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WhizWordz International Pte Ltd
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Simple Words, Big Ideas
Simple Words, Big Ideas

31 followers
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Challenges in Transcription

For someone who is unfamiliar with transcription, a simple definition would be to write out all the words that one hears from an audio file. These files may be in mp3, wav, avi or any of the other popular formats.

Thus, to the uninitiated, transcription may seem like an extremely easy task. Just type out what is heard and we are done. Simple, correct? Unfortunately, the work of the transcriber is nowhere near that easy. There are many possible reasons why that is so, and we will explore some of them below.

In the best-case scenario, all the speakers speak slowly, clearly, fluently and in a relaxed manner. The transcriber can then type all that he hears into a word file and use time stamps to indicate when he hears certain sentences. However, real-life is much more complicated and less ideal.

Firstly, many recordings are not made in quiet environments. Imagine trying to hear someone speak in a crowd, or on a street where there is heavy traffic. The transcriber really has a hard time figuring out what is being said in these circumstances, and may need to listen to the file many times. Sometimes, he simply cannot make out what is being said despite his best efforts and can only mark some parts as inaudible.

Secondly, not everyone speaks in a clear and neutral accent. Many people are influenced by their native language and also the way in which people in their locations speak. Thus, it may be difficult to make out what someone with a heavy accent is talking about even when he speaks in English. This is because we are accustomed to how a language sounds. If the person deviates too much from this expectation, it makes the transcriber’s job really difficult, because he has to spend time deciphering what the content is about.

Finally, the speed and tone of the speaker also affect the quality of transcription. When people are angry, upset or excited, they usually speak much faster and also in a higher tone. Being emotionally affected, their thoughts and expressions may become jumbled up, and so what is expressed may be very confusing to the listener or transcriber.

If you would like to know more about our company transcription services, do check out our website to learn more. Our website is http://www.whizwordz.com.sg/service/transcription

If you do need translation or localisation services for your website, marketing collateral, etc, do contact us at +65-6600 3798 or email to sales@whizwordz.com. Our friendly staff would be most glad to assist you in your enquiries and provide a non-obligation quotation.
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Deposit Money for Good Luck in the Lunar Year Ahead!

Do not be alarmed or surprised if you happen to see long queues at banks and ATMs next month. Li Chun (立春 – The Chinese to English translation would be “Beginning of Spring”) falls on 4 Feb this year, and it has become a custom in recent years to deposit money on this day. This practice is believed to usher in wealth and improve one’s luck during the Chinese New Year.

The auspicious timings for the various Zodiac sign are shown as the table below:

Would you be doing such practice? Maybe you might want to do it for this year so as to usher in prosperity for the lunar new year ahead. Huat Ah!
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Translation Services in Singapore

You may one day find yourself having the need to have one or even several documents and certificates translated from one language to another. If you have never done this before, it can be quite a bewildering process.

The first step is to decide which translator or translation company to engage. Some factors to consider would be the price, reputation and reliability, deadline and checking process. Pricing varies between companies and individuals, but if something seems too good to be true, it generally is. One should pick a reputable company to do one’s translation, in order to avoid the hassle of making numerous changes and having his translated documents rejected by schools and government agencies. Therefore, it is a good idea to engage the services of translation companies, as they have resources that most freelance translators do not.

After you have signed on the quotation prepared by a translation company, the project manager will choose the translator based on his pool of resources, and the factors considered include length of experience, expertise in subject matter and delivery time. Once a suitable translator has been selected, the project manager will hand over all relevant information to the translator, including the format of submission and any relevant material that the client has passed to the company.

The translator will then translate the document, and will request for more information if he has any doubts or enquiries regarding the translation. Once the translation has been successfully completed, it will be delivered to a proofreader or editor, who will check for typographical and spelling errors, inappropriate or awkward phrases, grammar and missing translations. Then the document will be sent to the translator to amend. After that, the document is ready for submission to client.

