Why use a sworn public translation?
Why Use Translations by a Sworn Public Translator?


The Office of Sworn Public Translator and Commercial Interpreter is ruled in Brazil by Decree no. 13609, of October 21, 1943, and its section 18 reads as follows:
“No book, document or paper of any nature issued in foreign language shall be valid before any Federal, State or Municipal division, in any court, jurisdiction or entities supported, inspected or directed by the government, without being joined with its respective translation made in accordance with the present Ruling”.
And its section 19, as follows:
“To the exception of translations made by ship brokers, manifests and documents which foreign vessels must submit for procedures at Customs and those made by individuals entitled as Sworn Public Translators or Interpreters, in virtue of their offices, no other translation shall have public faith if not made by sworn public translator and commercial interpreter appointed in accordance with the present Ruling.”
Decree no. 13609, in fact, came to rule the services of translation and interpreting previously established by those legal instruments:
1) Code of Criminal Procedure (Decree-Law no. 3689, of October 03, 1941)
Section 193 – When the accused does not speak the national language, the interrogatory shall be made through an interpreter.
Section 223 – When the witness does not speak the national language, an interpreter shall be appointed to translate the questions and answers.
Section 236 – Documents in foreign language, without prejudice of their immediate joining, shall be translated, if necessary, by sworn public translator, or, in case there is no such translator, by an eligible person appointed by the authorities.
2) Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT, Decree-Law no. 5452, of May 01, 1943)
Section 819 – The deposition of witnesses and the parties, if they do not speak the national language, shall be made through an interpreter appointed by the judge or president.
Subsequently to the above mentioned Decree no. 13609, of 1943, other legal instruments came to consolidate the requirement of sworn public translation/interpreting. To wit:
Code of Civil Procedure (Law 5.869, of January 11, 1973):
Section 151 – The State Judge shall appoint an interpreter whenever he deems necessary, to:
I – analyze a document of dubious meaning, written in a foreign language;
II – translate into Portuguese the depositions of the parties and witnesses who do not know the national language;
Section 156 – The use of Portuguese language is mandatory for all acts and terms of the proceeding.
Section 157 – A document written in foreign language shall only be joined into the records of proceeding when followed by its translation into Portuguese, signed by a sworn public translator.
The current Brazilian Constitution, in force since 1988, sets forth in its section 13 that
“Portuguese language is the official language of the Federative Republic of Brazil”
Therefore, the Civil Code (Law 10406, of January 10, 2002), provides, among other things, that:
Section 224 – Documents written in a foreign language shall be translated into Portuguese in order to be legally valid in the Country.
Section 1.134 – …………
Paragraph 2 – Documents must be notarized, in accordance with the national law of the petitioning company, certified at the Brazilian consulate or the respective head offices of the company and followed by a translation into Portuguese.
Also Law 8.934, of November 18, 1994 (ruled by Decree no. 1.800, of January 30, 1996), which provides on the public registration of commercial companies and connected activities, reads as follows:
Section 8 – It is incumbent upon the Board of Commerce:
III – processing the qualification and appointment of sworn public translators and commercial interpreters.
Based upon that law, the Director of the National Department of Commercial Registration (DNRC) has published Normative Instruction No. 84, of February 29, 2000, providing on the qualification, appointment and registration, and its termination for Sworn Public Translators and Commercial Interpreters, an instrument which fully approaches the practicing of this activity.
Besides that, Law no. 9.707, of September 23, 1996, on Arbitration, provides, on Chapter VI,
Section 37 – ………..
I – original of the arbitrating sentence or a duly certified copy, legalized by the Brazilian consulate and followed by the official translation;
II – original of the arbitrating convention or a copy duly certified, followed by the official translation.