Our translation service is now part of the ZircoDATA family!

ZircoDATA Pty Ltd, a leader in records and information management from governance through to storage, digitisation and destruction, has acquired our mother entity Xine Communication, one of the largest translation service providers in Australia. This acquisition extends ZircoDATA’s portfolio in conversion services in complementary sectors including financial, government, legal, medical and professional services.

Jacqueline Fitzpatrick, ZircoDATA CEO, will oversee the transition of the Xine business into ZircoDATA, giving ZircoDATA an expanded footprint in the data digitisation arena.

“The combination of Xine Communication with our expertise in records lifecycle management will provide customers of both organisations with a single supplier from translation to records management. This provides significant commercial efficiencies for both organisations’ customers” says Jacqueline Fitzpatrick, ZircoDATA CEO. “The acquisition also provides efficiencies operationally for both organisations and allows ZircoDATA to leverage its solid operational and commercial expertise”.

“We are excited to extend our portfolio to deliver translation, interpretation and glossary development services. As a trusted provider of document and information management for over 25 years, adding translation to our conversion services is a natural fit. It is also a fantastic opportunity for both ZircoDATA and Xine Communication customers to experience the complementary nature of the services we provide, delivering greater efficiencies and improvements to their management processes”, says Fitzpatrick.

“We are extremely proud of all we have achieved at Xine Communication since we began over 12 years ago and look forward to being a part of the new expanded ZircoDATA family as it continues to evolve” said Xine Communication CEO, Chris Dammann.


How To Say ‘Happy Halloween’ In 70 Languages

What we do on Halloween

Almost half the world celebrates Halloween and it is quite a special holiday and is considered to be one of the most popular throughout the world. The date it is celebrated is the last day of October. What most people who celebrate Halloween do is dress themselves up in scary clothing so that they appear as frightening as possible.

On October 31st participants in Halloween dress themselves up as witches, ghosts, and monsters as long as they look scary. The festival originates from All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve, which throughout the centuries has evolved from a pagan ritual through to the ancient Celtic holiday called Samhain and now it is the favorite holiday for today’s children and adults as well.

Children use the term ‘Trick-or-Treat;

When the children have finished dressing up in different costumes they go in a group of friends from door to door in their neighborhood and ask their neighbors for candies followed by the phrase Trick or Treat. If they don’t get what they want they will perform a mischievous trick.

The most popular Halloween tradition

Pumpkins have been an important symbol at Halloween from the Celt days when people carved faces into vegetables which were mainly pumpkins. This was to light away for good spirits. Since those early days, scary faces have been carved onto pumpkins and they are placed in our porches, in order to frighten off bad spirits. Because Halloween is so popular around the world 70 languages have a phrase that means
Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween in 70 Different Languages

