Suspension of notarised translation service until 1 June 2020

As announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Circuit-Breaker will be extended for another four more weeks until 1 June 2020.

While we continue to offer translation and certified translation services during “Circuit Breaker” period, we are not able to offer notarisation and authentication services, as these services must be performed through a Notary Public and the Singapore Academy of Law. At this point time in time, these services are considered as non-essential. Additionally, notarisation requires face-to-face meeting with a Notary Public, which is not permitted under safe distancing rules, while authentication service at the SAL is only available from 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm (Mon, Wed, Fri) and is now strictly by appointment only. The SAL appointment slots for authentication in April and May are all taken up.

As such, we will be suspending our notarised translation services until 1 June 2020.

Please stay safe, healthy and positive amid COVID-19 pandemic. Let us get through this together!

This post will be constantly updated from time to time during this COVID-19 situation, and please visit this post periodically for further developments.

Posted in Translation

Mandatory Authentication of Notarised Documents in Singapore from 1 October 2019

With effect from 1 October 2019, all documents that require notarisation by  a local Notary Public in Singapore will have to be authenticated by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL).

The Singapore Academy of Law appoints and regulates about 700 Notaries Public who are licensed to notarise documents in Singapore. These licences have a one-year validity, safeguarding the integrity of the notarisation system.

The introduction of mandatory authentication ensures that all notarised documents originate from properly appointed notaries in Singapore and that the notarised documents are issued in compliance with the Notaries Public Rules.

An e-Register has been set up to log all notarised documents. All Notaries Public in Singapore will be using the e-Register to issue notarial certificates and have the Singapore Academy of Law authenticate them.

With effect from 1 October 2019, in order to submit your supporting documents (notarised translation of your documents) to the ICA for PR or Citizenship application, you need to do the following:

1) Appoint a translation service provider to translate your documents (if they are not in English)

2) Pay Notarisation Fee to a Notary Public to notarise the translated documents  (SGD80.00 onwards depending on the number of documents you have)

3) Pay Singapore Academy of Law’s Authentication Fee of SGD85.60 – inclusive of GST at the Notary Public’s Office.

4) The Notary Public will then certify the translated documents and issue a Notarial Certificate with QR code via the Singapore Academy of Law’s portal.

5) Bring the notarised documents to the Singapore Academy of Law to obtain an Authentication Sticker and Stamp, which will be pasted behind the Notarial Certificate.
There is no due date and no additional fees will be incurred for this process. However, under the Notaries Public Rules, authentication can only be considered as completed and valid after this process is completed. It can be done on-the-spot at the Singapore Academy of Law’s Counter located at:

The Adelphi

1 Coleman Street #08-06 Singapore 179803

All documents are to be submitted during the operating hours as follows:

Mondays – Fridays 9:00am to 4:30pm
Weekends & Public Holidays: Closed
Eves of Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year: 9:00am to 12:30pm

Once authentication is completed, any recipient of the notarised documents, such as the ICA will be able to search and verify the authenticity of your notarised and authenticated documents via an e-Register hosted on


Authentication completed at the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) - SAMPLE ONLY

Authentication completed at the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) – SAMPLE ONLY

Notarised documents that were created before 1 October 2019 will not be affected by this new notarisation and authentication system.

Posted in About Sage Languages, certified translation, Notarized translation, singapore translation service, translation service, translator

ICA Document Checklist for holders of Employment Pass or S Pass

Oftentimes, our clients ask “What documents do I need to translate and notarise?”

We checked on ICA’s website and downloaded a document that is essentially an Explanatory Note and Document Checklist for holders of Employment Pass (EP) or Special Pass (S-Pass), who wish to apply for Permanent Residence (PR) in Singapore.


Please ensure that all the required documents are submitted within 7 days/ 168 hours from the time you start the online application.

We gathered that the common documents (if not in English) that may require translation are as follows:

If you are single, have never been married before:

 (1) Identity Card (if applicable)

(2) Birth Certificate or Household Register or Family Card that shows both parents’ name

(3) Highest Educational Certificates, Professional License/Membership Certificates and Vocational Trade Certificates

If you are married or have been married before:

(4) Official Marriage Certificate

(5) Death Certificate or Divorce Certificate in respect of your previous marriages (if applicable)

(6) Custody papers for the child(ren) in respect of your previous marriage(s) (if applicable)

(7) Spouse’s Highest Educational Certificates, Professional License/Membership Certificates and Vocational Trade Certificates

If you are including your spouse in the application

(8) Spouse’s valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions are required

(9) Spouse’s birth certificate showing both parents’ name

(10) Spouse’s deed poll or change of name certificate (if applicable)

(11) Spouse’s identity card (if applicable)

(12) Death certificate or divorce certificate and the custody papers for the child(ren) in respect of your spouse’s previous marriage(s) (if any).

 If you are including your child(ren) in the application:

(13) Child’s valid travel document with valid Immigration Pass and passport pages showing personal particulars and official descriptions

(14) Child’s birth certificate showing both the child’s and the parents’ names

(15) Child’s adoption papers (if applicable)

(16)Child’s deed poll or change of name certificate (if applicable).

