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Can I use an interpreter to administer an oath?

Can a Virginia Notary administer an oath or affirmation to a signer who does not speak the same language as the Notary? Could a translator be used during the oath or affirmation? — C.W., Virginia

Virginia law does not address using interpreters. However, it is not a professional practice to do so. 

Guiding Principle III-C-4 of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility states, “The Notary shall not perform a notarial act if the principal or witness identifying the principal, if any, cannot directly communicate with the Notary in the same language, regardless of the presence of a third-party interpreter or translator, unless authorized by law.”

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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Jamie Liggins

02 Mar 2022

I agree that it is not professional practice to use an interpreter. Being that I am fluent in American Sign Language and the law allows for a deaf person to have an Interpreter, I believe one should have direct communication with his signer. With a deaf person, communication in written form is recommended; if one does not know ASL or their Sign Language I.e. French Sign (FSL)or Spanish Sign Language(LSM),etc

Linda Wagner

08 Mar 2022

Thank you. I work at a school where we have deaf students and interpreters, but had wondered about notarizing for them. I know sign but am not fluent but trust the interpreters. This helped.

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