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August 17, 2013

A California Notary Acknowledgment Goes to Taiwan!

A California Notary was asked to notarize a document from Taiwan. The document didn’t have California Notary Acknowledgment Wording or California Notary Acknowledgment Verbiage. So, the notary said, “No problem, I’ll just add a California Acknowledgment Certificate”. That was easy. The notary followed legal procedure for California notarizations. The document was sent to its custodian in Taiwan who rejected the document. The message was that the stamp needs to be on the document.

So, the California Notary Public informed his client that he cannot legally stamp the document without the corresponding Notary Verbiage which must be California Acknowledgment Verbiage or California Acknowledgment Wording. The client said, “Is it really necessary? People do this all the time!” The notary stated that the law was the law and that he wasn’t going to break it for another person’s convenience or why bother having notaries at all?

So, the California Notary emailed the Acknowledgment boiler plate wording template to his client who emailed it to his contact in Taiwan. The document came back with the wording at the bottom of the page. The notary notarized it, and all was well!

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July 26, 2019

My best teaching experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:56 am

For those of you who do not know, before I ran 123notary, I had a history. No, not that kind of a history. Oh? That’s not what you were thinking? Well, then what were you thinking? Okay, in any case, I majored in Chinese in college as I had always had a strong urge to learn languages. In High School, I studied classical music a lot because my parents had many connections with music teachers, music schools, etc., and insisted upon it. When I got out of school, I found that there were no jobs that would involve Chinese unless I moved to China or Los Angeles, so I moved to Los Angeles from Boston which was quite a cultural adjustment.

Everyone and everything I knew from back home was no longer there. Even cultural things I took for granted like sarcasm didn’t exist over here. There were no more big Irish guys named Sully who whistled loudly when they wanted somebody’s attention (or said HEY really loudly.) I was surrounded by a California culture where people didn’t care about much of anything. And then there was a pervading gang culture near where I was living with Mexican gangs, gang guys, gang girls, bandanas, tattoos, low-riders, and Chinese kids who knew nothing except this type of environment. Sometimes the gangs would give people lectures right outside my window on the driveway. I remember hearing, “You gotta lot to learn esse! This barrio forgives nothing vato!” Okay, I’m mixing reality with Cheech and Chong, but you get the point.

I tried to get a job doing import export, but with few available jobs and no experience my search was a failure. Seattle and Shanghai had more jobs for people with my skill set, but I had family & friend (only 1 friend) here and was terrified of being alone in some other city. So, I started doing landscape maintenance, something I had done as a child. I realized I only knew how to do easy things and had little or no skill at doing harder landscaping tasks which got me in a little trouble. After that I started tutoring English again. That was something I had done while I was in Taiwan a few years earlier.

Tutoring was rough because people would cancel at the last minute, and the adults were not serious about learning. But, the children were good and proved to be reliable clients since their parents forced education on them (just like my parents forced music lessons on me which helped my life a lot.) After a while, my aunt pressured me to get a teaching credential and be a sub. I worked teaching kids and ESL adult school, and in all different parts of the county. I would drive to Fontana, South Los Angeles, East LA, El Monte, and more. And then it happened. What happened?

I was asked to teach a 10 week summer night school class in downtown Los Angeles. I couldn’t believe they assigned the class to me. Why me? I didn’t ask to teach it. I had very little experience at that district and in general with classroom teaching. I had done tutoring and small classes. Was it because it was a summer class? Were the other teachers on break? Was it because someone dropped out at the last minute? Speculation, speculation, and guess work. So, this class was every night for two and a half months. I got to the class the first day. There were about fifty people. I was overwhelmed. I had never taught a class that size. The room was huge too. It took three weeks to learn everybody’s name. Most of the people were from Mexico, but there were Salvadorians (or as I call them: Salvadortecos or Salvadorenos), Guatemalans (Guatemaltecos), two Koreans (Koreanos is how Mexicans say it), a South Indian, a Russian, and a few others. But, when you teach ESL in Los Angeles, it is generally 90% Latino.

I had learned a little Spanish and was going to learn more at work. Grammar was an issue, and my vocabulary was tiny. I speak Chinese well, but Spanish has always been a challenge even though it’s seven times easier to learn Spanish as an English speaker than it is to learn Chinese. So little by little I learned more Spanish words from my students which I needed for teaching. Because, when you teach a particular verb tense or topic, you need to make sure the slower students are on the same page with you so you don’t lose them.

