Your Cookies are Disabled! sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

May I notarize a foreign language document I can’t read?

NNA Hotline Tip Logo

Can I notarize a document written in another language if I can't read that language?M.F. California

Yes, you may notarize a document in a foreign language. However, the Notary certificate on the document must be in English. 

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, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

View All: Hotline Tips


Add your comment


11 Oct 2017

I have stamps with the notarial language on them, in English. If the document was 100% in a foreign language, could I add my English stamp with the notarial language and complete the notary that way?

National Notary Association

13 Oct 2017

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Steve Finestone

11 Oct 2017

i also believe that the notary and client must be able to communicate with each other b

Randi Luscombe

12 Oct 2017

How do you legally document something that you really have no clue as to what it is or what it says without an unbiased interpreter to tell you what's in the document?

Magaly Vera

11 Jan 2020

If the commissioned is in Florida?

National Notary Association

14 Jan 2020

Hello. Florida does not allow a Notary to take an acknowledgment of a person who does not speak or understand the English language, unless the nature and effect of the document to be notarized is translated into a language which the person does understand.


30 Sep 2020

Can a Florida Notary Public take an acknowledgment of a person who speaks and understand english but the document is written in a foreign lenguaje that the notary does not know, but it is translated by the person which have to sign, and the Notary check that translation also in google translation, and it is a legal document, so will the notary be safe to take that?

National Notary Association

02 Oct 2020

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Kim cusumano

12 Feb 2022

I have a power of attorney paper in italian. I need to have it notarized in the us and send it back to Italy . Is there a reason why a notary would not sign this. I am in Florida

National Notary Association

18 Feb 2022

Hello. We're sorry, but if the Notary did not give a reason for refusing a notarization request we cannot tell you why they turned it down.

Veronique Felix

11 May 2022

Even with a document in English, you're forgetting that a notary is ONLY attesting that the person signing is who they say they are, regardless of the content of the document. The notary isn't required to read/understand the document so wouldn't it be true that the content of the document or the language it is written in language doesn't matter, so long as the person signing it understand the language?

National Notary Association

18 May 2022

Hello. The danger in notarizing a document in a language you do not understand is that the document could be misrepresented to you. For more information, please see here:


26 Jun 2022

Good Morning! I have a signor who lives in china He wants an apostille for a document for use in turkey. He has a Chinese passport and has an EIN. The document is in another language that I do not understand. Would it be okay if I add my acknowledgment form in english and submitted to the state of florida for apostille?

National Notary Association

22 Jul 2022

Yes, a foreign language document can be notarized using an English language certificate attachment. Whether or not an apostille from Florida is acceptable will be up to the recipient of the document.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.