The Top 6 Languages for World Travel

Once again, travelers and tourists are planning their next overseas trip, where to go, how long they can afford to travel, what to expect and what language they will encounter. If you intend to travel to anywhere where the locals speak a language other than your own, it may be worth spending time learning at least a few words and phrases. The more you master that language, surely the more you will enjoy your travel experience.

The top 6 languages for world travel

1. English 

English may not be spoken by as many people as some other languages such as Chinese or even Spanish, but as an international language, it’s hard to beat. Obviously, if you are reading this blog, you are likely to be an English language speaker anyway, but it’s worth recognizing just how international English has become.

2. Spanish

Like Britain, Spain was once a major colonizer and took its language as part of its domination of parts of the world, especially South and Central America and parts of the Caribbean. If you are traveling to Spain, most of South America, except Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana, and most of Central America, except for Belize, or the Caribbean island nations of Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, you should learn some Spanish. While many European Spanish people routinely speak and understand English, it is rarer for this to be the case in much of Latin America.

3. French

Another former colonial power, France took its language to almost as many countries around the world as Britain, making French a truly useful international language. If you intend to visit France, parts of Switzerland, West and North Africa, and a scattering of islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific, then knowledge of French, however rudimentary, will stand you in good stead.

4. Arabic

Arabic is spoken more widely than you might imagine, making it an important language for some world travelers. Arabic is the main language, or at least the lingua franca, for a whole swathe of countries right across North Africa from Morocco in the west to Egypt in the east and much of the Middle East. While some Arabic-speaking countries might seem to be a no-no as far as tourism is concerned at the moment (Iraq, Syria, or Yemen anyone?), Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and much more recently Saudi Arabia are certainly tourist destinations.

5. Italian and Portuguese

Italy never became much of a colonial power, but the sheer number of attractions in Italy itself has meant that it is still a firm favorite for international tourists and millions pour into Italy every year. Italian is therefore an important language to learn if Italy is a destination. Portuguese is also a useful language to learn, like in Italy, because of the attractions of Portugal itself, which hosts huge numbers of tourists every year. Portugal was once a major European colonial power and its legacy remains in the form of Portuguese being an important language in Brazil, the Cape Verde Islands, Angola, and Mozambique.

6. German

Like Italy, Germany’s colonial ambitions were thwarted quite early on and so German is really only spoken in the European heartland nations of Germany, Austria, and much of Switzerland. Like Italy though, each of these countries is a very important destination for travelers, so learning German is almost a must if that is where you are heading.


Whatever your language credentials, you are advised to seek a professional translator if you need any of your personal documents translated before you set off overseas.

How Do I Get an Australian Parent Visa Exemption?

There are some visas where a travel exemption is now possible to come to Australia and in particular for parents of children who legally reside in Australia as either a citizen or permanent residents.

The updated travel exemption for parents

​From the 21st of October, 2021 parents of both Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents were eligible to file an application for a travel exemption to undertake travel from the 1st November 2021 to Australia. The aim of this according to the then minister for Home Affairs was to fast-track the reuniting of families who have been separated by the pandemic for a long period of time. Many of whom have missed important family events like funerals, weddings, and the births of grandchildren.

These travel exemption applications can be filed through the Department of Home Affairs Travel Exemption Portal. Several parental relationships are permitted, including adoptive, biological, legal, parent-in-law, and step-parent. It is necessary to provide suitable evidence of the parental relationship with a permanent resident or Australian citizen. Parents must be in possession of a valid passport, and vaccination proof before making travel arrangements to enter Australia. Evidence of a parental relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required, with examples of the type of evidence required available on the Department’s website. Parents must also have a valid passport, visa, and proof of vaccination for travel to Australia.

However, from 6th July 2022, all ​travel restrictions have ​changed. Immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident may now travel to Australia without needing a prior assessment of their relationship status, as long as they hold a valid visa and meet all normal border entry requirements.

