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Is it acceptable for a translator who is a notary public to notarize his/her own translation?
Thread poster: Chris Bruton

Chris Bruton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:35
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
Aug 8, 2007

Is it acceptable for a translator who is a notary public to notarize his/her own translation?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-08-08 18:24]


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Mutarjim97
United States
Local time: 12:35
French to Arabic
+ ...
Conflict of Interest: Certification vs. notarization Aug 8, 2007

I don't think so. It is obvious conflict of interest to affix your seal and notarization note on your own products. To guarantee impartiality, there must be a third party to do that. However you certainly can certify your translation by including a statement, generally under oath, attesting to the accuracy of the translation.
Thanks


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:35
German to English
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Depends on the legal situation in the country Aug 8, 2007

In Germany, official translations (birth/death certificates, documents for use in court etc.) are carried out and certified by the same person.
If the translator is a court-approved translator, then he/she does not need a second person to place a stamp on the document.

In very rare cases, an apostille is required (i.e. a notary certifies that the translator has signed the translation in person, the approving court certifies that the translator is on the list of court translators, and the embassy of the foreign country the translation is meant for then certifies that the court is entitled to confirm this).

As for the ethics, are you suggesting that a notary in your country actually CHECKS THE ACCURACY of the translation? Or is there some other worry about the status of notaries in your country?


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The Misha
Local time: 12:35
Russian to English
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There is no ethical issue here Aug 8, 2007

I agree with Mr. Dewsbury, it depends on the particular documentary procedures adopted in your jurisdiction. There is no ethical conflict here.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:35
English to Spanish
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Improper Aug 8, 2007

I would suspect it would be improper, since being a notary public has nothing whatsoever to do with translation. Furthermore, it involves one person verfiying the identity of another person. The rules governing your notary commission would surely state whether or not you can stand alone when you are the party. I would think not.

But I have seen it done, along with a lot of other things that notary publics have done, including bilking Latin American immigrants who believe notaries to be persons of great authority as they are in Latin America. Just the other day I was explaining to a couple of Mexicans who were incredulous when I told them that a "notary" here was an expert on nothing more than simply witnessing a signature.

In fact, in my state of Texas it is illegal for a notary to use the words "Notario Público" in Spanish because it is deceptive.

And before notarizing your own documents it would be good to do some research to find out if it is legal; it is probably not.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:35
English to Portuguese
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A matter of logic Aug 8, 2007

Before ethics are considered, it's utterly illogical (to notarize one's own sworn translation).

When you sign a sworn translation, what it implies is that "I, John Doe, duly qualified in languages A and B, read a document in language A, and here's what I understood of what it means in language B."

When you notarize a document you signed yourself, it implies that "John Doe, undersigned, hereby states that the signature above (or beside) was made by John Doe", which is a thoroughbred oxymoron: Either none or both are forged.

As many colleagues said, it depends on where the document will be submitted.

For instance, in Brazil - where I am a sworn EN-PT translator (more general info on this at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/tpicen.html ), sworn translators' signatures don't require any notarization. And I really hope that no foreign country requires it (other than consular legalization), as this notarization would be in Portuguese, therefore calling for yet another sworn translation, its translator's signature notarization... ad infinitum.


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:35
English to Russian
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conflict of interest Aug 8, 2007

As far as i know it's a definite conflict of interest in Canada. As a translator, you probably can certify your work - if you are duly educated, accredited, sworn etc. (and in many cases no notarization required then), but a notary here is not allowed to do both translation an notarization.
Same as you, as a translator, shall not provide certified translation of your own documents or documents of your family members -it won't be recognized.

Mounaim Elkhezzani wrote:

I don't think so. It is obvious conflict of interest to affix your seal and notarization note on your own products. To guarantee impartiality, there must be a third party to do that. However you certainly can certify your translation by including a statement, generally under oath, attesting to the accuracy of the translation.
Thanks


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
Member (2008)
Russian to English
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Check your jurisdiction Aug 9, 2007

In every American jurisdiction that I know of, a Notary Public may not notarize his/her own signature. That in itself would prevent him/her from notarizing a document he/she is signing.

In Virginia (where I am a Notary Public), it is prohibited for a Notary Public who is not also an attorney to notarize any document he/she had any hand in preparing. (There are some exceptions for signing agents and you are permitted to point out "This space is blank. Fill it in." But basically, it's hands off.) So if I'm asked to review someone's translation, I may not notarize a statement that the translation is accurate.

None of this, however, prevents you from signing a statement of accuracy without notarization.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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No, a witness is always seperate Aug 9, 2007

Chris Bruton wrote:
Is it acceptable for a translator who is a notary public to notarize his/her own translation?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notary_public#United_States
In the United States a notary public is a person appointed by a state government ... to serve the public as an impartial witness.

When you had training as a notary public, what did they teach you is the function of a notary public? To be an impartial witness, or to certify authenticity?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Depends on country Aug 9, 2007

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
When you sign a sworn translation, what it implies is that "I, John Doe, duly qualified in languages A and B, read a document in language A, and here's what I understood of what it means in language B."


Depends on the country. In ZA, a sworn translator is not permitted to sign the translation of another translator -- he may only sign his own translation.

Even so, why do you believe it is illogical for someone to swear an oath about he did himself?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:35
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What's the use of doing it twice? Aug 9, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:
José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
When you sign a sworn translation, what it implies is that "I, John Doe, duly qualified in languages A and B, read a document in language A, and here's what I understood of what it means in language B."

Depends on the country. In ZA, a sworn translator is not permitted to sign the translation of another translator -- he may only sign his own translation.
Even so, why do you believe it is illogical for someone to swear an oath about he did himself?


In Brazil, the sworn translator's work is explicitly defined in the pertinent specific law as "personal and not assignable".

So the sworn translator translates, and ends with something to the effect of "In witness of having done my best to accurately express the contents of the original document in another language, I sign below."

Great! Then the translator changes hats to wear the notary public one. In this other role, all that will be left for the translator-notary to say is: "In witness of myself having personally signed above, I sign below."

This is where I see the logic failing. The translator had already signed to say he had done it himself. What's the use of his second signature as a notary to say it again?


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