Often my customers approach me because they are in the process of buying property in Greece. This can be a happy but also stressful time. Buying a house can cause a lot of work and monopolise your time. When you’re British living in the UK, buying a house in Greece can have additional implications such as bureaucracy and language barrier.
Usually, one of the first steps you have to take is to open a bank account in Greece. To do that you might need some documents such as your passport, P60, or National Insurance Number letter translated into Greek.
The other document that will probably need translation into Greek is a Power of Attorney (POA): authorising someone to do something on your behalf. For example, you may appoint a lawyer, your partner/spouse, trusted family member or a friend to act on your behalf. So how does this work?
Your UK lawyer will draft an English POA between the principal (the person who authorises) and the agent (the person who is authorised) describing the powers that are being transferred from the one party to the other.
This draft is then translated into Greek by a professional Greek translator registered with the Embassy of Greece.
The Greek translation is sent to you via email and you forward it to the Greek Embassy or Consulate. The Embassy requests that the POA is delivered in a very specific format. You can find out more about this here.
The Embassy officer will review the Greek translation, edit it and change it, ensuring it is structured the way they want it and that it includes all the information as required by Greek law. They will then email the amended copy back to you. You send this amended Greek translation back to your translator.
The translator back-translates the amended Greek POA into English so that you can understand what changes have been made by the Embassy.
If you are happy with it, the translator certifies this final Greek POA translation and posts it to you attached to the English original it came from. The translator's name will appear on your POA as your chosen and trusted translator. The translator signs next to where you and the Embassy will sign before they post the documents to you.
After you've received the certified translation in the post, with the translator's signature already on it, you visit the Embassy or Consulate where you sign the Greek POA before the Consul and confirm that you have understood its contents.
Then, you take it or send it to Greece along with any other documents, as required, in order to proceed to the necessary steps to purchasing a property.
If the above process is not followed in writing, then you'll need an interpreter to accompany you at your POA signing appointment at the Embassy. This is because when you email your POA to the Embassy, the Embassy will edit it.
If they edit it on the day of your appointment and you haven't received the edits in advance or had them back-translated into English for your reference and awareness, you will need an interpreter. This is because, if you are not a speaker of Greek, you need to be made aware of what these changes are before you sign anything.
Your interpreter will read out loud to you your updated POA in English. Meaning the interpreter will be reading the POA from paper in Greek but they will be simultaneously reading it out loud to you in English. This is called 'sight translation' and it is not exactly interpreting, but it is a very difficult and demanding cognitive process. Your interpreter's details will be listed in your POA and your interpreter will co-sign everything with you as required by Greek law.
Even if your POA was drafted by a Greek lawyer in Greek and it doesn't need to be translated from English into Greek, it has to be translated from Greek into English prior to your meeting because you need to know what it says.
You still need an interpreter to accompany you at your POA signing meeting even if you have Greek and English versions of your POA. This is simply because you will be signing the Greek POA and not the English one. And you cannot sign a legal document without first confirming that you have read and understood its contents. And if its contents are in a language other than your own, then you need a professional and qualified interpreter to read its contents out loud to you in a language that you do understand.
The Greek government cannot be then held liable that you didn't know what you were signing. And besides, why would anyone want to sign anything when they don't know what it says? Be wary of lawyers, service providers or anyone who encourages you to sign anything in a language you don't understand.
I have translated several legal documents for court cases where an individual is brigning forward a claim precisely due to the fact that they signed a document in a language they did not understand.
Other documents that might need translation during a property purchase are loan contracts, any contracts between you and your legal advisers and any other proof as required by the Greek authorities.
If your documents are ready for translation, you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a detailed, free quote.
If you require an interpreter to attend your meeting, you can book me by filling in this form (see bottom of page).
Vasiliki is a professional translator and interpreter working with English and Greek. She specialises in legal, marketing, and psychometrics. She is a member of CIoL and ITI and she is registered with the Greek Embassy. Her mission is to help you reach your goals through the power of words. You can contact her at email@example.com and you can follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.