can have your e-translation converted to hard copy at a Czech Post branch.   

  

What are the requirements on the original file in this case? Is it a problem if it already bears an electronic signature?  

The original must meet practically the same requirements as in the case of hard copy certified translations. It can be in any format that allows us to join the original with the translation into a single document and convert it to PDF. Ideally, however, the original itself should not bear an electronic signature, as attaching the translation and the translator’s clause invalidates the original signature.  

 

Is there no way to get a digitally certified translation of an original document with an electronic signature then?  

An original document with an electronic signature can be inserted into the PDF/A file as an attachment – in this case, the original signature will not be invalidated. However, the Ministry of Justice has not yet issued a clear opinion on whether or not this method of attaching the original to the certified translation is actually sufficient. If the Ministry of Justice gives the green light to this procedure, it will be possible to make sworn e-translations of virtually any original document converted to electronic form, including personal documents (birth, marriage and death certificates), notarial deeds, extracts from public registers, etc.  

 

What if the original document includes texts in several languages, or if it is necessary to make a sworn translation e.g. from Slovak to English via Czech? 

Since the translation cannot include more than one electronic signature, a certified translation from more than one language can be made only if the sworn translator is licensed to translate from all the languages included in the original document. A translation between two foreign languages via Czech cannot be digitally certified.