Language How to Say Happy Halloween
Zulu I-Halloween enhle
Yoruba Dun Halloween
Urdu مبارک ہیلوین
Ukranian щасливого Хеловіну
Turkish Cadılar Bayramınız Kutlu Olsun
Tswana Itumetse Halloween
Tibetan สุขสันต์ฮาโลวีน
Thai สุขสันต์วันฮาโลวีน
Telugu (Hyāpī hālōvīn)
Tamil (Halōvīṉ vāḻttukaḷ
Tagalog Masayang Halloween
Swedish Lycklig Alla Helgons Dag
Swahili Halloween Yenye Heri
Spanish Feliz Día de las Brujas
Sinhala සතුටු හැලොවීන්
Serbian Срећна ноћ вештица
Russian Поздравляем Вас с праздником Хэллоуин
Romanian Halloween fericit
Punjabi ਹੈਲੋਵੀਨ ਮੁਬਾਰਕ (Khuśī hailōvīna)
Portuguese Feliz Dia das Bruxas
Polish Szczęśliwego Halloween
Persian هالووین مبارک
Pashto خوشحاله هالویین
Norwegian Lykkelig Allehelgens Dag
Mongolian Сүнсний баярын мэнд хүргэе
Maori Hari Halloween
Malayalam (hāleāvīn āśansakaḷ)
Malay Selamat Hari Halloween
Lithuanian Laimingas Helovinas
Latin Felicem Vesperam Sanctam
Lao ສຸກ​ສັນ​ວັນ​ຮາ​ໂລ​ວີນ( suk san van ha ol vin)
Kurdish Salona dilxweş
Korean 해피 할로윈 (Heang / Bok / Han Hal / Lo / Wein)
Kannada (Hyāpi hyālōvīn)
Japanese ハッピーハロウィン
Italian Buon Halloween
Indonesian Selamat Halloween
Igbo Obi ụtọ Halloween
Hungarian Boldog Mindszentet
Hindi heloveen kee shubhakaamana
Hebrew ליל כל הקדושים שמח
Hausa Farin ciki Halloween
Gujarati હેપી હેલોવીન (Hēpī hēlōvīna)
Greek Καλό Χαλοουίν
German Fröhliches Halloween
Georgian ბედნიერი ჰელოვინი (bednieri helovini)
French Joyeux Halloween
Finish Hyvää Halloweenia
Filipino Masayang Halloween
Esperanto Feliĉa Halloween
English Happy Halloween
Egyptian Arabic سعيدعيد هالوين
Dutch Gelukkig Halloween
Danish Glædelig Halloween
Czech Veselý Halloween
Croatian Sretan Halloween
Chinese 万圣节快乐
Catalan Feliç Halloween
Cantonese Malipayon nga Halloween
Burmese Main g lar haallo
Bulgarian Честит Хелоуин
Bengali (Śubha hyālō’ina)
Belarus шчаслівы Хэлоўін
Azerbaijani Halloween bayraminiz mübarak
Armenian ուրախ Հելոուին (urakh Heluin)
Arabic هالوين سعيد
Amharic መልካም የሃሎዊን (melikami yehalowīni)
Albanian Gezuar Hallouinin
Afrikaans Gelukkige Halloween
:asohX Usuku olumnandi le-Halloween

So, when the 31st of October comes around, do something special at home like watching a scary movie, decorate your home with carved-out pumpkins. And you must not forget to buy some candies for ghosts, little monsters, zombies and witches because they may trick you if you decide not to provide them with some special treats.

What are Programming Languages?

A programming language is used by a person for interacting with computers. Instructions are given to devices using this language which is followed by an expected output. Coding is the term used by a programmer to give instructions to a computer. If programming languages did not exist then there would be no software.

Most popular programming languages

Java is a popular programming language followed by Python, both of which are simple and straightforward. Many experts believe that it is quite an easy language to learn and understand. Instagram and Pinterest were both built using Python. Other well-known names in the world of programming are PHP, JavaScript, and C#.

Can programming languages be translated or interpreted?

English is known as the most popular of the world’s languages. It can be seen in use just about everywhere, including advertisements, in entertainment, in literature, and in the naming of clothing brands. Even many programming languages are based on English. This is the reason why developers add English words when coding. Because of this, even those who are non-English speakers need to learn some of the English languages so they can code.

Because translation is helpful in so many fields, people often wonder if they can depend on it to help them in the understanding of the software. But the languages used when developing software are not quite the same as native languages so it is not possible to compare them with Spanish or English, for example.

A program that has been published in one language could be translated into a different programming language. A language’s source code may be converted to a code in another language. It isn’t possible at the moment to interpret a programming language. Humans are unable to interpret a programming language for a machine to use. However, they can troubleshoot, debug, and tweak codes if required.

Put quite simply, programming languages can’t be either translated or interpreted in the same way one native language can be translated into another as they are not the same as natural tongues. For a start, they do not use a writing system with nouns and prepositions. They do not have any sort of sentence structure like native languages. Also, if the English component is changed into another language, the coding will not work so it isn’t possible to interpret or translate a programming language.

What is a translation of coding?

There is one type of translation that computer experts can carry out, called porting. This is when a software code is changed from one programming language to another. By doing this, developers modify a program so that it can run on a different computing system. If you have used an iOS app on your Android this is due to porting. It is this process that has made it possible for users to access their preferred software without it being necessary to change their mobile so that a specific app can be used.

Who translates programming languages?

