Official Translations and Certified Copies in Greece
Information about how to translate your important documents into Greek...
Greek authorities may require an official translation of certain foreign documents (such as driving licences and school diplomas) if they are to be used for administrative purposes. The term official translation means a translation that has been made and certified by a lawyer, the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Department of Translation or a certified translator. Certified copies of original documents are also often required, as is a dilosi (which is a sworn declaration or official statement of facts).
Translating Foreign Papers in Greece
Certified translations can be carried out by a lawyer, or by the Greek Foreign Ministry’s Department of Translation (???????????? ???????? / Metafrastiki Ipirresia) and very occasionally by certified translators, although these are much harder to find. Many translation companies will have their translations done by qualified lawyers and not certified translators.
Many translations of smaller documents, for example school diplomas, can be done while you wait. It is also often possible to pay more to have the translation completed faster.
- Greek Foreign Ministry - Department of Translation
At: Arionos St. 10, Psirri, 105 54 Athens
Tel: 210 328 5712/5711
Fax: 210 328 5777
- For further information on translation services from the Greek Foreign Ministry: Click here
Checking the Translation
Once the translation is done, check any names that figure on the document. It is important to check that the first name, middle name, surname and, if applicable, father's first name are clear on the translation.
The Greek system for writing names on official documents is different to many other countries. Greeks often use the following system:
- The person's family (last) name, followed by tou ("of") and the person's father's first name, followed by the person's first name. For example: Papadopoulos, tou Giorgos, Konstantinos
Generally, the surname is written first in Greece. It may be unclear to a Greek which is the foreigner's name and surname. Greeks also rarely have middle names, so this may be confusing to some translators. One mistake is that a middle name is "translated" into Greek as a father's name.
Names written in Latin letters are not transliterated or Hellenised but kept in their Latin form. This includes names that are Greek in origin.
Check that the certified translation is clearly stamped and signed by the lawyer or organisation responsible.
Photocopies of official translations are not acceptable when dealing with Greek authorities; copies of official translations must be certified. Certified copies can be made for a small fee by the company that made the official translation, or free of charge at a local Citizen Service Centre (KEP).
- To find a local Citizen Service Centre anywhere in Greece: Click here
In certain cases, authorities request specifically that documents be certified by a lawyer (some translations, certain official documents, or photocopies).
It is recommended to keep an original copy of an official translation and get some copies certified, as this is much cheaper than getting a second full official translation later should one ever be needed.
Along with translations, copies of original documents also need to be certified. These copies can be certified by solicitors or Citizen Service Centres (KEP) as above. Alternatively, the issuing institution can provide a certified copy: for example, a university can certify a copy of a diploma issued by that institution.
A dilosi (sworn declaration) is a document used frequently to give power of attorney or to declare ownership of property. It also needs to be certified. This can be done free of charge at the local Citizen Service Centre (KEP) or at the local police station.
A blank dilosi form can be bought from a kiosk (periptero). It is filled in with personal details and then presented at a KEP or police station, along with proof of identity. It must not be signed until in the presence of an official.