The process does not always end there. The client may not be completely satisfied with the translated document, and may question the use of certain words and phrases. He has the right to do so, and these queries will be forwarded to the translator to rectify where necessary. Note that translation is an art, and not an exact science, so the translator may not agree with the client and choose to stick with the original translation.

If you do need translation or localisation services for your website, marketing collateral, etc, do contact us at +65-6600 3798 or email to sales@whizwordz.com. Our friendly staff would be most glad to assist you in your enquiries and provide a non-obligation quotation.
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Translation of Certificates - WhizWordz

If you have recently arrived in Singapore to study or to work, you may find yourself in need of translation services. This is because your documents like passports, identity cards, marriage and education certificates may not have been originally in English.

If you have never translated your documents before, you may have many questions with regards to how this whole process is carried out. Firstly, there are many translation companies in Singapore. Therefore, searching for a prompt and reliable one is essential. You can look at some of the samples done and
reviews left on their websites in order to make an informed choice. Alternatively, if your friends and relatives have had their documents translated before, you could ask for their recommendations.

After you have decided on who you are going to work with, the next step is to send your documents to them for a quotation. You do not need to visit them as many will accept an electronic version of your documents. You could scan the documents and send them via e-mail. If the quoted price and timeline are acceptable to you, sign on the quotation and send it back. Some translation companies may require upfront payment, either in part or in full.

After the translation has been completed, you can either accept an electronic copy or ask for a hard copy. The translation will have the company’s stamp on every page, as proof that it was done and certified by a professional. If you disagree with any part of the translation, you can discuss these points
with the translation company and come to an agreement. The translation company is not obliged to accept your view as they have their own professional standards.

Some government organisations may need the translation to be notarised. What this means is that on top of having your documents translated, the certified documents need to be passed on to a notary, who is a lawyer with special training. He is authorised by the government to perform acts in legal affairs,
especially witnessing signatures on documents. Once he is satisfied with the documents, he will stamp on them, thus attesting to the legal validity of these documents.

Hope that this information is helpful to you.

Do follow us if you wish to receive more tips on translation-related topic. Thanks.

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Taking Your Content Global – Three Top Tips


You may be interested in expanding your pool of potential customers worldwide. In order to achieve this, one common approach is to first create an attractive website promoting your products and services, and then translate your content into multiple languages. Thus, a well written source text is critical in ensuring that the correct message reaches your target audience. While translators are professionals trained in their line of work, they are ultimately limited by the source text they receive, and there is only so much that they can do with a poorly crafted, meandering and unfocused piece of work.

What would be your key considerations when writing for a global audience? There are various opinions, of course, but we have collated the following points which we believe apply to most.

Writing style
Short and simple sentences are recommended. While some writers prefer a verbose style, this is generally frowned upon by readers, especially the young. Get to the point directly. With the widespread use of social media, and the increasingly number of distractions, modern readers are impatient and will just move on if they have to spend too much time deciphering the meaning of the text.

Cultural references and idioms should be avoided. While they do show that the writer has local knowledge, these references tend to get lost in translation, as there are rarely equivalent phrases in the target languages. It is much better to write generally, and let the translators display their creative flair by adding or expanding on the source text.

Use Editable Files

If you have ever worked with translators, then you will know that one of their pet peeves is to work with uneditable files. While jpeg and pdf files may look very nice, they are a hassle to work with, because translators cannot work with them easily, and often need to recreate the whole file, leading to a decrease in productivity and much time lost over unnecessary editing and formatting.

Images
While images can be very attractive and can drive traffic to your site, it is better to use a link than to embed the images directly into the file. Images are resource-heavy, and opening and saving an image-heavy file can take up a lot of time. Moreover, large files are hard to transfer to others, and may require the use of special services like wetransfer.