There are a few tools that can do porting but they are unable to convert an iOS application so it can be used by an Android device. Only a human brain can do complicated tasks such as the translation of programming languages using porting.


Even though many people use computers few really understand the way a computer works. Only computer engineers can create software and applications for us to use.




How To Travel Internationally

With Australian vaccination rates growing at a snail’s pace, there’s no set end date yet for international border closures. This means you still need a travel exemption to leave Australia if you’re an Australian citizen or a permanent resident.

Who is allowed to travel?

To be eligible, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • your trip is for your business or employer
  • you need urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are traveling for a compelling reason for three months or longer
  • you are traveling on compassionate grounds

Alternatively, your travel must be in the national interest or part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid. More information is available on the Department of Home Affairs’ travel website.

It’s your evidence that counts!

When applying for a travel exemption, the most important thing to remember is that you must prove you have a compelling reason to travel. The authorities will carefully assess your application based on the evidence you submit – so make sure your paperwork is in order. If your evidence is not in English, you will need a certified translation. Evidence may include:

  • passport/s
  • marriage certificate/s
  • birth certificate/s
  • death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship
  • documents showing that you are moving to another country on a long-term basis (e.g., leases, job offers, or evidence your goods are being transported)
  • proof of your current valid visa
  • a letter from a doctor or a hospital about your medical treatment/condition and why travel is necessary
  • a letter from your employer showing that you are traveling for a business reason
  • statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia

How we can help you

We can assist you with all your travel exemption-related translation needs – in fact, we already translate hundreds of documents related to travel exemptions each month. Our translations are carried out by NAATI-certified translators and are accepted by the Department of Home Affairs – check out some client video reviews here.

  • We have been providing certified translations since 2008
  • We deliver the Department of Home Affairs’ own Free Translating Service
  • Acceptance of the translation is guaranteed – or your money back!
  • Our Google rating is 4.9 stars
  • We operate 24 hours, 7 days a week

Minimize the risk of your application getting rejected.

Get a free translation quote now

Why You Might Find Your Birth Certificate Handy

In most, but not all, countries around the world, every birth is registered and some sort of certificate issued to document the birth. Each country may have different information recorded on the certificate, but the following details tend to be included on most birth certificates:

  • date of birth;
  • address of birthplace;
  • father’s name;
  • mother’s name;
  • name of the child;
  • gender of the child;
  • issuing authority;
  • signature of the person issuing the certificate.

Many birth certificates have features embedded in them which make them harder to alter or forge, although the design of most certificates still belongs to the last century and with modern technology it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to alter a birth certificate for illegal purposes, certainly easier than falsifying a passport or driving license.

Most birth certificates are retained by parents until such time that the child whose birth certificate it is grown up and needs the certificate for their own purposes, commonly to acquire a driving license or passport for the first time.

Many people tend to forget about their birth certificates after that and put them somewhere for safekeeping, although many get lost, usually just before they have been requested by someone! Usually, it is possible to get a replacement birth certificate if needed, although some jurisdictions are more efficient than others.

Why is a birth certificate necessary?

1. Evidence of parentage

The birth certificate gives information about who the parents of the certificate holder were. This isn’t always definitive proof because many authorities that registered the birth of a child, especially in the past, would record details about parents based on what they were told. However, it helps to establish a relationship for inheritance purposes.

2. Driving license

Many countries need to establish identity before issuing a first driving license, as well as a person’s residential and postal address. The birth certificate is usually an initial document shown when the first driving license is applied for as it establishes the date of birth and legal name.

3. Premarital name or evidence of name change

It is common in many, but not all, countries for a woman to take the name of her husband on marriage. Although this practice is tending to become less common, it is still common enough for the birth certificate to be requested whenever a marriage certificate is examined to check the premarital or maiden name. The same applies if someone quite legitimately applies for a name change.

4. Citizenship, ID. and passport applications

As for driving licenses, other identity documents issued for the first time often require examination of the birth certificate to establish citizenship, name, and date of birth.