So, I got to know the class better and better, and got more comfortable teaching them. The subject matter was my favorite: Beginner ESL (English as a second language). As time went on I noticed that there were more and more people in the class. I was disturbed. I didn’t know how these people would fit, and where they would sit. But, I got used to that. Then, I noticed that the population in my class kept growing like a cancer, little by little. I guess word got around that I was a good teacher, or perhaps there were no other options because there is a teacher shortage during the summer. By the end of the class I counted 120 people in my class. They loved me, I had most of their names down, and half the class valued me so much that they were willing to stand for two hours. I have never had an experience like this in my life and I think I should look back with price and gratitude. Because my other gigs of which there were over 100 (which were generally subbing less than a handful of times) were very disappointing and the classes did not love me.

Looking back, I would say that having your own class with a flexible student base is the best. That way new people who love me can join the class and I can accumulate a following of people who like my style.

Close to the end of the class, my birthday came. The students collected money for a huge cake. I was concerned that they were going to spend too much because (1) I like to keep it simple and (2) these were very poor people. After class was over on that day, they unveiled the cake. We had drinks, cake, music, and good conversation. It was somewhat hard to socialize with people who hardly speak English, but we managed. And then it was picture time. Two of the students put cake frosting all over my face and then took a photo of me. The posted a copy of it on the classroom wall so that we would have a happy memory. The principal came in a few days later and congratulated me on having a great class. But, I didn’t do anything special. I was just doing what I always do — I had just stumbled upon really really good luck!

So, that concludes my little spiel about my test beaching experience which incidentally was one of the best experiences of my life. I hope that I have some more amazing life experiences in the future.

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September 30, 2018

The Story of Jeremy & Mitch; 123notary & eMarketingAssociates

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 8:15 am

For those of you who don’t know, 123notary has a long history filled with twists and turns. The very early history happened when Jeremy (that’s me – owner of 123notary) had trouble with his web designers at some Chinese company in San Gabriel and needed to find someone new. So, I (Jeremy) called some other local web companies and found Mitch who ran eMarketingAssociates. Mitch had only four total people in his office including himself. They fixed up my programming on 123notary and have been helping me ever since.

1999: The day I first drove in.
I remember meeting him. This was back in 1999 or 2000. He was in his 40’s. A very handsome, kind and charismatic guy (still is.) I enjoyed talking to him. He has memories too and perhaps I should get him to share his early memories and add to this article with those memories.

I remember a talk with Mitch back in 2006 when he said that he remember the day he met me. The memory of paranoid me, driving into his parking lot with my beaten up 1984 Toyota Corolla stuck in his head forever. Of course, at the time of that conversation in 2006 I had a 2004 Toyota Corolla which looked new and nice. I was a mess in those days, and in many ways still am. It is hard to keep my life in order when I have more things to do than I can handle. Now in 2018, I still have that 2004 Toyota Corolla, but it is now somewhat beaten up and the paint is fading, and I am missing two hub caps which are soon to be replaced. Such is life. But, now I can afford a new car. I just prefer my old one.

Mitch’s Business Grew
Mitch’s office slowly grew and grew from four people to twelve. Mitch is smart and got an office in an industrial zone which is a lot cheaper than getting it in an office area. There is also a lot more parking as well. So, he kept moving his office around in the same complex as his business grew.

His Business Evolved Too
Mitch went from doing web design and web programming to focusing mainly on social media and he runs all of my campaigns. This was good for my social media, but I was never able to find programmers as good as the ones Mitch had for the rest of my career. It is ten years after the fact and I still cannot find good programming. This is partly due to a change in the market, but also due to the good people Mitch hired.

Having Fun
One day, I asked both of the programmers in 2008 to go out to dinner with me for fun. They declined, but Mitch reversed the offer and took me out. Since then, Mitch and I go out two or three times a year to fun spots in Los Angeles and surrounding areas for Thai, Chinese, American, Italian and other types of cuisine and drinks. In fact we are going for drinks at the intercontinental next week.