The Travel Exemptions Portal for parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents is now no longer available because exemptions are no longer required to enter Australia. The requirement is that you hold a valid visa before entering Australia. 

The evidence of parenthood required includes the following:

Evidence proving your adult child is a permanent resident or Australian citizen such as an:

  • Australian passport;
  • Australian citizenship certificate;
  • Australian birth certificate.

Proof of Australian permanent residence in Australia

Proof of the parental relationship you have with the Australian citizen or permanent resident, like:

  • adoption certificate;
  • birth certificate;
  • family status certificate or family book if officially issued and maintained;
  • marriage certificate.

What visa can they apply for?

A visitor visa (subclass 600) is the best choice for parents wishing to visit children in Australia if their nationality means they do not qualify for an ETA or eVisitor visa. The visitor visa attracts a fee of $370 and all nationalities are eligible to apply. You may apply to visit Australia for a 3, 6, or 12 months period with a single entry or multiple entries. Another option is applying for a parent visa which is subclass 870 and is a temporary visa which permits the parents of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand Citizen to reside in Australia for up to between 3 and 5 years. The fee to apply for this type of visa begins at $5,090 for 3 years or $10,180 for 5 years and is open to all nationalities. To apply for this sort of visa, the child who needs to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident is required to sponsor their parents’ application.

What if the documents are not in English?

If the documents proving parenthood are not in English the applicant must use an Australian-based NAATI-accredited translator to get the required translations.

What You Need to Know About Diplomatic Passports in Australia

What is a diplomatic passport?

Most of us ordinary mortals will never hold or even see a diplomatic passport unless employed as an immigration official at a border. There is no choice you can make about having an ordinary or a diplomatic passport. All passports are issued by individual national governments, including diplomatic passports. However, unless you are a representative of your government in its diplomatic service, you will just get an ordinary passport. To be honest, most of the time you ever need a passport, it doesn’t really give you a huge advantage having a diplomatic passport. You are still expected to observe the rules of the country you visit or work in, even if you work in a diplomatic capacity on behalf of your own government.

To clarify what a diplomatic passport is in Australia, note that Australian citizens who are employed in the diplomatic service overseas will be issued diplomatic passports. They will present these when asked to do so or when filling in forms when on active service overseas. If an Australian citizen who is employed as a diplomat in Malaysia decides to have a holiday in Bali or Fiji, it will not be the diplomatic passport used, but an ordinary Australian passport.

On the other hand, those who work in embassies and high commissions in Australia on behalf of their own country’s government will have diplomatic passports issued by their own country. They will be expected to show these when asked to do so in Australia. Unless they are on official government business, holders of diplomatic passports would not normally use their diplomatic passports if visiting another country on unofficial business, e.g. having a holiday.

Who is eligible for a diplomatic passport?

Although issuing diplomatic passports is an affair governed by individual countries, typically only government representatives serving in their country’s diplomatic service will be issued them. In Australia, it is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issues passports of all types, including ordinary passports, emergency passports, and diplomatic or official passports. Typically, in Australia, an application for a diplomatic or official passport would be accepted by the nominating government agency and assessed for eligibility by DFAT before such a passport is issued. DFAT can cancel a diplomatic or official passport if it is detected that the official has used it improperly.

What are the advantages of having a diplomatic passport?

The advantages of using a diplomatic passport are basically to streamline immigration requirements and make travel to and from the countries where diplomatic service is being carried out. The rules about holders of diplomatic passports are made by the individual countries’ governments, not the issuing countries. In Australia, diplomats who hold diplomatic passports must still apply for a diplomatic visa (subclass 955) before arrival in Australia and observe Australian rules and laws.

Many countries provide a level of diplomatic immunity to holders of diplomatic passports. This again depends on the individual countries’ rules but may mean immunity from arrest, prosecution, and searching of home or property. In Australia, as one example, there are three levels of diplomatic immunity. The highest level, the Red card level, provides the greatest immunity, while green card holders, mainly consular staff, have reduced immunity. There may be exceptions to even the highest levels of immunity if the individual’s government agrees that prosecution, e.g. for a grave criminal offense, can proceed.


