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Legal translators/interpreters


This section helps you find an interpreter or legal translator in Spain

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How to find an interpreter or legal translator in Spain

In Spain there is no comprehensive regulation of sworn interpreters and translators.

Article 231.5 of the Organic Law on the Judiciary specifies that 'In oral proceedings any person who speaks the language used and who has previously sworn or promised to translate accurately may be appointed as interpreter.'

Article 440 of the Criminal Procedure Code lays down the right to be aided by an interpreter, and Article 441 states that 'The interpreter shall be selected from persons qualified as such, if there are any in the locality. Where there are none, a teacher of the appropriate language shall be appointed, and if there is none, any person who speaks the language.'

Article 762.8 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that 'If the accused or witnesses do not understand or speak Spanish, the applicable procedure shall be that laid down in Articles 398, 440 and 441. The interpreter does not need to have an official qualification.'

As a general rule, in civil and criminal cases with legal aid the Ministry of Justice (or the Autonomous Communities with powers in the field of justice) pays the translator or interpreter, while in civil proceedings without legal aid the claimant bears the expenses of the translator or interpreter. Interpreters are also used in certain administrative law proceedings, such as requests for asylum.

To qualify as a sworn translator or interpreter it is necessary to pass the examination organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Holders of this qualification are authorised to make official translations.

Is access to the database of translators in Spain free of charge?

There is no database in Spain with information on interpreters and translators.

How to find a legal translator in Spain

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation publishes a list of the persons who have passed the examinations for sworn interpreters.

The list can be consulted free of charge and contains an alphabetical list of languages and the sworn translators in each language.

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Last update: 11/03/2020

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