How to Get Notarizations Done if You Don’t Speak English

Posted on: December 23rd, 2020 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

In a country as multicultural and diverse as Canada, many people residing in Canada speak English and as a second language. Some of these individuals may understand English, but have difficulty communicating their thoughts in English themselves. This can create a serious barrier to receiving notarial services when the notary public in question and the prospective client cannot communicate.

Pursuant to the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer (all the notaries public on Downtown Notary’s roster are licensed and insured lawyers in Ontario), has an obligation to ascertain that their client has the capacity to provide instructions. This proves impossible where the notary public and their client cannot communicate in the same language.

It is not sufficient for a client to bring along a friend or family member to interpret for them for several reasons. Firstly, it is impossible to ascertain the quality of the interpretation when the friend or family member volunteers to casually interpret in a serious setting, such as when legal services are being sought. Secondly, while an accredited interpreter has the requisite training and credentials, and is conflict free as they have no personal interest in the matter at hand, a family member or friend could, either purposely or innocently,

In order to ensure that a client who prefers to speak in a language other than English can obtain notarization services, there are two options:

  1. The prospective client retains the services of a Notary Public that can communicate competently and directly with the prospective client in the prospective client’s language of choice;


  2. The prospective client retains the services of an accredited interpreter who can provide interpretation, in -person or by phone, during the notarization appointment.  Accredited interpreters in Ontario are listed on the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario’s (“ATIO”) website, and can also be retained via local multicultural councils. A list of multicultural councils operating in Ontario can be found on the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (“OCASI) website.

Downtown Notary is pleased to have a number of notaries public as part of the Downtown Notary roster who can communicate with client and notarize documents in a variety of languages, including Spanish, Farsi, French and Mandarin Chinese.

We offer a one-stop shop for clients with personal matters and business in a variety of countries by providing official document translations in Spanish and French, certified translations, notarized translations, notarizations, authentication, legalization and drafting of documents required by embassies and consulates, such as affidavits.

To book an appointment with a notary public who can assist you in the language of your choice, go the Downtown Notary website at and click on Book An Appointment.

This blog post was prepared by Suzanne E. Deliscar, Lawyer-Linguist, Downtown Notary Guelph and Brampton. This blog post has also been cross-posted on the Intersecting Law and Languages Blog which can be found at

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