The Legal Café, in Fort Worth, Offers Notarization Services
There are many situations where you might need to have a document notarized. Maybe you’re executing a will, buying or selling real estate, setting up a new business, applying for a child’s passport, or securing a loan. A notary public verifies the identity and signature of the person signing a document.
As our culture becomes both more mobile and more global, many documents being signed are in foreign languages. Can a notary put their seal on a foreign language document, particularly when the notary cannot speak or read the language of the document? The answer is yes, but there are certain requirements and suggestions.
What Are the Requirements for Notarizing a Foreign Language Document?
In Texas, there is no requirement that the notary understand the contents of the document they’re notarizing or even that they speak the language in which the document is written. The notary’s job is not to verify the subject matter or contents of the notarized document but to verify the identity of the party signing the document and to acknowledge their signature.
When a notary affixes a seal to a document, a notarial certificate is prepared. When a foreign-language document is notarized in Texas, the certificate must be in English. The notarization is not valid if the certificate is in another language.
If the notary cannot speak the language of the person signing the document, and if the signer does not speak English, then the notary may wish to have a translator present. In some states, a translator is required in such situations. In Texas, there is no general legal requirement that a notary have a translator present in order to notarize a document in a foreign language. However, if the document being notarized is one that will be recorded in the Texas public records, a translator may be necessary. Under Texas law, all recorded documents must contain a certificate of acknowledgment, and the certificate must include a statement that the signer expressed to the notary that they executed the instrument “for the purposes and consideration expressed in it.” A translator may be necessary in order for the notary to know that the person signing the document understands its contents and is signing it willingly.
Come to The Legal Café
Stop by the Café at 114 Main Street in downtown Fort Worth, have a cup of coffee, and find out more about us.