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Traducteur agréé: how do I find one in France and what are the fees?

We explain the country’s system of official translators and give options for finding one

You may need an official translator in France to translate documents such as driving licences or birth certificates Pic: Lonely Walker / Shutterstock

Reader Question: I need a traducteur agréé. How do I find one and how much will it cost?

A traducteur agréé, also known as a traducteur assermenté or sometimes traducteur expert, is a translator who has the legal status required to translate official documents in France, such as birth certificates and driving licences, and retain the official character of the document. 

If you need a document translated in an official capacity in France you cannot use just anyone who is proficient in French and whatever the other required language is, even if the translation is very straightforward as is the case for a birth certificate. 

You have to use a certified translator who is a judicial expert registered on a list by each court of appeal around the country.

One situation in which you may need an official translator is to translate a birth certificate in order to get married or enter into a civil partnership (Pacs) in France. 

To find a traducteur agréé, the French government suggests searching through the website of the Cour de cassation, which has a list of official translators operating in different parts of France. 

You can find a list of these at this link.

Note, though, that it will involve going into a list of all court-certified experts (not just translators) in whichever area of France you select. It means you will have to search through a long document to find a translator’s details.  

The price for getting an official translation will vary depending on the job, including the amount of words and/or pages you need to have translated, the languages involved and the difficulty of the translation. 

As an example, a member of The Connexion team recently paid €60 for a birth certificate to be translated from English to French. 

A certified translator we contacted said that generally the translation of a standard document – driving licence, birth certificate, etc. – will cost from €40 to €70 with the rate varying depending on the translator, the complexity of the work, the time frame etc. 

Searching for a traducteur agréé through the Cour de cassation website

  • Go to the Cour de cassation’s website and search for the Cour d’Appel that applies to your commune. If you do not know which court your commune is associated with, you can find out using this search tool

  • Say, for example, your commune falls under the jurisdiction of the Cour d’Appel of Limoges, click on the link that says Accéder à la page Experts du site de la Cour d'Appel de Limoges

  • On the page that opens up, click on the document that says, liste des experts

  • This will open a long document listing all official experts in the area, not just translators. The easiest way to find a translator is to search for the word traduction or traducteur using the search function – hold control and press ‘f’ on your keyboard. 

  • You will, through scrolling and searching, eventually find a list of all the official translators for that area plus their contact details. 

If you are looking for an ‘official’ translator operating outside of France, for whatever reason, it can be more complicated. 

The French consulate in the US, for example, recommends translators certified by the American Translators Association, but notes that there is no exact equivalent to the official traducteur assermenté in the US. 

Generally-speaking it is not guaranteed that a translator with a foreign accreditation will be deemed to confer ‘official’ status on a document for use in France so it is safer to use a French-accredited one for such purposes.

Other options to find a traducteur agréé

You can also search for a certified translator through the Société française des traducteurs (SFT) or through the Union Nationale des Experts Traducteurs Interprètes près les Cours d’Appel (Unetica)

If you go through a lawyer or notaire to carry out a legal procedure, for example to get married or for a civil partnership, you can ask them to provide you with details of a translator. 

They will have go-to translators and may even organise this for you.

If they master English themselves, they may also be able to write certain documents directly in English instead, or undertake a translation themselves where their writing of documents is not legally permissible.

Alternatively you can find your own certified translator by word of mouth etc.

You should be careful about going through translation agencies as they may offer translators who are not technically certified. To note, agencies themselves cannot be certified, only translators. 

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