Sarita asks:

We’re away at the moment and then the couple in question head away as we get back – so the NOIM will be getting lodged in Jan, with a day to spare. The bride is from China and all her ID is in Chinese. As long as I tell them to get the passport, (birth certificate) & drivers license/ID card interpreted by a NAATI registered interpreter – is that all ok? Just wanted to check I’m not missing anything as it’s my first time doing a marriage that will involve an interpreter. 

There are several differing issues in this question, so I’ll break them down one by one.

Accepting the NOIM

You can accept a NOIM electronically; they can complete the NOIM, have their signatures witnessed by an appropriate witness (usually a police officer is easiest) and email you a scanned copy. The date you receive the emailed NOIM is the date of lodgement, so you don’t need to wait until you’re both in the same place. As long as you receive the original NOIM before the wedding (even on the day is fine) you’re good to go. If you do accept the NOIM electronically, I suggest getting electronic copies of the passports etc sent through as well so you can ensure there’s no problems with them, remembering that you still of course need to see the originals before the wedding. 

Identity documents

A reminder that you only need to see a passport. That covers you for proof of date and place of birth, and for proof of identity. If a party doesn’t have a passport, then you need to see a birth certificate (proof of date and place of birth) plus an appropriate form of photo ID (proof of identity).

I know some RTOs are teaching that you need to see at least two forms of identity documentation, but there’s absolutely nothing in the Marriage Act or Guidelines to support that. A passport is absolutely sufficient.

Interpretation vs Translation

Written documents are translated from one language to another. Spoken words are interpreted from one language to another. So this question is asking about translation.

The actual answer!

I would be VERY surprised if this bride’s passport is not in English, or at least in both a Chinese language and English. I’ve never come across an international passport that didn’t have all the pertinent information in English. If however she for some reason has a strange passport, yes, as long as the celebrant asks her to get it translated by a NAATI registered translator, she’d be good to go.

Now if the bride doesn’t speak very good English, the celebrant may also need to have an interpreter present at the ceremony. If this is the case, remember they will need to complete the Stat Dec and Certificate of Faithful Performance by Interpreter document, which can be found on the AGD website.