ICA accepts:

(i) Translations provided by the embassy of the country that issued the document

(ii) Translations produced by a notary public in Singapore or the country that issued the document

(iii) Privately created translations attested by the embassy of the country that issued the document, or notarised by a notary public in Singapore or the country that issued the document.

Our official  translations, which are notarised by a notary public in Singapore are compliant to (iii) above.

You just need to email your documents to or whatsapp 8280 3328 to get a no-obligation quotation from us.

Posted in Translation

Human or Machine Translation. Which is better?

The debate between these two is never ending. The world is fast changing and technology is improving. Do you ever wonder which is a better way to translate any document?

Machine (or automatic) translation services will play a more important role in any translation project. Google translate has already achieved search queries in multiple languages and translated sentences with great accuracy. However, there are still imperfections in machine translation. The level of accuracy can be very low. Accuracy may not be consistent across different languages. Moreover, google translate or any form of machine translation tools, cannot translate context. Once mistakes are made, the cost incurred can be quite high. For example, if we rely solely on automatic translation for medical equipment, legal documents and user manuals, any mistakes made can cost lives or great financial losses as well as substantial damage to reputation. Automatic translation provides a literal, word-for-word translation, which can lead to unsatisfactory results. The translation may not sound natural, has lots of grammatical errors and may not be well-structured enough to maintain original meaning.

In conclusion, machine translation should only be used for small projects whereby basic understanding suffice. I think it is most suitable for postcard messages and personal letters which requires quick turnaround time.

Why human translation is preferred?

Translators are considered experts in their own field because of the way they hone a source text to fit the target audience.  They can be compared to editors who constantly shape, mold and perfect a written piece for better communication. They have more in-depth knowledge of the terminology and can structure the translation in a way that flows naturally and make it meaningful for readers.

In general, a higher standard of accuracy is achieved even though a longer turnaround time is required and at a higher cost. Translators will always ensure any translation job is done with 99.9% accuracy. Translators can interpret context and capture the meaning, rather than simply translating words. Their works will be proofread and reviewed to ensure a quality process. They can deal with content where automatic translation is not possible and find the most suitable expression of the same in another language. Sometimes, when it comes to complex correspondences such as legal documents, user manuals and medical guidelines where accuracy is of utmost important, it is advisable to engage a translator or a translation company.

Human translation may seem more expensive than automatic translation, but the benefits of a good translation and the hidden costs of a bad translation (higher level of returns, bad reputation, dissatisfied customers), make it the better choice in the long rub.

In today’s fast-paced environment, time is a crucial factor. Hence, people may be tempted to use machine translation due to its faster turnaround time. In future, I would think that the trend is the widespread use of human translation with the aid of technology as it would significantly reduce turnaround time. Hence, quality translation can be achieved within the shortest turnaround time.

Posted in Translation

Translation of Personal Documents

We’ve translated thousands of documents for customers and agencies around the world.
We would like to share our thoughts on translation of such personal documents, whether or not it is for submission to the ICA for PR application and citizenship application, or for submission to the MOM for work pass application.

How do we deal with handwritten text that are hard to read on personal documents?
Oftentimes, we come across handwritten text on Birth Certificates and Marriage Certificates that are extremely difficult to read. Fortunately, as these personal documents belong to our client, we have the privilege of asking them directly.
This also comes in handy when the place of birth written on the birth certificate is a small town of a certain country that we are not familiar with. We find that it is totally legitimate to ask our client, as they would obviously know where they were born.

Is it OK to put [illegible] on the translated document?
We think there is no hard and fast rules on this. But as far as professional ethics of a translator is concerned, we think we should never guess or fill in the blanks if the section of the text is not visible or cut off on the personal documents. Even if our client could resolve the issue for us by filling us with the necessary information of what the invisible or cut off text actually says, we usually put [illegible]. Our rationale is, the issue is visibility of the content, rather than readability due to sloppy handwriting. We cannot “concoct” a translation when the source is not visible to human eye.

How do we deal with requests for unjustifiable revisions on personal documents?
Oftentimes, customers asked us to insert names, change birth dates, or change graduation dates because they were not indicated on the source documents, or were incorrectly written on their source documents. We decline these requests because it is just not right to do so, and it could constitute falsification of information. Instead, we advised our clients to explain to the receiving party, such as the ICA or MOM officer on why their names, birth date or date of graduation were incorrect on the source documents and make necessary justifications. We are quite sure that the receiving party would be in a better position to determine whether or not the justifications are legitimate or not.

Additionally, most of the translated personal documents must be certified and notarised by a notary public in Singapore. As such, we will never attempt to insert additional information or modify any data that is not found in the source documents. Fortunately, after explaining to our customers on why we cannot fulfil their requests to make those changes, they are all agreeable.

Does it make sense to certify and/or notarise translations that were not done by us?
Some of our clients came to us with documents that were already translated, either by themselves or somewhere else. To meet the requirements of the government agencies, schools, or employers in Singapore, they just need a qualified translator or translation company to issue a Certificate of Translation Accuracy. We have to politely reject such requests because our Certificate of Translation Accuracy says that the translation was executed by professional translators. As such, we cannot take the translations done by our customers or some other agencies and say with conviction that the translations were performed by professional translators, without the means to investigating the same.

Posted in Translation