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Legal Translation - Difficulties of Legal Translation

As previously discussed, legal translation may be regarded as one of the hardest forms of translation to gain proficiency in. Legal terms can be very technical, yet require creativity to bring the point across in a different language. That is why it is prudent to engage the services of a professional translation service provider when you have legal documents to translate.

Besides the technical language involved, there are also many legal systems in the world. For example, many Commonwealth countries have their laws based on the English legal system, so they are not so different. However, Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea have written their laws based on different principles. The phrase “The Crown” is commonly found in legal documents in England, and a direct translation into other languages is not suitable or appropriate, as many countries do not have royalty.

Many Latin phrases also abound in the English legal system, and some of them reflect its history. For example, nearly all formal contracts will include a Force Majeure clause. This phrase is often translated as “Act of God” in English. Due to historical, social and political reasons, a literal translation into other languages is obviously unwise. Therefore, this phrase is translated as “overwhelming force” in Chinese.

Ideally, the translators would have some experience working as lawyers or in a legal firm. Unfortunately, this is rarely true due to the considerable differences in remuneration between lawyers and translators. In the next best case scenario, the translators would have attended some law related courses, possibly in translation, in order for them to better understand and translate the intricacies of law.

A legal translator will also translate many certificates during his career. These will include birth / death certificates, immigration papers, college transcripts, police clearances, marriage licences and divorce decrees. After translating the documents, the translator will need to affix his stamp or signature in the presence of a Notary Public, attesting to the accuracy of the translated document. The translated copies will then be submitted with the original documents to the courts and government ministries in foreign countries for education, immigration and marriage purposes.

Indeed, as shown above, legal translation is a field fraught with difficulties. However, it can also be a rich and rewarding career for the serious and determined. With globalisation becoming increasingly prevalent, the need for such skills will certainly increase by leaps and bounds in the near future.

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Notarisation of translated documents in Singapore

If you are new to Singapore, and many of your documents are not in English, then you need to translate them into English for official purposes. These documents may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, educational certificates, driving licences and household registers.

Many people will engage the services of a translation company in Singapore for this reason. These companies hire trained professional translators to ensure that the translated documents are error-free and also true to the meaning of the original documents. However, if you are competent in English, you may question the need to do so. What about translating the documents yourself? After all, who knows more about your own personal situation than you? You could even avoid the hassle and save time and money!

While this sounds reasonable on the surface, there are a few issues involved. Most importantly, since the content is about you, it is possible to unwittingly translate in a way that presents your situation in a more positive light than what the content actually says. Since translation is more of an art than a science, the choice of words is very critical. Therefore, it is wise to ask someone else to do the translation for you, since he can translate in an unbiased way according to the facts.

After translating a document, many translation companies will also issue a certificate of translation, attesting that the translation was done by them to their best effort, and that they strived for the highest degree of accuracy. This attestation should be enough for most purposes. However, for various reasons, certain departments, ministries and schools may require a notarised copy of your translated documents to satisfy their requirements.

Notarisation can only be done a notary, who is a lawyer with specialised training. Many translation companies work with notaries to provide better services to their clients. Notarisation is not a free service, so additional payment to the notary is mandatory. Essentially, you are paying a notary to certify or authenticate the translation.

If you do need translation or localisation services for your website, marketing collateral, etc, do contact us at +65-6600 3798 or email to sales@whizwordz.com. Our friendly staff would be most glad to assist you in your inquiries and provide a non-obligation quotation.

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Exploring Language Barriers Within the Pokémon World

Just earlier in February this year, the Hong Kong Pokémon fans publicly protested over the Pikachu translation. The backlash occurred after Nintendo and The Pokémon Company decided to drop the Cantonese version for Pokémon Sun and Moon (two upcoming role-playing video games in the Pokémon series), and unified the Mandarin Chinese names used by Taiwan and Hong Kong. Around 20 Hong Kongers gathered outside the Japanese consulate, armed with banners demanding that "Pei-kaa-jau" (皮卡丘,Pikachu's new name in Cantonese) should be restored to "Bei-kaa-chyu" (比卡超,the original Cantonese Pikachu) for their local market.

