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.