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Old 23.09.2018, 12:08
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what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaking l

...awyer?!

hello ef!

first i want to say thanks for the help with threads i've put up recently. i didn't reply but i will later today. i've just been busy which i hope is an excuse that flies around here!

i'm about to buy a house and the notary will not let me sign a german document. my german's iffy! ((btw my hypothesis is that the notary's mission so to speak is to prevent any future court-wrangles with him, me, and the house seller in the future. he is so to speak the cornerstone of private property in CH, which is the cornerstone of CH.)) so fair enough!

anyway my question is about the two options i have that the notary is up for.

1. i get the original german contract signed by a lawyer i've given Power of Attorney to
2. i get the contract translated by lawyer pros who know the jargon and do this all the time, and then i personally sign the contract.

it has been suggested to me that the notary prefers option 1. is this do you think because he doesn't want anything lost in translation with therefore therefore the possibility in the future of a legal wrangle, which his mission is to prevent? or is it because it's just extra workday hassle for him? (both i can appreciate lol!)

also, and i think this is my important question, which is the best option for me? what would you do? what have you done?

really appreciate any help and thanks for the help so far!
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Old 23.09.2018, 12:16
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

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i'm about to buy a house and the notary will not let me sign a german document.

1. i get the original german contract signed by a lawyer i've given Power of Attorney to
Is the contract in German or isn´t it?

If you buy in Zurich, you will not get a binding contract from a notary in English for example.

Have it translated and ask the notary anything that is not clear, that is his/her job to explain everyting.
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Old 23.09.2018, 12:18
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

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...awyer?!

hello ef!

first i want to say thanks for the help with threads i've put up recently. i didn't reply but i will later today. i've just been busy which i hope is an excuse that flies around here!

i'm about to buy a house and the notary will not let me sign a german document. my german's iffy! ((btw my hypothesis is that the notary's mission so to speak is to prevent any future court-wrangles with him, me, and the house seller in the future. he is so to speak the cornerstone of private property in CH, which is the cornerstone of CH.)) so fair enough!

anyway my question is about the two options i have that the notary is up for.

1. i get the original german contract signed by a lawyer i've given Power of Attorney to
2. i get the contract translated by lawyer pros who know the jargon and do this all the time, and then i personally sign the contract.

it has been suggested to me that the notary prefers option 1. is this do you think because he doesn't want anything lost in translation with therefore therefore the possibility in the future of a legal wrangle, which his mission is to prevent? or is it because it's just extra workday hassle for him? (both i can appreciate lol!)

also, and i think this is my important question, which is the best option for me? what would you do? what have you done?

really appreciate any help and thanks for the help so far!
No. 2. If you ever need to argue what you've signed you know what you are arguing!! Definitely, absolutely No. 2!
The "lost in translation" bit should have alerted you already

You just love moving, huh?
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Old 23.09.2018, 12:19
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

Option 1. Tho you also could take a friend along who really knows what he is doing and explains what exactly you sign. Just adding the sentence that you fully understood the language as used in the contract should cover the Notary.

If you do version 2 than the seller sees himself confronted with an English contract, why should he trust a lawyer paid by you?
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Old 23.09.2018, 12:31
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

Only one contract can be legally binding, either the one in English or the one in German.


Here is will be the one in German that takes precedence over the English one in case of any disputes, so therefore make sure you fully understand the German contact before signing it.


How you understand it is your choice
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Old 23.09.2018, 13:00
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

Why not get a professional translation of the contract, so you can read it in your language (English?) and bring up any questions with the notary, if satisfied sign the German one.
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Old 23.09.2018, 14:51
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

Never sign a contract you do not fully understand, yourself. It's no good just having someone along (whether friend, notary, lawyer, opposite party, or foe) who will, there and then on the spot, explain a sentence to you.

I agree with Today only and MotorsportsNorton.
The contract should be in the local, official Swiss language.

Get a professional translation (which will cost you) and then get someone else besides the translator, who can read both languages, to check it. Then ensure that you understand every single point. If you need changes made, then both the German and the translation should be re-phrased. Do this in iterations, until you are sure you know what it all means, so you can sign yourself.
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Old 23.09.2018, 15:02
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

Real estate contracts here are pretty straightforward. I would do a quick and dirty Google translate of the contract and if you are unclear about anything, hire a lawyer to walk you through it step by step. Don't count on the notary to be acting in your interest.
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Old 23.09.2018, 15:04
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

Unless you have already repeatedly bought property here in Switzerland, in this canton, I would recommend against relying on any "quick and dirty" translation for a document on which you are going to put your signature. However, yes, as a first starting point, it can be helpful. Also deepl. I would start there, too. But thereafter, get the document properly translated. The machine translations can miss or transpose a word which could make all the difference.
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Old 23.09.2018, 17:41
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

If you decide to use a lawyer, either for translation/help understanding the contract or especially if you give him or her POA, you need to understand how, or if, your expectation of a lawyer's role and duty to the client as you know the relationship from home meshes with or differs from standard of practice here.

I was disappointed with a lawyer I hired to help with a real estate transaction, as ultimately the lawyer's interests were not in line with mine, much to my detriment. YMMV - but eyes wide. Even when speaking the same language there may be fundamental differences in understanding.
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Old 25.09.2018, 10:28
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

cheers everyone, really helpful responses here which give me some much needed perspective. very interesting! I was thinking maybe option 2, the POA is the one i'll go for, but no longer that's for sure.

i'm going to go over everything on this thread now with my jeweller's loupe wedged firmly in my eye and no doubt ask a couple of follow-ups in the next few days. thanks again!

@curley: Believe it or not, I still haven't unpacked everything here. I don't think i'll bother now.

btw everyone is my hypothesis about the notary correct, albeit put rather dramatically in post 1 (the notary is the cornerstone of private property in CH which is the cornerstone of CH blah blah blah ((I must have just had a coffee)) ). I ask just for some perspective about how everything works and fits together. basically is the notary's mission to prevent future legal wrangles concerning private property? it's all new to me!
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Old 25.09.2018, 11:01
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

I work a lot with dual languange contracts, pages are divided in to half, lengthways and then the contract is written in both languages, in my case Russian and English.


Somewhere in that contract thir will be a line stating unequivocably which language takes precedence in case of translation faults.


Somewhere, sometime one language needs to take precedence and overule any translation faults, in your case it will be the German language that takes precedence.
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Old 25.09.2018, 11:22
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Re: what's best: signing english-translated contract or give p-o-a to a german speaki

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... basically is the notary's mission to prevent future legal wrangles concerning private property? it's all new to me!
Here you go: The tast of the notary:
https://www.notariate.zh.ch/deu/allg...unser-auftrag/
(in German, I suggest you try both deepl and google translate)
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