Notary Bulletin

How Do I ... Notarize For Signer I Cannot Communicate With?

A vital element of a sound notarization is the ability for the Notary to communicate directly with a signer to verify identity, willingness and awareness, or to recite an oath or affirmation, among other things. If direct communication with the signer is not possible due to a language barrier or some other circumstance, the notarization must be refused.

You can, however, refer the signer to a Notary who speaks the appropriate language. Sometimes foreign consulates, which normally have officers with notarial powers on staff, may be a convenient solution for the foreign language-speaking signer.

Additionally, Notaries should never rely on an intermediary or interpreter in performing a notarial act. Besides the possibility of misunderstanding, a dishonest interpreter may have a motive for misrepresenting the facts.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

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