5. School enrollments

Schools may require the date of birth of a child before he or she is first enrolled in a kindergarten or primary school. In many countries, attendance at school is compulsory for children of certain ages. The birth certificate is the primary method of determining the age of a child for enrollment as there will be no other document available at that age.

6. International travel for work or educational reasons

School, college, and university courses overseas, as well as employers and immigration authorities, usually require a raft of documents to establish the authenticity of a person’s application for a course, job, or visa, including a birth certificate.


If you can’t remember where you put your own birth certificate, make an effort to find it and put it somewhere where you will be able to locate it. It’s not just a quirky relic of your past. A missing birth certificate may put your life on hold just when you didn’t want it to!

Easter Celebrations Around the World and in Australia

Easter is a Christian holiday with celebrations honoring Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Easter usually involves celebration as it is considered to be an important event in the Christian year.

It is celebrated in many different countries where immigrants have settled from all around the world so translations need to be provided to explain the significance of the Easter traditions. This means more people can feel comfortable participating in the Easter events because they understand their significance.

How Easter is celebrated around the world

  • In the USA, Easter traditions may include nice treats which are delivered through the Easter Bunny and hunts for Easter eggs too.
  • Children in Sweden celebrate Easter by gathering together with old clothing and then dressing up as witches. Many will offer artwork and drawings which they exchange for sweets.
  • In Haiti, Easter celebrations are a mix of African and Christian beliefs. Drums, maracas, and bamboo trumpets make up Easter activities in Haiti.
  • In France, church bells replace the Easter bunny so when the church bells don’t ring from Good Friday until Easter Sunday, the bells form wings that allow them to fly within the cities where they deliver sweets to children.
  • In Poland, the colder temperatures don’t stop the people from maintaining their Easter tradition of soaking each other with buckets of water which dates back to more than 1,500 years ago.
  • In the Czech Republic on Easter Monday, long sticks are decorated with colorful ribbons which are then used as whips which are used to playfully tap women as they walk by. The idea is to transfer the sticks’ fertility to the women.
  • In Spain, Easter festivities take place at night when participants march through the streets dressed up in skeleton costumes while acting out scenes from The Passion of Christ. In other regions of Spain, straw effigies of renowned people are placed throughout the cities before Easter and then they have ripped apart and the pieces are thrown up into the surrounding air.
  • Corfu has a quite unusual Easter tradition that takes place on Holy Saturday which involves clay pots. It is called “Pot Throwing,” because the pots are thrown from windows in the hope that the coming crops will soon fill up these new pots.
  • Italy celebrates a 350-year-old ritual at Easter in Florence. It is called ‘’The Explosion of the Cart’’, or in Italian, Scoppio del Carro, and represents the hope for a bountiful harvest in Spring. A cart filled with fireworks is driven around Florence’s streets by people dressed in costumes dating back to the 15th-century. The procession terminates outside the Duomo when the Archbishop of Florence lights a fuse at Easter mass. As the lit fuse hits the cart, a fireworks display is set off for all present to enjoy.
  • In Norway Easter crime, or Paaskekrim, is the tradition where Norwegians participate in the reading of mystery novels or watching detective programs on TV. Throughout Easter week, many Norwegians go on ski holidays in the mountains.

How Easter is celebrated in Australia

The celebration of Easter in Australia is at the start of the country’s autumn. The Easter celebrations start on Shrove Tuesday and end at Whitsun. This is a 50-day celebration and Australians observe many rituals such as Pancake Day with pancake races, consuming hot cross buns, playing egg-hunts, and hosting Easter shows. Easter in Australia uses a fictional rodent named ‘Easter Bilby’ as the key Easter symbol and not the Easter bunny which when introduced into the country devastated crops. Colorfully wrapped Easter eggs are consumed during the traditional family get-togethers.

Many families take part in Easter hunts inside homes and gardens which involves children hunting for the eggs. The game comes to an end when the child has found the largest number of eggs.

Finally, sharing an Easter meal with one’s relatives is the most important annual tradition in Australia. This meal is made up of roast lamb, chicken, or beef with roasted vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and pumpkin.


