Designated Translator During Notary Process For Buying House?

I heard from a realtor that if you want to buy a house and you are not comfortable enough to sign contracts in German, that you can get translators or even give someone the power of attorney to sign on your behalf?

We are looking to move forward on a house. It is Kanton Zurich, so as I understand the notary contract is standard in the whole Kanton (I can translate it ahead of time to understand it). But then there is the reservation contract, which can be unique.

I don’t mind doing translations myself on the side, and then signing. But do I need someone if my German isn’t strong enough?

If the notary believes you don’t understand the contract, he will insist that you have a translator.


Or find a notary that speaks English and can translate for you as they go through the contract with you before all parties sign it. That’s what we did when we bought our house.


Yes, either translator or give poa to a friend to sign on your behalf if German is not up to the mark!

If interested I can share the contact details of the translator I used.

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Please do, that would be very helpful.

@MedeaFleecestealer who chooses the notary? The seller or buyer, or is it a “hey, can we do it here because they can translate to English on the way” request to the buyer?

Thanks all! This helps.

Notary selection is dependent on the location of the apartment. I will PM you the translator details.

Within the Kanton of Zurich, the answer is that you must use the responsible government notary / land registry office. There is a search tool for this here based on the location of the property. This office will provide the Notary, and the signing location.

If the contract is in German, I’d expect the Notary to require you to either understand German or to sign a POA to somebody who does - in some sense it’s a failure of the Notary if you believe that you understand some nuance from an internet translation and then it turns out that you don’t.

Probably a mutual agreement. Iirc I asked the estate agent if they knew of a notary that spoke English and they recommended one to us. Sellers were fine with them so that’s who we went with. Not in your area/canton so no point in me recommending them to you.