Translations for Spanish Probate Proceedings

It’s not easy when a loved one dies. The last thing you want to worry about is translation. Unfortunately, though, if the deceased left assets in Spain, such as a holiday home or a Spanish bank account, you will need to supply sworn translations into Spanish of certain documents. If you don’t have a Spanish translation, you won’t be able to access the bank account or sell the property. This guide aims to explain the process of getting documents officially translated for Spain.

What documents do you need to translate into Spanish?

Assuming the deceased died in the UK, you will need a sworn translation of the death certificate into Spanish. If they left a will, which has been probated, you will also need to obtain a sworn translation of the will and grant of probate into Spanish. With these documents, the Spanish authorities will be able to determine who is entitled to the deceased’s assets.

If there is no will, and the Spanish lawyer concludes that succession to the deceased’s estate to be governed by English law, you will need some, or all, of the following translated into Spanish:

  1. Sworn translation of the grant of letters of administration
  2. Sworn translation of the birth certificates of any surviving children of the deceased
  3. Sworn translation of the marriage certificate if the deceased’s spouse is still alive

Please note that this list above is not exhaustive. We always recommend checking with the Spanish authorities before contacting us to ensure that you supply translations of everything they need.

What is a Spanish sworn translation?

An official or sworn translation for Spain, otherwise known as a traducción jurada, is a special type of translation from English into Spanish that is certified by a translator appointed and registered with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thanks to our network of professional Spanish translators that are registered with the Spanish government, Dot Comma can produce sworn translations for Spain quickly and cost-effectively. You may be advised that you can obtain a notarised translation with an Apostille for Spain. Whilst this will work, we don’t recommend this approach as it is more expensive.

N.B. The term sworn translation can be quite confusing for Spain. Many translation companies will produce a translator’s declaration under oath. This is not valid in Spain and so the translation will be rejected. If in doubt, ask whether the translator is registered with the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How much does a sworn translation cost?

Without seeing the actual documents to be translated into Spanish, it is a bit difficult to give an accurate price. However, as a general rule, the translation a one-page death certificate will cost £76.80 inc. VAT (plus postage). Aside from the translation costs, you need to factor in the cost of the Apostille (see below) and postage of the hard copy translations; we can send these back to you in the UK for £10 inc. VAT or arrange a DHL courier to Spain for £60 inc. VAT.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Aside from obtaining a sworn translation, you will also need an Apostille on the original English documents. The Apostille is a stamp from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office that confirms that the English documents are genuine. Without it, the Spanish authorities will reject the documents. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office offers two services: the standard service is a postal service and takes approximately 4–6 working days; it costs £30 per Apostille. Being located in the centre of London, Dot Comma has access to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s premium legalisation service. This service is not available to members of the public. It costs £75 per Apostille, but takes just one working day.

Please note that we make a small handling charge to cover the cost of dealing with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on your behalf.