A Snapshot of Vietnam

Vietnam has been in the news recently because of its overall excellent response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Vietnamese have become a little complacent in the last few weeks, and the virus has made an unwelcome return in the coastal seaside city of Danang, it is a testament to the government and people of this southeast Asian country of nearly 100 million that there have been less than 60 deaths and only 540 odd cases of the disease.

Vietnam’s history hasn’t always been peaceful!

These days, or at least until the Covid-19 era, Vietnam has become a much-visited country. Visitors are drawn to Vietnam because of its intriguing history, culture, geography, and cuisine. Of course, it has had a bloody history. First colonized by the French, a drawn-out fight for independence resulted in the country being divided unnaturally in two, the Communist North, propped up by the Soviet Union and the Capitalist South, propped up by the U.S. Vietnam was finally unified again after the long and bloody Vietnam War that saw the North finally defeat the might of the United States. Vietnam has moved on and even though the past is remembered with sorrow and in part pride, has now forged its own path.

Vietnam lies on the western edge of the South China Sea. To the north, it borders China, to the west, Laos, and to the south, Cambodia. The capital is Hanoi, although the commercial capital is Ho Chi Minh City, also known by its pre-Vietnam war name as Saigon.

Vietnam is quite a large country on southeast Asian standards. It stretches north to South much more than east to west. Consequently, it has different climatic regimes with the north enjoying colder winters while the south is more tropical. Because of its position Vietnam often experiences typhoons originating in the South China Sea to the East.

People and language

Most Vietnamese are ethnic Vietnamese, but there are also significant minorities of Chinese, Thai, Khmer, Cham, Hmong, and mountain people. Vietnamese is the national language, but various other languages are spoken by the ethnic groups mentioned above.

Vietnamese is not an easy language for European language speakers to learn. Like Thai, Laotian, and Chinese it is a tonal language. Words may seem to be written the same way but can mean very different things because of the tone used. Characters similar to Chinese were in use in the early days, but a modified Latin script is now in use. This form of writing was first introduced by French missionaries in the 18th Century.

Culture and religion

Like many other parts of the world, religion is these days less important than it was in the past. Young people are less likely to be influenced by old ideas of culture like Confucianism or the traditional religions that have been introduced into Vietnam over the centuries like Buddhism, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christianity, and even Islam. The fact that Vietnam was and still is influenced by a more authoritarian form of Communism that tried to stamp out religious practices as well as the march of international influences, rapid urbanization, and access to the Internet have meant that the old cultural practices are less common today.

Family life

Family is very important still in Vietnam. Extended families often live together in the same building. In the old days, the father was the head of the household, even if female family members had an important economic role to play. Ancestor worship used to be an important cultural practice. This is still the case in more traditional communities. Ancestors are worshipped. Ceremonies revolve around important anniversaries of the death of well-venerated ancestors.

Other cultural attributes often ascribed to the Vietnamese include the reserve they have to strangers and the concept of “face.” Face saving is still an important concept amongst business people and government officials. It is an accepted practice not to openly criticize people in front of others. It’s a bit hard to understand what ‘face’ is all about, but when a Vietnamese person loses face, it can be hard on their self-confidence.

Pros and Cons of Online Learning and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Online learning isn’t new. In one form or another, it has been around for some time. For some people, online learning has been the only viable educational option, whereas for others it has been a rational alternative to a classroom or lecture hall environment.

With the arrival of Covid-19, the necessity to shift schools, colleges, and universities over to online learning was almost universal in those countries where the virus hit hard. An effort has been made to ensure that online learning was not actually much different than being in a real classroom.

Was the shutdown of educational facilities really necessary?

In the early days of the pandemic, little was known about the new coronavirus. Its RNA sequence (the basic nucleic acid strand carrying genetic information inside each virus) was decoded quite quickly and the information passed on around the world, but we are still learning about the effects of the virus, how contagious it is, who are the most susceptible to the most serious negative effects of infection, whether immunity is gained after infection and how long immunity might last.

Because of the scramble to understand the new virus, it has meant a large variation in responses. The dilemma is that a good health response invariably negatively affects economic outcomes and vice versa. In most countries, schools, colleges, and universities were closed, physical distancing measures imposed to keep people apart, stay at home restrictions or lockdowns were mandated an international or state or regional borders were shut down.

