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3 Things Notaries Should Know About Translating Documents

Spanish-document-resized.jpgIf you’re a Notary who speaks more than one language, you’ve probably had customers ask if you can translate a document or certify that a document has been translated accurately. Before you say yes, here are 3 important facts you need to know.

1.  Notaries Aren’t Authorized To Certify Document Translations

There are 2 reasons why Notaries cannot certify translations. No U.S. state authorizes Notaries to certify translations as an official act. In addition, certifying a translation typically requires the translator to sign a declaration certifying that the translation is accurate, then have the signature notarized. If you as the Notary also were the translator, you would be notarizing your own signature.

If you are a qualified professional translator who also holds a Notary commission, remember that if you translate a document, you would need to find another Notary to notarize your signature on the translator’s declaration. Notarizing your own signature is a conflict of interest and is not allowed in any U.S. state or territory.

2.  You May Notarize Another Translator’s Signature 

However, if another translator writes and signs a translator’s declaration attesting that a translation is accurate, you may notarize the translator’s signature on the statement if asked to do so.

Be sure to follow all required steps for the requested notarization under your state’s law. For example, in Texas the accuracy of a translated real or personal property document must be sworn before a Notary or other officer authorized to administer oaths in order to be recorded (Property Code 11.002). In this case, a Texas Notary would need to perform a jurat, not an acknowledgment. California Notaries who are asked to perform a jurat for a translator’s declaration must ask the translator for satisfactory proof of identity and administer an oath or affirmation to the translator.

3. Be Careful If You Are Asked To Translate Information On Immigration Forms

Notaries must be very careful if a customer asks you to translate their answers to questions on official immigration forms. In some states, such as Nevada and Utah, this type of translation may only be performed by registered immigration document service providers. Oregon prohibits acting as an immigration services provider at all unless the provider is a member of the Oregon State Bar. In California, you must be registered and bonded as an immigration consultant. Always be sure to follow your state’s laws regarding any translation requests related to immigration documents.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

2 Comments

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me no

30 Sep 2019

no comment, form just popped up when I tried to view article

National Notary Association

30 Sep 2019

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