Good Luck
Over time, I began to think of Mitch as one of my three best good luck people. That sounds very Chinese, but I believe it. Mitch’s suggestions and things I do with Mitch regularly turn out to be very lucky in the long run. He got me doing social media, blogging, and we found some lucky feng-shui hang out spots that bring us good luck as well. I guess God punishes me sometimes, but also gives me people who point me in the right direction and my life would be ruined without those people.

Uncanny Things in Common
The strange thing is that Mitch and I have a lot of things in common that other people would not have. We both new many people from Israel when we were young. We both do business with a lot of people from India (I lived in India briefly before.) We both are entrepreneurs or small business owners. Additionally, I studied Chinese in college as my major and Mitch’s wife is from Taiwan. What a bunch of uncanny commonalities. I only have this much in common with a small bunch of others who I can count on one hand.

I am glad I met Mitch. My life would not have turned out the way it did had I not known Mitch. Of the people in my entire life, he is one of the six including parents, my piano teacher and a few others, who had a profound effect on my development and success.

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July 13, 2016

Are you a Yes-tary or No-tary?

It was a month or so ago. I was asking Notaries Notary questions about what you can and cannot do. Unfortunately, Notaries often don’t take Notary rules seriously or have just never been adequately trained. The “more, but not less rule” is no good unless you understand which direction the rule runs. The ID can have more than the document, but 40% of Notaries think that it is okay if the name to be notarized on the document has more meat on it than the name on the identification. Good God! My point here, is that the whole point of having a Notary is to verify people’s identity who signed documents. The Notary profession helps to deter and prevent fraud as a result. But, if Notaries do whatever, and don’t follow state rules, then the purpose of having a Notary is defeated or undermined.

To put it shortly, the entire point of a Notary is to say No. If you feel uncomfortable or awkward saying No, then you should not become a Notary. In many Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures it is considered bad manners to say no, so they say, maybe, or later, or perhaps next time, or make up some excuse for not saying yes. Since they can’t outright say no, they beat around the bush. But, as a Notary, you might be facilitating fraud by not saying no. So, get used to saying no. Stand in front of the mirror and say, “No…. NO…. NO!!!!” Do it the way Joey from Friends practices saying, “How you doin’?” in front of the mirror dozens of times mastering his facial expression and verbal inflections. Take pride in saying no. However, for those Notaries that don’t like saying no, worry not! There is a solution. Become a Yes-tary.

But, what do Yes-taries do? Yestaries say yes to illegal requests. Unfortunately they cannot be commissioned and don’t have a stamp. But, maybe they should have an unofficial Yestary Public stamp just to make their job more comedically offiicial. What would be the duties of a Yestary? If someone wants to be Notarized as Mickey Mouse but lacks sufficient ID, you say, YES. If someone claims to be Kim Jong Un and looks Korean enough to you, say yes and stamp his document. If a Taiwanese client wants you to stamp a loose piece of paper because their government requires such a Yestary act, you can do it as a Yestary, but not as a Notary. Because a Notary’s job is to say No!

But, what if they won’t pay your travel fee if you say no? It is actually illegal in many states for a Notary to notarize a document in which they have a beneficial or financial interest. I feel that if the Notary will not get paid a travel fee if they refuse to notarize, then they now do have a beneficial interest of a sort and would be willing to break the law so they would get paid. Get your travel fee up front before you see the signers or the documents or the identifications. That way if a signer isn’t there, or if the name on the ID is not matching, or some other problem, you can forfeit your Notary fee, but still get paid for your trip. Remember, your job is not to please the client, but to uphold the law even if that means hurting someone’s feelings by saying no. Hurting someone’s feelings is better than going to court as a result of facilitating fraud or having your commission revoked!

One last note, it has been reported that some Yestaries have gotten a rare intestinal disease from saying yes too much to illegal requests. Some call it an illness, I call it karmic retrobution. The disease is called “yesentery” and comes from ingesting unclean Notary requests. If you get this disease, just consult your doctor and take some prescribed antibiotics. Good luck!


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October 26, 2013

How to Notarize a Copy of a Passport

Notarize a copy of a passport

There is always some confusion about the legality of copying and notarizing official documents. You cannot notarize a birth certificate, marriage or death certificate. There is no official certification procedure for getting a certified copy of a passport. California notaries can make a certified copy of a power of attorney, but that is the only type of document that you can get a certified copy of. So, what type of notary act can you do to notarize that copy of your passport?

