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

ICA’s E-application system for PR applicants

The Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced on 2 November 2017 on the launch of a new electronic application system for PR applicants.

Under the old system, applicants for PR must make an appointment with the ICA and submit hard copies of their documents in person.

With effect from 18 December 2017, it is not necessary for PR applicants to make an appointment with the ICA to submit their documents in person anymore.

Thanks to the new Electronic Application System, PR applicants just need to complete an online application form on ICA’s website and submit scanned copies of their application documents electronically.

In line with the introduction of the new Electronic Application for PR application by the ICA, Sage Languages will provide scanned copies of your translated and notarized documents for your onward submission via ICA’s Electronic Application System.

Original hard copies of the translated and notarized documents can be collected from our office between 9am and 5.00pm (Mondays to Fridays).

Sage Languages wishes you every success with your PR application.

Posted in Notarized translation, Singapore, singapore government, Translation

What is a notarized translation and what is a certified translation?

We get asked this question so often, we decided to write something about it again.

A certified translation means that the translator or translation company has provided a signed statement (“Certificate of Translation Accuracy”) declaring that the translation is a true and faithful rendering of the source document.

In the context of Singapore, it is usually required for submission of documents to authorities such as the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for application of employment permit, Housing & Development Board (HDB) for purchase of a HDB flat, Singapore Registry of Marriages (ROM), Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE), etc.

Some private companies might also require their employees to submit Certified Translation of their Certificate of No Criminal Conviction, also known as Certificate of Clearance (COC) and Personal Credit Report.

A notarized translation means that the translator or representative of the translation company signs an oath swearing that the translation is a true and faithful rendering of the source document before a Notary Public.
That being said, notarizing a translation is just an official process. It is not about having the notary public check and verify the translation.

In Singapore, Notaries Public are appointed by the Board of Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public. A Notary Public must be a qualified and experienced lawyer with no fewer than 15 years of experience.
A notarized translation is usually required for submission of documents to the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for Permanent Resident (PR) application, Citizenship application, application for Dependent Pass, etc.

Posted in certified translation, Notarized translation, singapore translation service, Translation, translation service

What is “a privately translated copy notarised by a local Notary Public”?

Are you applying for Permanent residency (PR) in Singapore, Citizenship of Singapore or Long-term visit pass in Singapore? Do you know that there is this requirement published on ICA’s website and/or explanatory notes to the PR, Citizenship and LTVP application forms? The requirement reads as follows:

Please ensure that the original documents, official translation (if the document is not in the English language) and a copy of all documents are produced for our retention.

ICA accepts translation done by the Embassy of the document-issuing country or a local Notary Public.

A privately translated copy attested by the Embassy of the document-issuing country or notarised by a local Notary Public is also acceptable.

Insufficient documents may result in non-acceptance of application. Additional documents to support the application may be required.

At Sage Languages, we offer a privately translated copy notarized or notarised by a local Notary Public, that meets the requirements of the ICA Singapore, whether it is for your Singapore PR application or for your Singapore Citizenship application.

A sample of our Notarial Certificate is shown below.

Notarial Certificate - Translation for ICA Singapore


On top of issuing a Notarial Certificate, your translated documents will be also be CERTIFIED AS TRUE TRANSLATION. They will be signed and stamped by both our authorised signatory as well as our Notary Public.

To get a quote for translation, certified translation and/or notarized translation, please SCAN and EMAIL your documents to

We are also on Whatsapp @ 8280 3328


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Posted in Translation