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Notarize Foreign Language Documents.

Notary Support Team

Can A Notary Public Notarize Foreign Language Documents in California?

The state of California consists of a diverse population of many ethnicities. But can a notary public in California notarize foreign language documentsAs a general rule, California state laws allow a notary from notarizing foreign language documents. They can notarize documents even in cases where they are unable to read and write the foreign language of the documents presented.

Recommended Practices

A notary public is responsible for witnessing and identifying the signature with the person signing the documents. Their function does not include validation of the content of these foreign language documents.

If you are seeking notarization of foreign language documents, it is best to go to a notary who can read and understand your language. Use of a translator is not permitted. This is because there is a risk that the message may be lost in translation. Or that the third party may misrepresent the document to the notary.

Further, you will have to sign this document using an alphabet or characters that the notary can understand. The purpose of this is to ascertain that the name on the document is the same as what the notary is being told.

Considerations to Observe When Notarizing Foreign Language Documents

If a notary cannot refer you to another notary public familiar with the language, the notary can sign the document. Let’s take a look at the considerations observed by the notary so that you can prepare accordingly;

  • The notary will check the document for completeness and proceed only then.
  • The notary certificate will be in English or any other language the notary can read.
  • Any ID you present to the notary must also be in English or any other language the notary can understand.
  • The notary public will ask you questions about the nature of these foreign language documents to ascertain whether there is any need to administer an oath.
  • The notary has to identify the type of document presented for notarization and make an appropriate entry in his journal. If the notary is not able to identify these documents, then he will make an entry for “a document in a foreign language.”

Direct Communication Is an Essential Requirement

The notary and the signer must be able to directly communicate in one language, without the need for any third party. Thus, it is not permissible to use a translator.

According to the California state laws, direct communication is an essential requirement when notarizing any foreign language documents. This is important because it ensures that no one may misinterpret the conversation either intentionally or unintentionally.

Where the notary is unable to communicate with you, he will refer you to a notary who is familiar with your foreign language. (Reference to California Civil Code sections 1188, 1189 and 1195 read together with California Government Code sections 8202, 8205, and 8206.)

Do you have a foreign language document that needs notarization? If yes, feel free to contact the Notary Council for more information.

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