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Must Speak English to Be a Notary Public

English requirement

 

Many people search for education courses or notary materials that are in languages other than English; they are hard to find since understanding English is a requirement of becoming a notary public in Florida. Pursuant to law 117.01(1), “an applicant must be able to read, write, and understand the English language.” Therefore, you will find all notary material in English. Just because English is a requirement does not mean the use of other languages in your notary business is not allowed. Bilingual notaries are encouraged and extremely helpful, especially those who can speak Spanish for the heavy Spanish- speaking areas of Florida. Remember, first and foremost, your duties as a notary. As a notary public, you must be careful how you advertise yourself and your services. Literal translations of “notary public” are not allowed—in any language. You should exercise great caution with Spanish translations. The use of “notario publico” is forbidden in advertising, for in many Spanish-speaking countries this refers to an attorney or a high-level authority figure who is also a notary. In the past, some notaries have used this to their advantaged and scammed people. To help clear up confusion, it is now Florida law that when a notary advertises in a language other than English, they must include this message in both English and the advertising language: “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Florida, and I may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.” According to the law, this must be in noticeable writing—we suggest you have it in one size larger than the rest of the text. Remember, a notary public who misleads or uses false advertising messages, can have their license suspended and can be charged under advertising law.