Notarizing A Document In a Foreign Language

February 22, 2017 / Uncategorized

The United States of America hosts many languages within her borders. Take New York for example, where only 51% of the population speaks English at home. A different language can create a tricky situation for notaries, as you may come across a document you cannot read.

How should you notarize a document in another language?

The first thing you should do is look up your state's policy. It may have certain steps and regulations that you must follow. Aside from the state's requirements, there are two methods we suggest.

Require a translation

An obvious option is to require your customers to bring a copy of the document in your native tongue or a language you feel comfortable in. However, you risk losing business if you request this and waiting for a translation can become quite a lengthy process.

Notarize it anyways

Technically speaking, many states don't require a notary to read a document before notarizing it. A notary serves as a non-bias witness to a document's signing. What's in the document, and whether or not it's a valid document, isn't your primary concern.

While it seems counterintuitive to put your stamp on something you haven't read, it is an option.

As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to communicate with the document's signer in a language you understand. Additionally, the notarial certificate should be in a language you can read.

Every notary should follow a process when it comes to notarizing documents in a foreign language, and this process must adhere to your state's requirement. Have you encountered this problem before? What did you do?