A sworn translation or a legal translation is one in which the document translated is endorsed by the signature and seal of the translator and the sworn translator must have been authorized by the Foreign Office to do the translation. The translations that are sworn acquire a formal status.
Why is a sworn translation not like a normal translation?
Normal translations and sworn translations are not same. In the sworn translation, the translator is endorsing the document with his seal and he also signs the document. Thus, the document is of formal stature. This is not done in a normal translation. Moreover, a sworn translation cannot be produced as a soft copy and can only be produced as a hard copy. In some cases, sworn translations are done on stamp paper as well. Both of these criterions are not present in normal translation.
Where is a sworn translation used?
When a situation occurs where a document is produced in front of an official body but the document is in a foreign language, it needs to be translated. The translation done in such situations are termed as sworn translations.
Moreover, in general sworn translations are used anywhere where the guarantee of accuracy of the translated document is required because the translator has the full responsibility of the document.
The foreign documents are the ones which often require a sworn translator. Sworn translations are sometimes also required while applying in a foreign university and you are required to produce your academic record.