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?

Whether you're notarising a document for the first time or the hundreth time, the requirements, processes, and terms can be confusing and daunting - or just a pain and a hassle (especially if you need an apostille, or to authenticate or legalise as well). Don't worry! We're here to simplify it, explain it, and help you with what you need to achieve it.

Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our notary public services. We've also created a flowchart to help explain notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.

So, what's next?

Visit our Notary Fees page for a free quote for our notary public services or just call us on +61 2 9687 8885 to speak with our friendly team about your requirements.

Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?

We're a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, we help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.

Ern Phang, Notary Public
Ern Phang
Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.

Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.

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