Diplomatic passports are a category of passports issued by individual countries for their diplomatic staff employed overseas. Most countries accept that these passport holders have slightly different treatment than holders of ordinary passports, although all diplomatic passport holders are expected to apply for the correct visas and observe the rules and laws in the country they have been sent to on behalf of their government. Diplomatic passports may need to be translated to support a visa application. These translations should always be performed by authorized, professional translators.

What Documents Are Required and Need to be Translated to Support a Student Visa Application for Australia?

The Australian Government offers opportunities for overseas to study in the country as long as a student visa has been approved. The visa required will be dependent on how old you are, what type of study you wish to follow, and how long you wish to stay in the country. The most common student visa is subclass 500, regardless of the chosen area of study.

Australia Student Visa Requirements

When you have been accepted to study in Australia you will have to complete a student visa application form. You will be asked to provide translations of your key documents at the time you intend to submit your application.

When submitting your student visa application, you will typically need to show the following first:

  • the electronic confirmation of your enrolment;
  • your passport;
  • your student visa application fee;
  • your statement as a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE);
  • proof that you have the money to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and return airfare to your country of origin;
  • details showing health insurance cover;
  • statement of purpose;
  • passport-size photographs;
  • if you have not yet reached 18 years, you will need also to provide a document showing your parental consent.

Supporting certificates required for  Australia student visa application 

When you  apply for a student visa in Australia, documents that need to be translated before a student visa can be approved for study in Australia include the following depending on your personal situation:

On top of the above basic documents you may be asked to provide translations of the following:

  • change of name certificates (if applicable),
  • identity documents,
  • military certificates,
  • police clearance certificates,
  • proof of de facto relationship such as joint bank account statements,
  • academic records and transcripts.

Any document that you are asked to provide to support your student visa application must be translated by accredited translators who in Australia are called NAATI translators. If any of the documents have been translated in another country apart from Australia then the translator has to provide his or her full name, telephone number, address, and experience and qualifications in the language that has been translated. The migration authorities who handle student visa applications can reject your visa application if any of your translated documents submitted appear to be false.

Certified copies

A certified copy of each original document instead of providing the original documents are normally submitted for all student visa applications. These copies need to be authorized as true copies by someone recognized as legally allowed to do this in your country.

Australian student visa processing time

The framework for processing student visas for Australia has been streamlined recently, but it can still take up to 3 months to obtain a visa. The average Australian student visa processing time is around a month from the date that an application is received. The time for processing depends partly on the type of study, how long the study is for and whether the electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) has been provided. If personal documents that the Department of Home Affairs wants to see, such as health status including health insurance, proof of good character, e.g. no criminal record, and proof of English language ability are missing, then this will inevitably delay the Australian student visa processing time.

Typically, student visas intended for study in the defense sector or for Foreign Affairs take shorter times to process, while visas for postgraduate research take much longer to process.

Australian student visa cost

The Australian student visa cost depends on the student visa subclass and also whether additional visas for family members are needed. The cost of a student visa for someone intending to study in the defense sector is nil, while student visa (subclass 500) costs are currently Aus $650 per student and $485 for adult accompanying family members such as a spouse. Visas for family members under 18 are $160, unless the main applicant is applying for a student visa to carry out postgraduate research. Student guardians (subclass 590) also pay $650 for a visa, but family members’ visas are free.


Documents must be translated by a trusted translating institution and must be recognized by Australian Immigration officials.


