[yin yang]


Terms of Use


Notarial Practice

Authentication of the Notarial Act

When a Notary will Decline to Intervene

Copies of Academic and Educational Credentials

Foreign Language Documents

International Wills

What is a Notary Public?

The Origin of The Notary's Seal


About Me

David Thomas Banner

3, Sussex Terrace, Hawthorn, South Australia 5062
Telephone: 0435 588 775
(International: + 61 435 588 775)


Notaries are often asked to intervene in relation to documents from a foreign jurisdiction which are written in a foreign language. Such documents present particular challenges unless the notary is conversant with the relevant foreign law and able to read and understand the relevant foreign language. Further challenges arise if the appearer is fluent in the relevant foreign language, but not in English.

The notary must carefully observe the following principles:
Therefore, it will be important for the appearer to produce to the notary detailed written instructions from the foreign jurisdiction, so the notary may know precisely what is required.

The notary will also usually require that the document be translated by a translator who is competent to translate a document of the type concerned. This means competent not only to translate the language, but also to translate the legal or other technical terminology so that the legal or other effect of the language is made clear. The translator will be required to swear to the accuracy of the translation.

Dual language documents from a foreign jurisdiction (foreign language and English, usually in columns side by side) are sometimes presented for notarial intervention. In such documents, the foreign language version is considered the definitive version and a signatory will be taken to have signed the foreign language version and not the English version. Therefore, if the English version is later found to be an inaccurate translation, the signatory may have no recourse. An appearer with a dual language document should therefore consider seriously whether the document should be checked by a competent professional translator before it is signed.

Notaries are sometimes asked to sign and seal pro forma notarial certificates which have been drafted in foreign jurisdictions and provided with the intention of assisting in the process of notarial certification. A notary will never complete, or sign, or seal a form of notarial certificate written in a language which he/she cannot understand, even if it is accompanied by a purported English translation.