There is a notary act called a copy certfication by document custodian. This is basically a Jurat with some unique wording. It makes the sign swear under oath to the accuracy and completeness of the copy. It is common for students to have copies of transcripts notarized using this procedure. I used the copy certification by document custodian form regularly when I was a notary since it was the only way to accommodate requests for copies.

Many notaries do not carry the form for the certification by document custodian Jurat procedure, so if you need this done, figure out ahead of time whether or not the Notary has the forms that are acceptable to whomever you are submitting your document to as they are the boss in a sense.

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May 4, 2012

Notarizing your foreign language document!

Notarizing your Foreign Language Document

“The bank refused to notarize the document because it is written in Hungarian”, said the exasperated client to me. “No Problem” for was my reply. There is no requirement for the New York notary to be able to read the document, none whatsoever. Consider a 765 page document regarding the sale of a Supertanker – do you think the notary will read it prior to notarizing the signature on the last page? Well, if they are not going to read all pages of all documents – why would they want to be able to read some pages of some documents? I doubt if I will ever know.

There are some interesting considerations regarding languages involved in the notarization process. But none have anything to do with the actual document. The main language requirements in New York are related to the required oath given by the notary. The notary must be able to give the oath directly (no interpreter allowed) to the person whose signature will be notarized. The person signing must be able to read the document in order to swear/affirm that the document is truthful/correct. That is the relevant language consideration – the document could be in Braille or Latvian – it does not matter to me.

Part of some NYC notaries’ refusal to handle this situation is their employer’s desire to avoid the possibility of being involved in a lawsuit. Some Manhattan banks will not notarize a Power of Attorney, some refuse a Bill of Sale – the reasons are the same; avoiding being involved in
litigation. If the notary can’t read any of the document it “might” be a prohibited (by “bank” policy) – thus all “unreadable” documents are often refused. At that is never the case.

It is a “best practice” to prepare foreign language documents in both languages. Most times this is done by formatting the document into two columns with English on one side and the other language on the other. One advantage of doing this is that it allows the affiant to sign twice. The signature on the English side will be compared to their ID – the other language is not. Thus, it is the English signature that is being notarized – and most ID documents in this country have English signatures.

(1) No problem – there is no requirement for the notary to be able to read the document (written in Hungarian)
(2) The notary must be able to give an Oath w/direct communication w/affiant (no interpreter allowed)

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November 15, 2011

Where Can I find a Chinese Speaking Notary?

Where can I find a Chinese speaking notary public?

At, we receive all types of inquiries from many types of people all the time.  Where can I find Roger Smith, he is a notary in Louisiana?  He notarized a document for me a year ago, and now I can’t find him.  I refer the inquirer to the Louisiana notary division, since they have the addresses of all currently commissioned notaries in the state.  I also get a few people asking me where they can find a notary in India, or Thailand. I refer them to the embassy, or ask them to find an attorney in the country in question.  I give sensible advice, and steer people the right direction, but honestly, I don’t have a lot of information myself that is good for answering most of the questions I get.  The harder requests are requests that I would LIKE to be able to fulfill, but sometimes it’s hard. 
Where can I find a Chinese speaking notary? has many bilingual notaries. You can use the LANGUAGE FILTER on the top right of the search results page after you do a search by zip code. Many of our bilingual notaries are Chinese Speaking notaries, however, they are all spread out, and there are dialects too.  Someone who knows Min-Nan-Yu only might not be fluent in Hakka for example.  These are Southern dialects from Guang-Dong and Southern Fu-Jian by the way.  The more common dialects are Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taiwanese in American metros.  You might find many Cantonese speaking notaries in any big city, but we have relatively few advertising on our site.  You can do a search by zip code and then use the language filter on the upper right side of the page.  Try inputting the term Cantonese, and then try Chinese as a second search. See what happens.  I cannot guarantee results because people join our directory daily, and change their language information from time to time, and drop out from time to time as well. 
If you can’t find a Chinese speaking notary on 123notary…. then…
The document signer needs to speak the same language as the notary in California and many other states. As a practice, even if your state doesn’t require it, the signer should be able to communicate directly with the notary.  You could try the Chinese yellow pages, or ask around in your metro’s Chinatown. There will be plenty of Chinese speaking notaries, but they might not advertise much as their business might come from word of mouth or (peng-you tui-jian gao-su peng-you) as the case might be.
It is common for Chinese people who function mainly in Chinese to pick service providers who also speak their language.  However, this might not be a good idea.  If your English is “Good enough”, you might be better off with an English speaking notary who is really good at what they do, and who is familiar with commonly notarized affidavits and documents. Just my opinion. Choose the skill set before you choose the cultural affinity if you have a choice!

