Sorry for the radio silence. I’ve been pretty busy for the past day or two. I had to get some signatures notarized quick, fast, and in a hurry. They were required for my dad to complete business transaction in which I was involved (on the periphery). Fortunately, I have some great colleagues who pooled their collective English skills in order to help me out.
First, we had to find an English-speaking law firm to notarize the documents. That was easy, especially considering the fact that there are about a thousand different types of notaries in Korea. They kept asking me “what kind of notary?” I didn’t know how to respond. “The kind that notarizes stuff…” Eventually, someone explained to me that there are different notaries for different purposes – school notaries, bank notaries, law notaries, etc.
We found a place called Samil Real Estate Law Firm. They told us that we have to get the entire document translated before they can notarize my signature. They were listed on several English-speaking law firm lists, so I didn’t understand why. I was short on time, so I didn’t question it. One of my colleagues was talking to the law office and translator for me. She kept trying to haggle over the price, despite the fact that I told her, “I don’t care what it costs, I need it done now.” She said, “Ok, I tell him we can find cheaper; 50,000 won ($45) is too much. He say ‘go ahead, try to find cheaper.’ He will call back.” I almost blew a gasket. JUST BOOK IT – I’LL PAY!
When the translation was complete, another colleague drove me to the law office. After about two minutes of listening to them ramble on in Korean, I realized that there must be a problem with the documents. This couldn’t be good. I was getting frustrated, because the lawyers were having a heated conversation with my colleague, and I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (probably 5 or 10 minutes), the head attorney spoke to me in flawless English. “I’m sorry for the delay. It is important that the translation be correct. In the event of a dispute, Korean courts only recognize the translated version, so it must be an exact copy. The translator left out an entire section and spelled your name wrong in two places. I think he was in a hurry. I have fixed the problem at no cost.” I was blown away. Later, I found out that he moved to the states when he was 16, graduated from high school in the US, and attended Washington State University.
After almost two hours, we were finished. Without my fellow teachers, it would have been an absolute nightmare trying to figure this process out. I was lucky to have them here. I owe a few people lunch.
Until next time.