Visa Documents Translations – Have NAATI Accredited Translator Will Travel

Getting a travel visa can be the final step in a process and it’s possibly the most important step of all, otherwise all your preparation will have been for nothing.  With this in mind it’s worth taking the time to get it right.  Using a translator in Melbourne or any other major city will help to make the process go more smoothly.  Here are some key points to remember.

Get the right visa.

Most countries have different visas for different purposes, including Australia.  In many cases it’s obvious what type of visa you need, but sometimes it is less so, for example, if your trip will combine study with work experience with travel.  If in doubt, seek professional advice.

Understand the questions

Some questions on the visa form are standard, basic, information, like name and date of birth.  Other questions require you to complete information more fully.  These latter questions tend to play a critical role in your visa application so make sure that you understand them completely.  If need be have them translated into your own language before answering them.

Answer all questions full and truthfully

Never, ever, give in to the temptation to be economical with the truth when filling in a visa application form.  The simple truth of the matter is that you are far more likely to be caught out than to get a way with it, particularly in these days of cross-checking between computer databases.  There are plenty of daytime TV shows which feature people being denied entry to a country because immigration officials at the point of entry realized that there were inaccuracies on their visa application, don’t let that be you.  If there are likely to be any issues of concern with your visa application, it is far better to give an explanation of them on the form and be prepared for an interview in the embassy in your home country, than to give an evasive answer and hope for the best.

Lost in translation: Eight of our favourite untranslatables!

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a document translation company, a concept we find particularly interesting is that of untranslatability. By this, we mean a single word in one language, for which no equivalent single word exists in another language. Everything is translatable, to a certain extent, but it’s these unique words with no precise one-to-one counterpart, that often give a fascinating insight into another country or culture, and their way of thinking.

A NAATI accredited translator is, of course trained and qualified to find the most effective and appropriate way of phrasing something when writing a translation, even if it isn’t necessarily word-for-word. Sometimes, though, the word itself is so distinctive and expressive, it’s almost a shame to spoil it by translating it! There are lots of these ‘untranslatable’ words in existence; here are a few of our favorites…
•    Iktsuarpok (Inuit) “The feeling of anticipation leading you to go outside and check if anyone is coming.”

•    Tartle (Scottish) “The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.”

•    Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese) “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”

•    Tingo (Pascuense – Easter Island) “The act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”

•    Ya’aburnee (Arabic) “A declaration of a person’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.”

•    Gheegle (Filipino) “The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.”

•    Pochemuchka(Russian) “A person who asks too many questions.”

•    Waldeinsamkeit (German) “The feeling of being alone in the woods.”

This list is by no means definitive; it’s been no easy task narrowing it down to a just a small selection. Some of these are particularly suggestive of the values and unique way of living in certain cultures. If you want the very best standards in your translation, engage the services of a NAATI translator through a certified translation service, so you can be sure none of the meaning gets lost in translation.

Keeping Translations On Target

Back in the 1950s, IBM calculated that translating a short piece of text required more than double the number of computing instructions needed to simulate a guided missile in flight. While computing power has increased literally exponentially since then, improvements in machine translation have not kept pace. That there have certainly been improvements is beyond doubt. When Google translate first started, its attempts at translation were the stuff of legend. Now, for simple phrases, it has a decent chance of getting a close match. Ironically these improvements have come about since Google stopped trying to teach its system how to speak a language. Instead, Google Translate now looks through literally hundreds of millions of websites to find possible matches and uses a complex algorithm to pick the best.

Even with all these improvements, Google translate still regularly produces some questionable results. The most common issue of all is with words which have multiple meanings. Ship, for example, can be a noun or a verb. “Ship it!” can also be a slang expression. In translation context is crucial and computers still are nowhere close to grasping the full complexity of any human language.

Efforts to continue to improve machine translation are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The simple reality is that it’s much cheaper than using a human and for content which dates quickly may eventually be a cost-effective solution. For work which is expected to have a long-term impact, however, a human translator is a necessity. A NAATI accredited translator offering a certified translation service will not only produce a document which conveys the meaning of the source text, but will also ensure that any cultural requirements are accommodated. A Chinese NAATI translator for example, will be familiar with customs both in China and in the country (or countries) of their target language and will be able to ensure that any implicit assumptions are conveyed.