Common Situations When Families Need Translations

One of the commonest reasons for families requiring translations is when they migrate to another country. Most immigration authorities require that all key documents related to the family need to be provided with a translation if these documents are not in the same official language as the country in which the migrants are intending to live in. This includes translations of the following:

In Australia, as with most other countries, translations of all key family-held documents will need to be accompanied by a signed and certified translation. Failure to do this can delay a migration application and if it involves starting a new job the main applicant may be rejected if the immigration process is far too slow. There is a lot at stake if you do not get the right translations for the documents required to get your new immigration status approved.

Translations for families arriving in Australia

No one is permitted to enter Australia without a visa, whether it is for visiting Australia on a tourist visa, for permanent residency, a bridging visa, a visa for employment purposes, or a working holiday visa. The Australian Government will only accept the English language for the documents that are required for entry into the country for both individuals and families.
All translations of documents required to get a visa must be performed by an approved professional translator who has NAATI accreditation. NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters and it is responsible for ensuring that translators reach a high standard before being accredited.

The process used for translating visa application documents for families.

Because most documents required to support a visa application are legal documents it is always better to get a professional legal translator to perform the translations. This means a human translator, not an online tool that specifies it undertakes translations of legal documents. These sorts of translations are notorious for providing inaccurate translations of documents which if used will lead to delays in your and your family’s move to Australia.

Legal documents depend on accurate translations which are usually word-for-word translations. As Australian immigration officials require that every part of a legal document is translated including seals and watermarks it is important to get a legal translator to do the work as he or she will be familiar with the seals and watermarks found on your legal documents. The translator will then certify and sign the translation and state that it is an accurate translation.

If any translated document that you are required to provide for you and your family for visas to if it has not been certified by a professional legal translator your application will be rejected leading to long delays while you sort out your translation problems.

Other reasons why families may need translations

If you have just arrived in Australia and your family is not fully fluent in English, they may need translations related to education and health provision in Australia. Most of the states provide key documents in these areas translated into a whole range of languages. However, if you find some important information that has not been translated into your language you can request a translation from the state you live in. You can also request an interpreter if you are visiting a healthcare provider or your child’s school. An interpreter will help you to communicate with these agencies and will ensure that miscommunication does not take place.

Some Tips for De Facto Visa Document Translations

Are you applying for a visa for Australia as a de facto partner of an Australian citizen or resident? The process can be painstakingly slow and complicated when you do it yourself, especially if you need many visa document translations because your native language is not English. Here are some tips to help you through the process.

The most important piece of advice is to know exactly what documents you need to provide and how recent they must be. The worst part of applying for a de facto visa is that it can take a long time gathering all the relevant documents – especially if you have spent time living or working in more than one country because you will need police checks and maybe fingerprints from each one. These can get “out of date” before everything has been translated and sent to the Department of Immigration and Border Control.

Continue reading “Some Tips for De Facto Visa Document Translations”

Chinese Business Visa Applicants to Australia will Need a Certified Translation Service

Recently, Scott Morrison, the Australian immigration minister, and Andrew Robb, the trade minister, have announced that business visas for Chinese citizens will now last for a three year period and will have multiple entry status so that the businessmen may enter freely as many times as they wish in the three year time span.

The idea behind the change is to increase trade between Australia and China. Up to now, business visas have been issued for only 12 months. Australia has also increased the number of flights between Australia and China in an attempt to boost trade. In order for a Chinese person to successfully fill in a visa application he or she will need to find a certified translation service with the ability to effectively translate documents from Chinese to English and vice versa.

In January of this year 80,000 visas were issued to Chinese business travellers.

Chinese business travellers are pleased to see these positive changes and all they need to do is ensure all their supporting documentation is translated correctly through a reputable visa documents translation service. Once this has been done and the visa approved business will become much easier.

Australia is lucky to be in the same time zone as China which is great for business and if a Chinese businessman is visiting Melbourne he or she can get important business documents translated with no time wasted and pick them up from the translator Melbourne on arrival at the airport.

The government is not just considering China in its list of countries for business visas but is soon to extend the privilege to other countries. Australia is keen to develop trade overseas as fast as possible to give a boost to the economy.