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 Notary Tips
 Do NOT notarize if you don't speak their language
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PWinFL

Florida
469 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2010 :  11:18:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit PWinFL's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DianaNotary

Letís just be honest here, have you ever met a person who lives in USA and doesnít understand and speak basic English? As basic as answering your questions regarding what is being notarized? What is your name? what date is today? Can you give me your ID or passport? Etc.

I personally never met anyone that could not speak English at all.


Maybe you haven't, but I have on a few occasions, met with a signer who does not understand English and doesn't speak it either. Fortunately in Florida, we are allowed to use translators we trust if we don't understand nor speak the language of the signer.


Never drive any faster than your guardian angel can fly.

I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida,
and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.


Visit us online at http://www.PAWnotary.com
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DianaNotary

California
171 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2010 :  10:07:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit DianaNotary's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Lisa, I would never violate the law and blindly notarize signatures of the people who have no clue what they are signingÖ.
Letís just be honest here, have you ever met a person who lives in USA and doesnít understand and speak basic English? As basic as answering your questions regarding what is being notarized? What is your name? what date is today? Can you give me your ID or passport? Etc.
I personally never met anyone that could not speak English at all. Besides, Iíve never said a word about translator. You get the point.

Good Luck!


http://www.DianaNotary.com
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Lisa T.

California
391 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2010 :  7:06:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lisa T.'s Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DianaNotary

The California handbook though allows notaries to notarize foreign documents. My point is- as long as the person who signs the documents understands what he/she signs and presents proper identification, itís fine to proceed with the signing.

http://www.DianaNotary.com



The CA handbook is clear - and permits notarizing signatures on documents written in a foreign language....that has nothing whatsoever to do with the spoken dialogue between the customer and the Notary. If you cannot communicate directly with the customer, how would you know he/she understands what they're signing? It is NOT fine to proceed with the signing. And if you're allowing the customer's relative/friend to be present and translate, you are violating the CA handbook rule - it will one day come back to bite you.
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DianaNotary

California
171 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2010 :  2:57:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit DianaNotary's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The California handbook though allows notaries to notarize foreign documents. My point is- as long as the person who signs the documents understands what he/she signs and presents proper identification, itís fine to proceed with the signing.

http://www.DianaNotary.com
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Lisa T.

California
391 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2010 :  6:08:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lisa T.'s Homepage  Reply with Quote
To DianaNotary: The CA handbook does not make reference to the documents at all when addressing notarizing a signature for a customer who cannot directly communicate with the Notary. Therefore, if the Notary cannot communicate directly with the customer, he/she should not notarize the customer's signature on ANY document, regardless of the type of document, period.
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DianaNotary

California
171 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2010 :  1:53:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit DianaNotary's Homepage  Reply with Quote
As far as general notary work is concerned (in California), I would say itís O.K. to notarize signatures of the people who do not speak English- it is important though to make sure that the signer understand what he/she is signing and get proper identification from him/her.
When it comes to loan signings, I believe itís a different story. First of all, loan documents could be quite complex and a loan signing agent/notary would have to explain certain terms. (Thatís why most of us get the loan signing certification in the first place). Bottom line- the notary has enough stress to deal with during signing and not being able to communicate properly with the signer is not a good business.



http://www.DianaNotary.com
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lightk

Alabama
108 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2010 :  06:24:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit lightk's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I didn't realize that this was not uniform across the country.

Ok, in Alabama do NOT notarize if you cannot have direct communication with the signers.

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Lisa T.

California
391 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2010 :  2:47:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Lisa T.'s Homepage  Reply with Quote
I had a situation where the borrower spoke Burmese and barely any English - only enough to say hello and ask how we were. Nothing beyond that. Couldn't find a Burmese speaking Notary. The paperwork was loan paperwork for personal property, not real property. I asked the hiring party if they would allow two witnesses in lieu of me notarizing - as we do for Wills in California. That way, the daughter could translate. The hiring party approved the request and I asked a friend who is also a Notary to come with me. She gladly came with me and we signed only as witnesses - no title after the names other than witness #1 and witness #2. Everything worked out just fine.

