Do you have a document in a foreign language that requires notarization?
California law allows a notary to notarize a document written in a foreign language even if the notary cannot read or understand it. The notary public’s function relates to identifying the signer and witnessing the signature, not validating the contents of the document.
Despite that, there are some considerations that must be observed:
- The notary must be able to communicate with the signer in their language. This is a necessary requirement for all notarizations in California and it is not permissible to use a translator in lieu of direct communication between the notary and signer. If the notary does not speak the signer’s language, the signer should be referred to a notary that does.
- The notary must scan the document for completeness. The notary should not notarize the document if it appears to be incomplete.
- The notary must be able to read the notarial certificate contained in the document. It the notary certificate is in a foreign language or the document is missing notarial verbiage, the notary must attach a certificate in the English-language. The notary should ask the signer the nature of the document to determine if an oath should be administered.
- The notary should be able to identify the type of document being notarized for entry in the notary public’s journal. If the notary is unable to identify the type of document, the notary must make an entry to that effect (e.g., “a document in the foreign language”).
California has a diverse population represented by many different ethnicities, and in the Bay area it is common to see foreign documents, many for use abroad.
Do you have a document originating in California for use abroad? Does it require an Apostille? Totally Notary is a Private Service Company registered with the CA Secretary of State to provide Apostille services. Totally Notary provides 2 business day Apostille processing, securely and affordably. Call for details today!
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