Playing it cool

As the Australian Tennis Open draws to a close, sports lovers can console themselves with the thought that Australia always has something to offer.  Although possibly best known internationally for its love of cricket and the annual Australian Formula One Grand Prix, there are plenty of other sports to enjoy.


While horse racing fans in the Northern Hemisphere routinely have to accept numerous delayed and cancelled fixtures, horse racing in Australia continues to go from strength to strength, with some Australian horses such as Black Caviar establishing a global reputation.  (Black Caviar is already being touted as a possible successor to Australian wonder-horse Phar Lap).  Those who prefer horses to travel at a slower speed can enjoy trail-riding adventures at a more leisurely pace.


For those who prefer sports where humans put in most of the effort, Australia has become a key destination for cyclists, with plenty of options for both road-touring and off-road cycling.  The country is also much loved by inline skaters, due to the quality of its roads and its general friendliness towards people travelling under their own steam.


It’s little wonder that Australia’s growing reputation for sporting holidays has fuelled a need for international workers.  Those contemplating making the move “down under” would be well advised to ensure that immigration translations are undertaken by a NAATI translator to ensure that the process is as simple as possible.

"3 Tennis Balls" by dan from

Tasting the globe

Every nation has its own unique cuisine.  Some become famous for it and even export it around the globe.  Even though global migration has meant that most major cities have eating places reflecting the cuisine of countries which may be geographically far away, there are often local delicacies which may be unknown to outsiders.  Here are a few from Australia.

Witchetty grubs – they may look like maggots but they are a nutty-tasting snack which has been enjoyed for centuries.

ANZAC biscuits – these are beginning to enjoy an international following, partly because they are extremely tasty and partly because they originally became popular due to their ability to travel well.

The Lamington is often known as the “National Cake of Australia.”  Unfortunately it is not often found outside the country but there are plenty of recipes on the internet for keen bakers who want to try their hand at it.
Tim Tams – more biscuits, this time with chocolate.  Like the ANZAC biscuits, these are steadily making their way around the world, one delicious mouthful at a time.
Vegemite – the ultimate Australian food.  Like its British cousin Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.

Those looking to open a restaurant in Australia will find Australians open to trying other national cuisines.  It’s best to have a qualified and experienced NAATI translator help with immigration translations, as this will help the visa process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Dressing for success in 2013

The beginning of a New Year is generally boom time for recruitment agencies as employers and employees alike start to recover from the Christmas festivities and think about the year ahead.  For many employers this is a key time for addressing recruitment gaps identified in the last year and for many employees it’s a time for thinking about long- and short-term goals.

For some people this may be a simple step along the career ladder, but for others it can be more challenging.  A Sydney-based charity called “Dress for Success” has been helping people to develop personally and professionally by offering emotional support and confidence-building as well as loaning people smart clothes to go to interviews.

Of course, in order to get an interview, you have to apply to jobs first and that means usually means sending in a CV or application form, along with a covering letter.  For people who’d like to work inAustralia, it can often be advisable to have these documents professionally translated by a NAATI translator.  A translator with experience in immigration translations will also be able to help with ensuring that key employment documents also read clearly and accurately, which is a prerequisite to getting that vital first interview.

Australia’s film industry has plenty to Crowe about

While Russell Crowe may never make a career as an opera singer (as he freely admitted on Twitter), the Australian star has certainly had his fair share of hits, as have fellow Australian screen stars Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman and in recent years it has become increasingly possible for Australian actors to gain international acceptance working out of their native country.

The Australian film industry has been steadily gaining both critical acceptance and commercial success in recent years.  Long gone are the days when the odd “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Crocodile Dundee” (and its many sequels) providedAustraliawith her only international recognition in cinema.  These days, Australian stars are highly in demand for mainstreamHollywoodblockbusters, while Australian directors (notably Baz Luhrmann) are teaching international audiences how to make films that really matter.

Perhaps this is part of the reason whyAustraliais becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination and why experienced tourist industry workers from overseas are highly in demand.  International workers often find that the process for getting a visa to work inAustraliais made quicker and easier if they use the services of a professional NAATI translator for their immigration translations.  They can then focus on getting used to the sunshine and great outdoors.

New Year, New Country, New Customs

Although in many countries (including Australia) New Year officially begins on January 1st, in many countries people celebrate the spiritual New Year at many different times.  One of the common factors in these celebrations is cleaning out the past and preparing for the new.

The Jewish New Year “Rosh Hashanah” takes place in early Autumn (usually in the month of September) and contains the custom of “ Tashlikh” or “casting off” the mistakes of the past year.  Thankfully none of our skilled Migration Translators will be casting off any of the NAATI Translations they’ve made in the past year.  Leaving aside the fact that they’re all highly-skilled professionals, all our translations are checked and double-check to avoid embarrassing mistakes.

