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I am submitting an application and one of the requirements is:

Copy of bank account statement in country of residence, duly attested by Indian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate/Apostille in the country where applicant is located

I don't know how to interpret this statement. The person is located in USA and it needs to be sent to India.

Does it mean Indian Embassy or Indian High Commission or Indian Consulate or Indian Apostille? Or does it mean Indian Embassy or High Commission or Consulate or Apostille? But then "Consulate" alone doesn't make sense, but neither does "Indian Apostille".

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Bureaucratese overlaps with English but isn't identical. – Optimal Cynic Oct 21 '11 at 9:58
@OptimalCynic: the English would be "Indian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate in your country or by apostille", which is pretty close. – TimLymington Oct 21 '11 at 11:49
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would guess it means that the statement has to be attested by either an Indian Embassy, or an Indian High Commission or Indian Consulate; or by an apostille. I am unfamiliar with the procedure for affixing an apostille to a document, but a quick search suggests it is done by the competent authority in the country of residence.

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In answer to the general question how to interpret slashes in this context, there is no universally-applicable answer.

OP says the Indian modifier can't meaningfully be applied to an Apostille (an internationally-recognised form of certification). I'm not an expert on such matters; I know only what I've just seen in that Wikipedia link.

The link makes it clear that an Apostille must be certified by a competent authority designated by the government [of a state which is party to the international agreement to recognise Apostilles]. I note that an Apostille issued in Liberia, for example, is not recognised in Belgium, Germany, or the United States.

The implication is that any given Apostille is certified in the name of some country, which I assume in OP's case would be either India or the US. Feasibly OP could get the certification done by an authority in some other country, but I imagine this could be difficult or impossible (I certainly wouldn't recommend trying to use a Liberian authority!).

Returning to the headline question, the "continuing rightward applicability" of modifiers in a list a slash-separated items isn't fixed by any rule of grammar. You must either use your own pre-existing knowledge of feasible combinations, or ask the author for clarification.

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It means you should go to whichever is appropriate. Typically, the countries of the British Commonwealth have High Commissioners in other Commonwealth countries, so e.g. there is an Indian High Commission in Ottawa. In my hometown, there is an Indian Consulate, and in D.C., there is an Indian Embassy.

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This is answering a different question from the one the OP asked. – Colin Fine Oct 21 '11 at 12:48

A simple answer would be that slashes indicate that there is more than one possibility in a given situation. They give readers the chance (or task) of deciding which possibility is relevant to their situation.

In this context, the applicant can refer to whichever of the named items is available in the country s/he is located in.

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This is answering a different question from the one the OP asked. – Colin Fine Oct 21 '11 at 12:48
Ah, you're right. I thought the emphasis was on "how to interpret slashes" and what to do in this situation, not on whether or not the modifier is shared. Though if the question is just about which words "Indian" modifies, there can't have been real confusion about what the person should do, can there? – onomatomaniak Oct 21 '11 at 17:57

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