For quality assurance reasons and because lawyers can argue what the English words in the SCR forms mean so a translation would allow lawyers to argue even more in court, the SCR standard forms committee does not produce non-English language forms as a risk management strategy.
SCR surveyed other states in the USA and no state produces a residential contract in another language for these same reasons.
A handful of states produce a Spanish "explanation" of the residential purchase agreement but the actual agreement is written in English.
So a best practice is to recommend the consumers hire a bi-lingual law firm. The consumer needs a closing attorney. NAR ethics article #13 requires recommending obtaining legal counsel and refraining from the unauthorized practice of law. The attorney can explain the legal forms in the consumer’s language of choice.
Another best practice is to hire a qualified translator.
Also, associating with a bi-lingual REALTOR® can help. NAR and REALTOR.COM have searchable features for languages and designations.
There is a National Hispanic Association of Real Estate Professionals.
There is an Asian Real Estate Association of America.
There are other associations of real estate professionals that can be a resource for you when working with consumers who have different languages and cultures from yours.
NAR offers an At Home With Diversity Designation.
NAR offers a Certified International Property Specialist Designation.
In emergency situations where the above practices are not timely practical, there are some riskier alternatives: perhaps the consumer has a trusted relative/friend who can translate…perhaps the consumer has Google Translate (or another translation app) on their mobile smartphone which can use the phone’s microphone to translate spoken words with the app and the phone’s camera to translate written words with the app. Maybe you have some high school Spanish classes under your belt… Be careful with these ideas because they are not ideal and are higher risk.
With all technologies, translation quality improves with time and technological advancements. So beware of the emergency situation translations, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do in the moment and remedy with better solutions later.
The consumer hiring a bi-lingual attorney is the #1 best solution.
Posted by: Byron King on 2/21/20 (This information is only accurate as of 2/21/20. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 2/21/20 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org)