Language and the Notary

It seems every day is a learning experience.  A potential client calls and you go through the list, do you have valid ID, is the signer competent, where will I be going and so on. As our nation becomes more diverse, there are more calls from people needing documents from another country notarized.

The next question is “Is the document in English?”  Sometimes the document is in another language but the notary certificate is in English.  Does the signer understand the language written in the document?  Does the signer speak both that language and English? It’s possible to notarize this document if the answer to both questions is yes and there are no other extenuating circumstances because the notary isn’t a lawyer and is only completing the notary certificate.Common Languages

This brings me to the next issue.  So, the document is in English but the signer doesn’t speak, read or understand English and you don’t speak the language of the signer. This is a problem. Their response,  “I have a translator.” A translator isn’t any help in this instance because if the notary doesn’t understand both languages, the translator could be saying anything and the notary wouldn’t know the difference.  This is a deal breaker.

I try to have referrals for most situations but I do not know a Chinese speaking notary. If you are one in the Plano/DFW area, feel free to send me your information and I’m happy to pass your info along to callers.  I have recently had two requests to notarize documents for Chinese language signers.  If you’re a Spanish speaking notary, I could use your contact information as well.

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