This shows how important translation is in the fast-growing game industry. Different translations can invoke entirely different emotions among the players in different language zones. Even within the Chinese market, there is a difference between the traditional Chinese for Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the simplified Chinese for Mainland China.

Currently, I am sure we are all feeling the effects of Pokémon Go craze that has officially landed in Singapore's shore two weeks ago. So how did Pokémon Go develop itself into a world renowned mobile game? It is of no doubt that translation made a subtle but significant impact in the midst of the process.

Granted, game translation can be quite tricky sometimes, especially the names of the characters, as the respective translation needs to be able to convey the original meaning effectively, and still sound natural to the target consumers, so that they can connect with the characters on an emotional level. Let's take the translation for Pikachu as an example. Hong Kong and Taiwan both employ Japanese transliteration, but since Hong Kong uses Cantonese which has different pronunciations from Mandarin, the transliterated name turns out to be different too. Some of the countries adopted English transliteration instead, for instance Pikachu in Indonesia is known as "Pikacu".

Besides transliteration, translators sometimes resort to free translation for the names of the characters. In Japanese, Charmander is known as "ヒトカゲ Hitokage", where "Hi" means fire and "tokage" means lizard. Thus in French, Charmander is translated as "Salamèche" (salamander and flammèche), while in German, it is translated as "Glumanda" (glut and salamander, where glut means glow). As such, these characters exemplified the complexity involved in game translation. Only when all relevant factors have been taken into consideration and incorporated accordingly, then can the respective product transform into a global success smoothly.

So don't be surprised to find out about the language barriers that exist between the cute little Pikachu-s across the globe. The Pokémon world has to figure out its own way to overcome barriers to communication too, just like what we translators do!

If you do need translation or localisation services for your website, marketing collateral, etc, do contact us at +65-6600 3798 or email to sales@whizwordz.com. Our friendly staff would be most glad to assist you in your inquiries and provide a non-obligation quotation.
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Interpreting Japanese

Since World War 2, Japan has been playing an increasingly important role in the world’s economy. Hosting the Tokyo Olympics just barely 2 decades after the end of the Second World War propelled Japan into the international limelight. Since then, people everywhere have been fascinated by the language, culture and economic power of this intriguing country. As such, many foreigners have attempted to master the Japanese language, but few have been successful.

There are many reasons why the Japanese language is difficult to learn. Perhaps the most obvious one would be culture. The Japanese way of doing things can be quite baffling to the foreigner who comes from a country where people are much more direct.

For example, if I were to ask you whether you would be attending my party, you would say yes or no. However, many Japanese find it difficult to say no, so they might end up saying maybe, or that it would be difficult, so it gives the impression that they may attend.

Another example is that a simple yes may not mean yes, and a no may not mean no. It also depends on the tone, stress and facial expression of the speaker. Sometimes yes means no, and no means yes or maybe! Spend more time speaking in Japanese with Japanese people, and you will fully grasp what I mean!

Finally, the Japanese writing system also takes some getting used to. Kanji, which is borrowed from the Chinese language, plays a key role in the Japanese language. These characters convey a plethora of meanings, depending on context. About 2000 of these characters are frequently used in everyday life, so if you have never seen or studied them before, it would take a long time to learn and memorise how to write, read and understand the meaning.

Indeed, the Japanese language is full of intricacies, pitfalls and surprises. But please do not let these hinder your progress. Continue to enjoy the wonderful language and culture, and your understanding and appreciation will improve by leaps and bounds with each passing month!

If you do need translation or localisation services for your website, marketing collateral, etc, do contact us at +65-6600 3798
or email to sales@whizwordz.com. Our friendly staff would be most glad to assist you in your inquiries and provide a non-obligation quotation.
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