Notary Public – Translate now or translate later?

Legal dealings in countries where English is not the legal language can be challenging, especially if you need to sign documents that are not in English or if you need to provide them with documents that are not in their legal language. What do you do?

Translating documents

The simple answer is translate. You can translate documents to and from English, if you prefer to read and write in English. You can arrange for your own translation otherwise we can assist you with translation through our panel of NAATI accredited translators.

Do you translate before notarisation or after notarisation?

We can notarise documents before or after they have been translated. Generally, we recommend translation before notarisation. Our notary public services and authentication/apostille services provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are provided in English. Accordingly, if your document is translated from English into a foreign language it will still be followed by further documents written in English. However, if your English documents have been notarised in English and stamped with an authentication or apostille in English, then presumably the entire document can be translated from English into the legal language of the intended destination country. This method means the translation is simply intended for understanding purposes only and do not form part of the legal document that has been notarised, authenticated/apostille or even legalised (if necessary).

Some countries or foreign consulates will require a translation and so it is important to check at all times. If necessary, we can notarise documents after they have been translated – either as verifying the translation through the translator, or witnessing your signature on the document irrespective of the language in which the document is written.

Is translation into a foreign language necessary?

Depends. If your document is in English but English is not the legal language in the country that you are sending your document, then it should be translated to ensure that whoever needs to use your document can understand it and that it is in the legal language of the country to be accepted and recognised. In most cases, we recommend having your document translated in the intended destination country according to the regulation or requirements of that country with respect to legally accepted translations. NAATI accreditation is an Australian accreditation for translators who are qualified to provide translations for documents intended to be used in Australia. NAATI accreditation is not necessarily recognised in other countries – in the same way that foreign translation accreditation will not be recognised in Australia.

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Do you have any questions regarding this article?

If you have never had to have a document notarised before, you may find our role as a notary public, the notary public services that we provide, and this whole process (especially authentication, legalisation and apostille) to be confusing and daunting. Do not worry! We are here to try to simplify it, make it easy for you to understand, and to guide you or assist you with achieving your desired goal.

Please contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information regarding this article or our notary public services.

Click here to see the flowchart that we created to help you understand the process regarding notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.

So, what next?

If you are now ready to proceed with having your document notarised, please visit our Notary Fees page for a FREE quote on our notary public services or just call us on 02 9687 8885 and speak to our friendly staff about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We are a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our low-cost fixed fee notary services, our availability to provide notary public services on short notice, and our focus on personal and timely notary public services. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, our notary public assists clients from across all suburbs of Sydney and beyond.

Ern Phang, Notary Public


Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, an incorporated legal practice in Parramatta and a leading provider of notary public services to clients across Sydney. Extensive experience and low-cost fixed prices ensures quality services and satisfied clients.

is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.

All information contained in this article is for general purposes only and correct as at the time of publication. You should only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.

Posted: 2017-05-22 08:30:55 / Last edited: 2018-05-26 15:09:10