Translation And The Rise Of The Machines

Computers have undoubtedly changed the world, although often not in the ways people initially imagined.  IBM for example confidently predicted a world where computers would be better than humans in numerous ways.  Their famous Deep Blue computer finally best chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, although that game was far from without controversy as there was human intervention between games, and IBM declined Kasparov’s demand for a rematch, retiring the machine.

While Deep Blue has become a matter of legend, another IBM creation, computer 701 has been quietly forgotten.  Sixty years ago this year, IBM used 701 to translate sentences from Russian to English.  This promptly led to headlines suggesting that human translators would soon be surplus to requirements.  Without wishing to detract from the significance of IBM’s achievement, neither they nor any of the many companies now offering machine translation, not even Google, have come close to replacing humans.  It’s also worth noting, that Google Translate has had a huge degree of input from humans.  While, in fairness, it’s probably helped many a lost backpacker read local signs, it’s unlikely that any respectable company would use it for any significant piece of translation.

Machine translation is largely based on statistical matches and as any good statistician would admit, statistics don’t always tell the whole story.  A NAATI-accredited translator offering a certified translation service will look at a piece of text in context.  A Chinese NAATI translator for example will be familiar both with Chinese culture and the culture of the target language country.  This means that they can deal both with the translatable and the untranslatable, words and broader concepts that simply do not exist in the target language.  This may mean creating a piece of text where they are explained as no direct translation is possible.

Translating The Untranslatable – The Art And Science Of Capturing Different Worlds

Everyone can spot a tourist.  Even if they know exactly where they’re going.  Even if they speak the language fluently.  Everyone can spot a tourist because they just don’t get the little details that the locals do.  They don’t understand the unwritten rules that the locals instinctively follow.  Pick up any piece of non-technical writing written for any given country and the chances are, it’s full of references that the locals will absorb without a second thought, but which will baffle foreigners.  A translator, therefore, in a sense takes on the role of tour guide, leading the reader through this new world.

Take Christmas for example.  Mention the word to anyone from the northern hemisphere and the chances are it will conjure up the sort of “White Christmas” images familiar to anyone who’s watched Hollywood films.  Mention it to someone from the southern hemisphere and it may well conjure up images of trips to the beach.  Mention it to someone from a country where Christmas is not celebrated and, depending on the person’s background, the expression may be meaningless, or it may trigger images from Hollywood culture.  It is exactly these cultural differences – and how to convey them to an audience unfamiliar with them – which challenge literary translators.

Although document translation may seem a more mundane form of translation, making effective use of language translation services can make the difference between a piece of writing being understandable and a piece of writing presenting a professional image.  The internet is full of the most blatant examples of poor translation, which for practical purposes generally means using a budget translator as opposed to a NAATI accredited translator, some of which have generated publicity the businesses in question would presumably have preferred to avoid.  While these are, by definition, exceptional blunders, even in technical writing, there are terms that need skill to translate, if embarrassment is to be avoided.

A Home Without Rent?

The idea behind the working holiday visa is to allow people to explore and experience Australia, paying their way as they go.  Many travellers go about this task the conventional way of finding a job and a place to live within travelling distance of the job, but there are other approaches.  House-sitting is a popular service in Australia as in other countries and is often facilitated by agencies charging minimal fees.  Most stays are short-term (to cover holidays for example), although some can be for longer, for example to cover a family travelling abroad.  Liking animals is often a distinct advantage since people often use house-sitters as a way to avoid having to put pets into boarding kennels.  Generally speaking there’s nothing to stop the sitter having a job as well, just as long as their able to take care of whatever other duties are agreed.  For those interested in going down this route, it’s particularly important to use a certified translation service for document translation since home owners are generally very eager to check the credentials of the person who will be living in their family home.  Using a NAATI accredited translator will ensure that documents are accurate and give the best possible impression.