To find a Mandarin speaking notary, just look up Mandarin in the language filter on search results. To find a Taiwanese speaking notary, just look up Taiwanese in the language filter. To find a Cantonese speaking notary, just type the word Cantonese in the language filter in the upper right corner of the search result pages. Honestly, the word “Chinese” will give you much wider results than these dialect names, but in NYC or San Francisco, you might find the dialect of your choice!  “Zhu ni hao yun!”.

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December 1, 2010

Bilingual Notaries – How Often Are They Needed?

Bilingual Notaries – How Often Are They Needed?
This topic started off as a forum post. It is the most popular post in our tips section, but nobody replied to it. I was hoping for one reply in Spanish and another in Armenian, but no such luck for me.

123notary has hundreds of bilinguals
There are many bilingual notaries speaking every conceivable language from Amharic to Zulu. However, Spanish is by far the most common second language in the United States. Some notaries are native speakers of their “second” language, while others have varying degrees of competency.

Are you really bilingual?
If you want to advertise yourself as bilingual, you should be able to handle a signing purely in your second language. Even if you are not perfect and have to look up a word here or there, the ability to converse easily is the main point. The question — are you bilingual ENOUGH? is always a serious question. Notaries put “Some Spanish” in their language field all the time. Is some Spanish enough Spanish? If you can talk your way through the loan then its enough. But, please just put language names in the language field. Nobody uses our language filter to look up the language “Some Spanish”, or “Limited Spanish”. Either you can cut it or you can’t as a bilingual notary.

Test your bilingual notary
If you are hiring a notary for a bilingual signing, it is recommended to talk to them over the phone in the language they claim as their second to test them out. See how they handle basic conversation, and then throw a few loan signing technical terms at them to see how they function with specialized vocabulary.

Bilinguals are not always necessary
Most people in the United States who are getting a loan speak English, even if that is not their mother tongue. If you are notarizing documents for a family from Iran, knowing Farsi might make you popular with them (if you speak it correctly enough), but it won’t be so necessary as they will most likely speak English or have someone present who speaks English.

When do you really need one?
It’s when the signers really don’t know English that you need a bilingual notary. Bilingual notaries get a bit more business than they would if they didn’t have bilingual capabilities. However, if you are in an area where lots of borrowers speak only Spanish and there are no other bilingual signers around, you might get endless business due to your linguistic attributes which become a valuable commodity. How much extra business a bilingual signer gets is hard to say, but they really come in handy when you really need them.

Chinese anyone?
Chinese is a language that throws everyone. There are so many dialects and sub-dialects that a notary needs to specify which dialects they speak. I recommend putting this type of language in the language field: Chinese, Mandarin, Mandarin Chinese. This way, whatever language search term the browser types into the box, they will be sure to find your dialect and also have a correct idea of what you speak. Merely saying “Chinese” doesn’t cut it because there are so many Cantonese speakers in the United States, that many of them regard Cantonese dialect as being just “Chinese”. The governments of both Taiwan (ROC), and China (PRC) both use Mandarin as their standard and official language. The accent is quite different in both countries, but the language is fundamentally the same. Both China and Taiwan have regional dialects too. Taiwan has about eight different variations on their Min-nan-yu that varies from county to county, not to mention a large minority of Hakka speakers who speak a fairly different Southern Chinese dialect. Mainland China has 13 dialect groups with many subdialects that are often not mutually intelligible. Additionally, there are many ways to say Mandarin in Chinese:

(1) Guo-yu (country language – Taiwanese usage),
(2) Hua-yu (Chinese language)
(3) Zhong-guo-hua (Chinese language)
(4) Han-yu ( The language of the Han ethnic group. The name Han is from the Han dynasty and Chinese people refer to themselves as Han people.)
(5) Pu-tong-hua (the common people’s language – used in Communist China)

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