The Chinese New Year is known as the “Spring Festival” even though it takes place in late Winter.  InChina, on New Year’s Eve, it is customary for families to gather for a celebration meal and the importance of the festival means that people will go to strenuous efforts to be with their loved ones, even if it means travelling long distances.  With so many Chinese people now living inAustralia, it’s a particularly busy time of year for people travelling between the two countries.

The Hindu New Year begins in late Autumn with Diwali – the Festival of Light.  InIndiathis is a time when the whole country is lit up with lamps and fireworks, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil and the festival is celebrated in many countries where there is a significant population of Indian immigrants.  This includes many of the large cities inAustralia, especially Sydney and Melbourne where Hindus are joined by Australians of other faiths, as well as tourists, for a 5-day extravaganza of fireworks and festivities, including Bollywood dancing.

In Ethiopia, New Year is called  Enkutatash and begins in September, after the rains have finished and the earth is at its most lush.  Children hand out bunches of flowers and everyone celebrates the beneficial effects of the vital rain.  Although there are relatively few Ethiopians inAustralia, many people have similar feelings about the arrival of Spring and enjoy looking at the growth of new flowers.

Australia’s own New Year’s celebration is on the night of 31st December and 1st January.  Although it is celebrated throughout the country, undoubtedly the most famous party is held inSydney, where theHarbourBridge is spectacularly lit up by a massive display of fireworks.  Every year, the city aims to make the event bigger and better than the year before – and so far they appear to have succeeded.  AsAustralia is one of the first countries to see in any new year, the fireworks are often seen by people around the world as a precursor to their own parties.  Some of these people may start thinking about emigrating toAustralia in the coming year.

Party time – how to socialize in Australia

Once the practicalities of moving to Australia have been organized, immigrants can focus on the social aspects.  While a NAATI translator can help with immigration translations, immigrants need to find their own feet with regards to Australian social customs.


Barbecues, BBQs or Barbies are the typical focus of any gathering inAustralia.  The weather, scenery and general enjoyment of an outdoor lifestyle, mean that cooking outdoors is a perfectly natural activity.  Generally speaking the host will cook and serve the meat and provide salad and breads.  It is common and polite for guests to ask if they should bring anything and this offer may or may not be accepted.  Typical foods served at barbecues includes snag (sausages), chook (chicken) or sangers (sandwiches).  The host may also offer guests a tinny (can of beer).

Bringing a plate

If an invitation asks guests to “bring a plate” it means to bring a plate of food.  Usually this food should be ready to serve, for example sandwiches or cake.  Sometimes the host will actively organize for specific individuals to bring specific foods to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the types of foods available.

BYOB – Bring your own bottle

Often inAustralia, a party host will provide food but the invitation will say BYOB, which essentially means that guests are responsible for their own drinks.  This is an easy way for the host to ensure that people can have what they want to drink without the host having to deal with the expense and hassle of organizing it.  Some cafes and even restaurants display a BYOB sign, which basically means that guests can bring their own drinks (from off-licences) and will only be charged “corkage”, which is a charge for proving the glasses.  Those who do not drink alcohol can bring soft drinks.

Shouting a round

In Australia, it is usual for people to take turns buying drinks in pubs.  The designated person “shouts a round” for everyone in their group, queues and pays for it.  Those who don’t drink alcohol can sit out this custom, although many teetotallers do choose to partipate.

Having a cuppa

In spite of the heat, Australians enjoy tea and coffee, the drinking of which is referred to as “having a cuppa”.

Needing the bathroom

While Australians do use the terms bathroom and toilet, in many situations, it’s more common to hear the slang terms loo or dunny.

Although Australia does have its own unique slang, which can prove a challenge even for native speakers of English, the fact that they are generally very accommodating to people new to their country makes it very easy for new immigrants to integrate there.

Image “Girl showing party time in laptop” by Stuart Miles from

Helping Santa – giving and receiving gifts in Australia

Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for Australia Post and it is closely followed by other major festivals where people exchange gifts.  Even outside of these times, the Australian postal service is kept busy with gifts being sent for a variety of reasons such as birthdays and weddings.

Australia has a very straightforward system for processing mail items sent to its shores.  There is no distinction made between gifts or items sent for other purposes.  If the declared (or assessed) value is over AUD1000, the items are subject to taxation and if it is less than AUD1000 they are not, unless they are alcohol or tobacco products in which case they are subject to import duty regardless of value.

The other key point to understand is that Australia has very strict (and very strictly enforced) rules on what may and may not be imported.  Some items are banned from import completely whereas others have restricted import.  For many people sending gifts to Australia (or sending goods from home as a precursor to immigration), the most important restrictions relate to food and plant and animal materials.  An exact list of prohibited products can be obtained from the Australian authorities, but as a rule of thumb commercially produced food products are likely to be acceptable, while home-made food is not.  Plant and animal products are likely to be seized (if sent) under all circumstances.

