According to current legislation, all notarial deeds in our country should be drawn up only in Polish. For obvious reasons, this creates quite a problem in the event that a foreigner without knowledge of our language comes to sign notarial deeds. Then the presence of a sworn translator at the Notarial Office becomes a necessity. Why is this so important and what, in fact, is the work of such a specialist in such a situation?
Why is there an increasing demand for a certified translator to participate in notarial activities?
The number of foreigners who temporarily or permanently move to Poland is growing every year (it is enough to look, for example, at the events related to the mass influx of Ukrainian residents to our country). These people, especially with a longer or permanent stay, which is of course completely understandable, seek to stabilize their lives in the new place. They run their own businesses here, rent or buy real estate, thereby participating in the country’s legal trade.
In such situations, the use of services provided by Notarial Offices becomes a necessity. These issues are settled by the regulations mentioned in the introduction, including the Law of February 14, 1991 – the Law on Notary Publics [Dz.U. 1991 No. 22 item 91]. According to Article 2 § 3 of the same, “Notarial deeds shall be performed in Polish. At the request of a party, the notary may additionally perform this action in a foreign language, demonstrating his/her own knowledge of the foreign language (…) or using the assistance of a sworn translator.” Since, in such cases, the notary should have language skills and powers certified at the level represented by sworn translators of the foreign language in question, it is most often a sworn translator, included in the list of sworn translators maintained by the Minister of Justice, who is put in charge of notarial actions.
Why is the participation of a sworn translator in notarial activities necessary?
The appearance of a sworn translator at a Notarial Office is actually due to two, extremely important, issues. The first, of course, is the need to comply with the requirements of Polish law to ensure that the notarial deed remains valid and effective for each of the parties appearing in the notarial deed.
The second “problem” that the participation of a sworn interpreter in a notarial act solves is the fact that a foreigner must understand absolutely every aspect regarding the drawing up of the notarial act. In other words – he/she must be able to actively, fully participate in the activity in question. Hence, the presence of a sworn translator should not be limited to a dry translation of the content of the drafted document itself (translated a ‘ Vista by the translator) and read out in Polish by the notary. In order to preserve the security of legal transactions, it is necessary to ensure that a person who does not communicate in Polish knows exactly what he or she will be signing and with what subsequent consequences the notarial deed will entail.
The sworn translator should then take great care to verify in a language familiar to the foreigner that he/she, as a party to the action, is fully aware of the legal steps being taken. In the case of notarial actions related, for example, to the purchase of real estate by a foreigner, there are many legal expressions in the notarial deed, which may be difficult to understand by a Pole and even more so by the client (who has never dealt with such issues in his country). Hence, the sworn translator should take care not only to translate the content of the notarial deed correctly, but also to be sure that the client to whom he translates the notarial deed understands their meaning (definitions) in the legal context and the consequences they entail .
Sworn translator at the Notarial Office and potential legal consequences
Every sworn translator is concerned to present as accurately as possible to a foreigner who is a party to a notarial deed the legitimacy of the act he or she is facing (along with the necessary explanation of the details of the case).
Otherwise, there is the possibility of challenging the effectiveness and validity of the notarial deed, if only under the guise of an erroneous or incomplete interpretation of the content by a certified translator. This, in turn, raises the risk of declaring the notarial deed invalid. Of equal importance is the translator him/herself. If his/her errors in the translation’s claims are recognized, he/she even faces imprisonment (up to 10 years).
Therefore, choosing a sworn translator (his/her presence should be taken care of by the interested party, since the notary does not have the authority to summon such a specialist, although perhaps asked by the client he/she can recommend a translator with whom he/she works) and who will then appear at the Notarial office. With the above in mind, it is advisable to opt for a person with extensive experience. It may also happen that it is the notary himself who recommends a particular sworn translator with whom he/she has worked before and knows that he is the person who is fully responsible for the client’s understanding of the content of the document under which the client is signing and for the consequences that follow.