Interpretation and translation before the Greek courts are governed by Articles 233 – 238 of the Greek Code of Criminal Procedure. Interpreters and translators are appointed by the competent court from the relevant table which is drawn up each year by the First-Instance Judicial Court and finalised by the Court of Appeals. In cases of extreme urgency, interpreters who are not included in the above tables shall be appointed.
For civil proceedings, Article 252 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that if a witness, expert or party does not speak Greek, an interpreter shall be appointed by the court. A similar provision is contained in Article 137 of the Code of Administrative Procedure.
It should also be noted that there is a translation service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which, according to the current legal framework, is responsible for the official translation of public and private documents.
Foreign public documents are translated only if they bear an apostille, for documents from countries that are party to the 1961 Hague Convention, ratified in Greece by Law 1497/1984 (Government Gazette, Series I, No 188). All other foreign documents must be certified by the Greek consular authority in the country of origin of the document or by the country’s consular authority in Greece.
In addition, according to the Lawyers Code (Article 36 Law No 4194/2013 Government Gazette, Series I, No 208) the work of a lawyer includes the translation of documents drafted in a foreign language and the translation of Greek documents into any foreign language. The translation has full effect before any court or other authority, provided it is accompanied by a certified copy of the document translated and the lawyer certifies that they have adequate knowledge of the language it was translated from and into.
Greece does not have a centralised database of Greek legal translators/interpreters.
However, there is a database of members of the Panhellenic Association of Translators (members of the International Federation of Translators - FIT) who are professional translators (some of whom are also interpreters). This database allows users to search for an interpreter/translator by language and region.
Furthermore, data on professional translators, for each region of Greece can be found in the database of the Panhellenic Association of Professional Translators Graduates of the Ionian University (members of FIT), the members of which specialise in two of three languages: English, French and German (information on the language specialisations of Association members may be obtained from the Association).
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