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jbelmont

California
2991 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2010 :  01:17:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbelmont's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm going to have to remember that this issue is state specific. The various states have completely different ways of dealing with so many issues.

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Angela V

California
37 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2010 :  7:01:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Angela V's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You are absolutely correct for California law;
"a notary public must be able to communicate with their customer..."
"An interpreter should not be used, as vital information could be lost in translation."
"If a notary public is unable to communicate with a customer, the customer should be referred to a notary public who speaks the customer's language."

We are, however, allowed to notarize a signature on a document in a foreign language with which we are not familiar, since our function only relates to the signature and not the contents of the document.

If you are in California, you did the right thing. I would have also let them know it was not legal and I could lose my license.

Angela V
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Lee-AR

Arkansas
615 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2010 :  10:24:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Unfortunately, Alabama doesn't have much, if anything, to say on this subject, so I believe the OP was erring (if, indeed it was an error) on the side of caution. Hard to argue with that. What works in FL may or may not work everywhere.

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PWinFL

Florida
469 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2010 :  10:29:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit PWinFL's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In Florida, it is recommended that the document be translated if the notary does not speak the same language as the signer.
quote:
[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. F.S. §117.107(6).
quote:
For a person who does not speak English
§117.107(6), Fla. Stat.

- The nature and effect of the document must be translated into a language that the person does understand. The law does not specify that a written translation is required; therefore, an oral translation is sufficient.

- You may wish to add a statement in your notarial certificate that you have complied with this requirement of the law: "I further certify that the nature and effect of the document was translated for (name of signer) by (name of translator) prior to notarization."

- You may also want the translator to sign the document and your journal.


The above two quotes are from the Florida Governor's Reference Manual for Notaries (2001), pg 19 & pg 37




Never drive any faster than your guardian angel can fly.

I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida,
and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.


Visit us online at http://www.PAWnotary.com
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FlaNotary

Florida
59 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2010 :  10:24:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit FlaNotary's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Not true in Florida.

There is nothing prohibiting us from notarizing the signature of a person who does not speak English, as long as the following requirements are met:

quote:

(taken from p. 37, Governor's Ref. Manual for Notaries, 2001 ed.)

For a person who does not speak English
ß117.107(6), Fla. Stat.
  • The nature and effect of the document must be translated into a language that the person does understand. The law does not specify that a written translation is required; therefore, an oral translation is sufficient.

  • You may wish to add a statement in your notarial certificate that you have complied with this requirement of the law: "I further certify that the nature and effect of the document was translated for (name of signer) by (name of translator) prior to notarization."

  • You may also want the translator to sign the document and your journal.




Robert T. Koehler
Notary Public of the State of Florida
State-Approved Official Notary Educator

Commissioner of Deeds in the Bahamas and New Hampshire
Certified Loan Signing Agent
AAWO-Accredited Wedding Officiant

Weddings: www.NotaryWeddings.com
Classes: www.NotaryAcademy.org


Nothing in the foregoing post is to be construed as legal advice. I am not an
attorney licensed to practice law in any state and can not give legal advice or
accept fees for legal advice.
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lightk

Alabama
108 Posts

Posted - 10/05/2010 :  10:06:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit lightk's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If you cannot have direct communication with the borrower, do NOT witness/notarize signatures!!

I double checked with NSA and even with a translator available you cannot be 100% sure the borrowers are understanding what is being signed.

I recently turned down a signing once I discovered the borrowers spoke no English at all. The Loan Officer and her boss basically informed me that it would be spread around that I was difficult to work with and didn't deserve future work. They had plenty of notaries that could handle the job.

Even though this was quite upsetting to me, I didn't sway. I stayed polite during every conversation but kept my stance.

Other notaries need to stand up, take their commissions seriously and NOT break the law. If we all don't set a unified front, we'll never get anywhere.

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