Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Sworn Translator in Brazil

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


In Brazil, the profession of a sworn translator is officially known as Tradutor Público e Intérprete Comercial, and its abbreviated to TPIC, which means Public Translator and Commercial Interpret.

The Brazilian legislation requires that the documents issued in a foreign language must be presented to Brazilian authorities, accompanied with a sworn translation in Portuguese. In other words, if a foreigner comes to Brazil having a driving license and wants to drive in the country, its driver's license issued abroad in a foreign language must be translated to Portuguese to be legally recognized in Brazil.

For the translation of a foreign document be considered valid, it must be performed by a sworn translator, a professional that provides translations services, but more than that, an individual that has Brazilian citizenship and was approved in a public contest by the Board of Trade of its residency State.

The Sworn Translator’s Job

The function of a sworn translator can be a rewarding job for those who have an affinity with texts of legal and commercial nature and a vocation to deal with bureaucracy. The sworn translator is usually hired to perform the translations of:

Despite the legal documentation, the sworn translators can also translate documents of other nature, such as:

  • school records, diplomas, and other education certificates
  • medical certificates
  • health certificates for pets who are taken abroad
  • technical reports for engineering and industrial engineering.

In addition , the sworn translator, even though wasn’t trained as an interpret, can perform oral translations in some occasions, such as in:

  • wedding ceremonies
  • acts of drawing up public deeds
  • and meetings with judges and other public officials.

Sworn Translators Clients

The largest part of a sworn translator’s customers are foreign people who want to marry or study in Brazil, foreign companies wishing to establish or participate in biddings in Brazil, and Brazilian government agencies that need the translation of foreign documents.

Sworn Translation Prices

The payment received by a sworn translator isn’t provided by the State, but by his own clients.The common translators generally set the price for their services as they wish, while the sworn translators don’t have this possibility; they must follow a tabled price established by the Board of Trade referent by the State in which they were registered.

The official sworn translation prices are defined based on the translated lauda. In the São Paulo Board of Trade, the lauda is equivalent to one page having 1,000 characters without spaces, while in the Bahia Board of Trade the lauda is defined as one page with 1,250 characters with spaces.

The lauda varies from state to state, but each Board of Trade prices is published on their website along with a list of qualified sworn translators of the state. For example, in Rio Grande do Sul, the lauda translated to Portuguese (with 1,250 characters with spaces) currently costs 58.00 BRL or 68.00 BRL when it's translated to a foreign language. While in Rio de Janeiro, a lauda translated to Portuguese (with 1,200 characters without spaces) costs 50.10 BRL or 59.32 BRL if translated into foreign languages.

Requirements to be a Sworn Translator

The sworn translator doesn’t receive official public salaries and State pension when gets retired, what a sworn translator actually receives from the State is a lifetime authorization to issued documents with fé pública (recognized by law).

Board of Trade’s Public Contest

The sworn translator professional, in order to be legally recognized by Brazilian authorities and, therefore, be able to realize sworn translations, must participate in a public contest promoted by each State Board of Trade.

The test will comprise a written test and a oral de test:

  • written test: make a version of a text with 30 lines or more to a foreign language and translate a text, normally a stretch of a power of attorney, passports, notarial deeds, certificates, or others.
  • oral test: reading, translation, and version part, as well as, the realization of a lecture, arguing using the foreign language, and using the natural language​​.

The contests happens usually at intervals of twenty years and are responsible for the selection of new professionals to work from the board of trade of the State in question. To know if any Brazilian board of trade is holding a contest, it is necessary to get in touch with it.

Documents for Application

To apply for the Board of Trade test, the applicant must present documents to this state body, proving:

  • that the applicant's age is not under 21 years old
  • that the applicant wasn’t a bankrupt dealer
  • the applicant is Brazilian or must be naturalized as a Brazilian citizen
  • the applicant is not being sued, neither have been condemned by a crime
  • that the applicant have resided for more than one year in the State in which he will perform translation services
  • that the applicant is in a regular situation with the military service
  • the applicant identity.

He, however, cannot hold the office from which he have been previously dismissed.