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Can I Accept A Notarization Request Through An Interpreter?

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I only speak and understand English. If someone requests a Notary through an interpreter, can I notarize a document for them with the interpreter’s help?  What if I have to administer an oath?R.L., South Dakota

South Dakota does not address using interpreters. The U.S. Notary Law Primer offers this professional practice:

“Ideally, there should be direct communication between the Notary and the signer, whether in English or any other language. It can be risky for a Notary to rely on an intermediary or interpreter to be assured that a signer is willing, is aware and has the identity claimed. One clear danger of relying on a translator or interpreter is the possibility that the translator may have a motive for misrepresenting the document or transaction to the signer and or the Notary.”

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

Related Articles:

3 Questions For Notaries To Ask When Dealing With Foreign-Language Issues

Arizona Law Oks The Use Of Interpreters To Speak For Signers


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Eugene W. Montrose

07 Jun 2016

greatly appreciate your e-mail inputs Keep them coming .I expect to join on or about July 1st 2016 with a 5 year affiliation package. Getting some "clutter" out of my way so I can be fully attentive to the Notary process. I plan NOT TO CHARGE a notarial fee.

Barbara S White

13 Jun 2016

The Notary can always make a call to an interpreter to make sure the communication is unbiased. There are many companies that provide this service. The signer and Notary both speak through the interpreter on the phone.

National Notary Association

14 Jun 2016

Hello. We're sorry, but this is not correct. Only one state — Arizona — expressly allows an interpreter to translate for a signer when the signer and Notary do not speak the same language, and Arizona requires the translator and signer to be physically in the presence of the Notary at the time of the notarization.

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