It was realized by most health authorities that it was important to keep schools, colleges and universities closed until transmission of the virus was suppressed, even though children, and to a lesser extent, young adults, were found to be less affected by the virus, with a higher frequency of asymptomatic conditions. These facilities were still a source of infection as large numbers of people were inevitably forced together in close proximity. There were teachers, lecturers, and other academics, support staff, ancillary workers to consider in addition to the students.

The conclusion is that most countries would say that closing down educational facilities and providing online learning wherever possible was a necessary part of the response to the disease. Parents and educators have been very cautious in those countries where students have resumed conventional learning, although as yet there seems to have been few health repercussions.

What were the lessons learned from all the online learning made available during the pandemic?

The pros

In many countries, online communication, the almost universal access to the Internet, and proficiency amongst educators have meant that online courses were able to be rolled out quite quickly. Obviously some courses are easier to adapt to an online environment than others. Practically oriented courses are harder or near impossible to adapt completely, but even those have at least some element of theory and this can be rolled out online as was the case.

For some students, online learning proved to be a boon. Learning can be individualized more easily, allowing students to slow down or go faster according to aptitude and ability. This is not always possible with conventional learning environments when larger numbers of students are clustered together in one room.

The cons

The most serious disadvantage of the sudden rush to introduce online learning was that it exacerbated socio-economic disadvantage. Not all students had their own laptops. Not all families had access to the Internet or at least were unable to afford the amount of data needed for online learning for everyone in the family. This disadvantage was most obvious in poorer countries, where having a few computers at the local government school might have been a novelty. Take the difference between relatively wealthy Australia, for example where state governments provided laptops to poorer families for free during the lockdown and just about any country in Africa or South Asia where lockdown simply meant that there were no online learning opportunities at all.

In many cases, families may not have been able to keep younger children motivated with online learning at home in the same way that they may have been motivated in normal lessons with their trained teachers. This has been less of an effect on older students.

Back to school for most?

Most countries that have been badly affected by Covid-19 are lifting restrictions and sending students back to studying where they were before. Reverting to near normality has been met with a mixture of trepidation and jubilation. Has the temporary shift to online learning meant that it is an option for the future? Probably, like work at home for some, it is certainly a viable option and certainly cheaper. If anything, the main lesson learned is that if there is a second wave of the disease or, heaven forbid, another pandemic with a new disease, lessons learned from online learning as part of restricting transmission of Covid-19 will certainly be part of the arsenal available to deal with it.

Covid-19 Face Masks: What Medical Experts Say About Their Effectiveness

As countries around the world battle with Sars-cov-2, the novel coronavirus, different strategies have been tried and tested. Most countries have had no experience with dealing with such a contagious virus and there have certainly been quite a few mistakes. Those countries that experienced the SARS epidemic in 2003 reacted quickly using a combination of closing external borders, quarantining, physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, and face masks. This was so successful that in Vietnam, right on China’s doorstep, where the disease first originated, there have been no deaths and the number of cases has been less than 300. Taiwan and Hong Kong, close to China, have also done well, with few deaths and the virus more or less contained. At the other end of the scale, are countries like the U.S. and the U.K. The disease was ignored for too long, and measures that other countries put in place were too little too late. At the time of writing, there have been over 80,000 deaths from Covoid-19 in the U.S and 30,000 in the U.K.

One of the more controversial strategies used in fighting Covid-19 is the use of face masks. In some countries (Singapore, for instance) you can be fined for not wearing a face mask in public. Donald Trump, on the other hand, didn’t think it was important to wear a face mask himself when visiting a face mask factory. So, what’s the truth about their effectiveness?

Not every face mask is the same

Sars-cov-2, the official name for the virus that causes the disease Covid-19, is so small that it can easily pass through the pores in most easily available masks. The cheaper masks are called surgical masks. In a hospital, they may be worn by medical personnel to protect staff and their patients from infection, but are not used when there is a danger of transmission from a highly contagious virus like the coronavirus. When medical staff or carers in a nursing home are issued with personal protective equipment (PPE), they are issued with a better mask, called an N95 mask. This helps to prevent airborne viruses from infecting staff.

