Skip to content


What is the difference between translator & interpreter. The translator transfers written texts from a source language to a target language, interpreters transfer the spoken or written orally from one language to another.

Who may call themselves translators and interpreters? The professional titles are not protected in Germany. However, the designations acquired through certain licenses and certifications, such as “state-certified translator”, “generally authorized translator” or “publicly appointed and sworn interpreter” are protected. They serve as proof of special professional and personal suitability and are a sign of quality.

What do I need certified translations for? For submission to offices, authorities, courts and other official institutions in Germany. Certified translations are required for certificates, deeds, identity cards, contracts and court decisions, among other things.

Who is allowed to make certified translations? Only by court-certified, authorized or officially appointed translators. These translators must not only provide legally required personal and professional proof of suitability (e.g. knowledge of German legal terminology), but are also sworn to maintain confidentiality and impartiality.

How do I find a good linguist? The official list of sworn interpreters and authorized translators can be found at The online database of the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators at allows you to search specifically for qualified interpreters and translators who meet your requirements in terms of specialization, qualifications, native language, experience and range of services.

Who is liable? Of course, translators and interpreters are liable for any faults caused by them. Therefore, the existence of a corresponding third party financial loss liability insurance is enormously important.

Is it enough to be a native speaker to be able to translate and interpret well?  Mother tongue is an important prerequisite, but it is by far not enough on its own. A good general education, sound technical knowledge, the ability to translate technical texts in a way that is appropriate to the purpose and target group, stylistic confidence and consistent terminology management are equally important quality characteristics of a good linguist.

BDÜ purchasing guide for download: Click here to download PDF

Back To Top