Notary Bulletin

How Do I ... Notarize A Foreign-Language Document?

With more than 35 million foreign-born residents living in the United States and millions more visiting every year, the chances are that you will encounter a document in a foreign language.

Check your state law to make sure that you are permitted to notarize a document in a language you do not understand. While the document does not need to be in a language you can read, many states mandate that you must be able to read and understand the notarial certificate and signature. You also must be able to communicate directly with the signer. Do not rely on an intermediary to translate the signer’s wishes. The intermediary could misinterpret your questions and the signer’s answers.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

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