N95 masks are generally not available to the public, partly because in many countries they are in short supply and whatever numbers of them that can be procured are always, as a priority, directed to hospitals and other places where they are needed.

Can ordinary surgical masks be effective in preventing transmission of a virus-like Sars-cov-2? The answer seems to be a qualified “yes.” Coronaviruses like Sars-cov-2 are transmitted from person to person on airborne droplets. Most of these are ejected from an infected person when that person coughs or more rarely sneezes. Research has also shown that ‘micro-droplets’ can also transmit viruses for several meters, even when someone who is infected talks. The consensus is that an infected person who wears a surgical mask, i.e. the one type that is easier to purchase, is less likely to transmit the virus to others around them. This is because the mask stops a lot, if not all, droplets that might carry the virus.

The jury is out, however, on whether wearing a surgical mask, or even a home-made mask of any type of material does any good. It may protect others if you are infected but may not help you from being infected if someone else breathes, coughs, or sneezes in your presence.

Wear a mask, but take care with the way you use it

The best advice seems to be to use a face mask if you are going anywhere that could be crowded, like public transport or a supermarket. Be careful about handling the mask, especially the outside of it. Avoid touching the mask, then your face. Use a fresh mask each time you go out, or wash the mask thoroughly with hot water and soap. If you don’t feel well or have any flu-like symptoms, get yourself tested for Covid-19, stay at home, and if you really do need to go out, wear a mask.

Don’t Forget to Translate Your Vaccination Certificates!

Vaccinations are in the news again because of the desperate race to find an effective vaccine for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or Sars-cov-2. In reality, new vaccines are always quietly being researched and sought after. It’s not an easy task. There is still no effective vaccine for ebola, HIV (that causes AIDS), the common cold, and several other diseases including malaria. Vaccines for virus-caused diseases are generally harder to develop, especially if they mutate frequently. A vaccine for SARS and MERS, both caused by coronaviruses, was never developed before the diseases rather mysteriously disappeared.

Vaccines have been more successfully found for a variety of other diseases that have been killers in the past. There are vaccines for measles, mumps, cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, TB, typhoid, and rabies, just to mention some of the more common. Smallpox is one of the world’s greatest health victories as the virus was totally eradicated after a long, hard struggle led by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Proof of vaccination may soon become mandatory after Covid-19

Although international travel right at the moment is virtually impossible anywhere in the world, when the world returns to normal again in one, two, or more years’ time, proof of vaccination will again become mandatory. Entry into many countries for anything other than a short visit has often meant proving that you were healthy and vaccinated against common diseases. Visits to Africa or South America, where there is still the possibility of contracting yellow fever, usually means that you have a yellow fever vaccination in your home country before travel, translated, of course into several languages depending on where you go next.

You will need vaccine certificate translation

Vaccination certificate translation is a must for many immigration visas. The U.S., for example, insists that all long-term visa applicants show evidence of vaccination for things like TB, typhoid, measles, and mumps. Evidence of cholera vaccination may be essential if you have visited a country, or part of a country, where there has been a cholera outbreak.

When a Covid-19 vaccine is eventually developed, and there is a lot of doubt over how long that is going to take, it may become compulsory to show that you have been vaccinated for Covid-19 before being allowed to travel, or at least before you arrive. One of the possible ways that international travel may become possible again is to have an “immunity passport.” This would show that either you have had Covid-19 and have immunity, as proved by an internationally approved test, or have been vaccinated for the disease, so you cannot spread it when you visit another country. 

Of course, this is still way in the future and who knows what is going to happen in the next few months, or even the next year or two, but the possibility of relaxing international travel between countries that have successfully suppressed or eliminated the virus maybe soon a reality. Australians or New Zealanders, for example, may soon have access to each others’ countries. That may be extended to the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia. Even without a vaccine, there may be a way forward using health certificates showing proof of immunity or lack of infection through an up-to-date test. Because of the danger that border control officers cannot interpret certificates that are not in their own language, there will be an ongoing need for effective health certificate translation.