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Can I use an interpreter to administer an oath?

Can a Virginia Notary administer an oath or affirmation to a signer who does not speak the same language as the Notary? Could a translator be used during the oath or affirmation? — C.W., Virginia

Virginia law does not address using interpreters. However, it is not a professional practice to do so. 

Guiding Principle III-C-4 of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility states, “The Notary shall not perform a notarial act if the principal or witness identifying the principal, if any, cannot directly communicate with the Notary in the same language, regardless of the presence of a third-party interpreter or translator, unless authorized by law.”

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

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Add your comment

Jamie Liggins

02 Mar 2022

I agree that it is not professional practice to use an interpreter. Being that I am fluent in American Sign Language and the law allows for a deaf person to have an Interpreter, I believe one should have direct communication with his signer. With a deaf person, communication in written form is recommended; if one does not know ASL or their Sign Language I.e. French Sign (FSL)or Spanish Sign Language(LSM),etc


07 Mar 2022

It would be nice to know the appropriate response for all states, What about TEXAS?

National Notary Association

22 Apr 2022

The State of Texas does not have a law or regulation regarding Notaries Public using translators. As a best practice it is best not to use an interpreter during a notarization.

Linda Wagner

08 Mar 2022

Thank you. I work at a school where we have deaf students and interpreters, but had wondered about notarizing for them. I know sign but am not fluent but trust the interpreters. This helped.

23 Sep 2022

How about in Florida? There is a form/affidavit where the interpreter must swear to having knowledge in both languages to serve as interpreter for a notarization.

National Notary Association

26 Sep 2022

“A notary public may not take the acknowledgment of a person who does not speak or understand the English language, unless the nature and effect of the instrument to be notarized is translated into a language which the person does understand” (FS 117.107[6]).


20 Dec 2022

You constantly address "signing" but never just giving an oath for testimony. In Virginia, it is common practice to swear an interpreter in to translate accurately whatever the languages are and then you swear the witness in through the interpreter. This is done in court. Court reporters are sworn in by clerks of the court to transcribe accurately to the best of their ability. When are you going to start covering such topics other than signings?

National Notary Association

21 Dec 2022

Hello. You can find more information on administering verbal oaths and affirmations here: This article has information on swearing in a witness for a deposition:

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