Australia allows most items to be exported (although other countries may have their own rules regarding what may be imported into their territory) but it is forbidden to export anything of significant value to Australia’s cultural or natural heritage unless a permit is arranged.

People who watch daytime TV will be well aware that there are regular attempts made to circumvent these rules and will also be well aware that getting caught attempting to do so can lead to serious trouble.  Honesty really is the best policy, particularly with regard to filling in customs declarations accurately.

In addition to overseeing the sending and receiving of gifts, the Australian customs authorities, also monitor shipments of personal items and household goods sent and received as part of the immigration process.  Essentially they are looking for any items which could pose a threat to Australia’s security or economy, in particularly any plant or animal items (including soil) or home-made food.  The keys to ensuring a successful household move to Australia are to ensure that all items are completely clean (including the packaging) and to make absolutely certain that they are correctly and accurately documented.

It may be worthwhile asking for assistance with moving personal items as part of the immigration translation process.  One of our NAATI translators can help to prepare the appropriate documentation to ensure that your move is as smooth as possible.

Image “Santa Cap” by dream designs from

“Translation” – Not Always the Same Thing


Writing things over to another language can be a funny old game sometimes, for the simple reason that culture often intervenes. If there’s a better reason than the following for using a competent German NAATI translator – as opposed to downloading Google Translate – then we’ve yet to come across it.

First attempts to translate Coca-Cola into Chinese became essential after market researchers discovered that the locals interpreted the name as “bite the wax tadpole”. After much prodigious effort translators chose the word ’kokoukole” meaning “happiness in the mouth” instead.

The General Motors name “Nova” means “it doesn’t go” in Spanish-speaking South America. Hopefully the glue they stuck the badges on with wasn’t made in Germany?

Colorado brewers Coors should have been more careful with their Spanish translations too. Their slogan “turn it loose” became “suffer from diarrhoea”.

KFC walked right into it after their media specialist managed to morph their brand into the Chinese equivalent of “eat your fingers off”.

On a lighter note, Frank Perdue’s translators were probably feeling German English Australia Migration Translation Servicechicken after someone mentioned that they’d translated “it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate“.

Please don’t think for a moment that anything similar is possible in the case of our skilled Migration Translators. They’re all highly-educated human beings, and everything is edited twice.

We found the translation blunders on Articles Base. Thanks to Stuart Wilde for the Fox and Chicken.

German Influences in Australia

Australians certainly don’t need our NAATI German-English Translators when it comes to ordering some of their favourite foods. In fact they know exactly what sauerkraut is, and the same is equally true of their favourites mettwurst, blutwurst, leberwurst, and weißwurst.

Germans who first farmed the Barossa Valley had so much influence that at one time their dialect was known as Barossa-Deutsch. Some fragments still remain. When Australians call a 200mm beer glass a butcher, they may not know that it’s a corruption of becher for a cup or mug although it is – and beaker has entered our dictionary as a glass container for mixing liquids in a laboratory.

When today’s inhabitants of the Barossa Valley use the expression “are you coming with” they’re actually harking back to kommst du mit? German English Australia Migration Translation ServiceThis is another excellent example of the durability of the German language.

After you’ve popped by to chat with one of our immigration translations specialists in Sydney, we’ve love to be able to say kommst du mit for a cup of coffee – or even for an Australian pilsener beer in a butcher if that takes your fancy. And that’s just another example of our laid back style. Why don’t you come and join us soon?

With thanks to Culture Concept for the Barossa Vineyard, and the Mercury for the Hobart Café in Tasmania.

The Australian Way of Life

When immigration clients approach us in connection with our NAATI translator service they usually also ask us about Australian living expenses. While it’s easy for us to mention average salaries, this is seldom of much use unless we mention the distribution of average spending too.

When we do so, our clients realise that our outdoor life-style makes a huge difference to how we spend our money. We decided to summarise the main points here.

• We spend 21.95% of disposable inome on rent, which could include mortgage payments or rentals.

German English Australia Translation Service• The next highest amount, believe it or not, is dining out in restaurants at 18.63%, which is not surprising given our fantastic weather.

• Markets comes a close third at 18,32%. This includes all forms of consumption shopping.

• Transport’s the next big-ticket item at 11.48%. This is because we love our big suburban homes in suburbs outside town.

This is followed by a high 10.38% for Utilities, and 4.20% for Clothing and Shoes, with the ubiquitous “Other” (which would include immigration translations) coming in at 9.37%.

In case you wondered, Sports and Leisure accounts for the missing 5.67% (just checking you were concentrating). Australia’s a fun society where we find time to enjoy the great outdoors, and tease each other sometimes too.

If you’re contemplating coming over and require a NAATI translator in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, why nopt give is a call or drop us an email. We’ll be delighted to assist. The graph we used is courtesy of Numbeo.