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.

IMPORTANT!

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 inquiry@sagelanguages.com or whatsapp 82803328 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

How to be a good translator

  1. Always review the documents and files before embarking on the translation process
    Read all instructions that come with the job. Ensure all files and documents are well-received.
  2. Be proficient in your own language
    To produce quality translation, you have to master your native language so that at one glance, you are able to ‘digest the information and translate’ them into another familiar language. This will then make the translation work much easier.
  3.  Going the extra mile
    From time to time, you will encounter words you are not familiar with. Take this as a challenge. A committed and responsible translator will go the extra mile to find the answers. Browse through online dictionaries, you will eventually find relevant answers. Seek help from fellow translators who have more experience than you. Search through the internet, where you can find a wide range of suggestions. Decide and choose the best translation that serves your client’s needs.
  4.  Know your strengths
    Translate in fields that you are good at. This will save you effort and time to check on terms you are not familiar with. Translating in unfamiliar fields will take more time in terminology research. Specialize in the fields you are expert in and try not to take on anything outside your sphere of expertise.
  5.  Be a good writer and reader
    Read widely. Be exposed to the media such as TV news broadcast, radio programs, newspapers and magazines. Keep an eye on the latest happenings. Be connected to the world. Write more to enhance your use of words and vocabulary. Continuous learning is the key to improving your skills and expertise. Languages are permanently evolving and developing so you need to keep up-to-date.
  6.  Use all reference materials
    Use all available glossaries and terminology databases. It is essential that you are consistent with the terminology and style of previous jobs.
  7.  Always proofread at least 2 times
    Your first draft will always have errors in it. Run your spellchecker and correct any misspellings and typos. Your final translated version has to read as if it had originally been written in your language, free of literal translations and cumbersome expressions that are directly transferred. Typos, grammatical errors, punctuation errors are unavoidable the first time. If you have an editor or proofreader, take full advantage of their services. A fresh pair of eyes will catch any errors a lot faster.
  8.  Practice makes perfect
    Another essential factor is experience. Translators get better at their job with experience – not just experience of translating, but also real-life experience. A translator needs to have excellent general knowledge and research skills, as well as a very keen eye for detail
Posted in Translation

Easy ways to learn a new language

Zhuangzi, who was born about 2,300 years ago, during the tumultuous Warring States Period of ancient China, probably wrote the first piece of work in history devoted to happiness. This essay, which is called “Supreme Happiness” (Watson, 2003), is now a chapter of the book named Zhuangzi, after the author.

He advised people to learn things the effortless way and not to resist the world around them. This effortless non-resistance help us learn better. Zhuangi’s philosophy was based on effortlessness, called wu wei (无为) in Chinese. Which means when we hope to learn a new language, we should go with the flow. Language learning does require some effort, of course, but we learn best when effort is minimized and pleasure is maximized.

1. Exposure

Be surrounded by people and media (eg. Skype with natives if you cannot travel, listen to radio stations, watch tv programs, listen to songs and learn the lyrics) where this language is used. You can travel to this country and if money and time permits, try to communicate with the locals. Start with conveying simple words by going to markets and streets to bargain for purchases. Be amazed by the wide range of words the hawkers and sellers use in their daily life. The locals will be your ‘free’ tutor as they will correct your pronunciations.

2. Reading

Read lots of books, journals, newspapers and magazines in the new language you wish to learn. When you come across the unknown words, note down on a notebook. Look up the meaning and go through the passage again. Do you understand them now? Is it more meaningful now? Does it make sense? If everything goes well, at least now you can read in that language.

3. Quiz

Self-test is an essential way to drill the language into your brain.  Ask your friend to test you on the words in the books you have read by asking lots of questions. Test how fast you can activate your brain cells to answer the questions. Using flashcards can be one of the options to ‘exercise’ your brain cells. Write each sentence on a card, translate into the target language or vice versa. Vary the options by doing multiple choice or fill in the blanks.  It is an effective tool to challenge your memory on the words you have gone through.

4. Be brave

Do not worry about making mistakes in the presence of natives. Be bold to speak in their language. Making mistakes is the only way to learn and improve and eventually grasp the essence of the language.

In summary, do what is easy and comes naturally, do not force yourself to learn new language within the shortest timeframe. You just need more exposure and have a ‘curious’ mind. Set realistic and achievable goals. Eventually, you will learn any new language effortlessly.

 

 

Posted in Translation