Always laughing off the horrendous subtitles as you watch a show? Do you know the Top 3 Challenges of Subtitling!

Leave a comment


Do you over rely on the subtitles when watching movie, drama or other videos?  How many times have you got scratch your head and ponder if the subtitles are indeed reflecting what the foreign actress is talking? Subtitling is one effort that is highly reliant  on human translators rather than machine translation.  No one will be satisfied by watching a movie with subtitles which  are coupled with literal subtitles.  But yet, for us to view the 3 seconds of text displayed, takes much arduous effort to put things together.

Today, we will give you a clear understanding of the top 3 challenges which translators will face on subtitling.

Time (much more than we expect!)

Subtitling requires lots of time, energy and patience to ensure you are reading what is an accurate reflection of the speeches Generally, the process of subtitling takes 10 times longer the actual show runtime. Take 90 minute length of the movie as an example; it requires almost 20 good hours to ensure the subtitles are inserted at the correct timing, and not including the pre-works and any other post-production efforts.  And to translate the sentences, very often the translator will have to listen repeatedly to get the correct messages across to other foreign language version.  It is definitely a big challenge for a project manager to take charge of a subtitling case; he must always put his eyes on each stage of it.


Cultural difference is also a consideration for translators.  They cannot just translate the meaning from the original source directly; localization is a fundamental element should be applied on subtitling. Jokes, slangs, idioms connect with culture strongly; audiences with different cultural background have difficulties to capture the meaning behind the story. Under the cultural limitation, translators should inspire their creativity to make the subtitles more engaging instead of translating cultural jokes or idioms directly.


The synchronization is one of most crucial challenge for subtitling. When synchronizing the subtitles on the audio track, the translated content should be less than 2 lines per screen.  The optimal line length should be around 50- 75 characters per line which includes spaces; otherwise, the audience will unable to catch the meaning from translation shortly. In this way, translators should keep concisely in their work and makes it more readable for target audiences.

We at Scribers believe a movie with excellent subtitles will help your video to engage more audiences. To find out more about our subtitling service, please do not hesitate to log on to! We look forward to hearing from you soon!

6 Steps to complete your document translation

Leave a comment


Step 1 Client confirmation

Our project consultants are actively listening to your needs and assist in any  clarifications that you need.

In our “Big 3 Promises”, your enquiries will be answered within 30 minutes in the working hours. Once your requirements are firm, please send your source document via our E-Quote system .  Please try your best to fill in as much detail as you can, and if possible please do upload your document  and our project consultant will be able to provide you with a precise costing. Every single document or information you provide to us is confidential and limited access for certain project team, so please rest assured!

Step 2 Terminology Research

Before we start translating your source document, the Project Manager and assigned team members will embark on the necessary research to build up a relevant glossary for  terminology database. In order to support translation excellence in your document, Scribers applies SDL Trados technology on each translation project. In this way, we can ensure the consistency of terms and stylistics  of every translated document you have.

Step 3 Translation

Each document translation will be assigned to our professional translator who has experience in the relevant field. Translation accuracy is the most priority we concerned; hence we will match a linguist with qualified education background and appropriate field in the mega Scribers’ translator pool. By doing thing, we can ensure the quality and efficiency of work. Step 4 Quality Check by Linguists

Once your document has been translated, it will go to the next process- proofreading and editing. Our proofreader will scrutinize the accuracy and appropriateness of the translated document to ensure the flawless translation in the foreign language.  Meanwhile, our editor will compare the source document word by word to ensure the consistency in both documents. Editors and proofreaders have to pass a series of stringent test regularly and each of them is highly respected in the relevant industry. At Scribers, we offer the free unlimited free re-editing service; in this way, we are confident to guarantee you a 100% satisfaction.

Step 5 Layout Editing & Cosmetic Checks by Engineers

In this stage, your translated document is nearly 90% of complementation. After the step 4 is completed and if you are happy with it, the DTP engineer will transfer the content on to the required layout and ensure the translated work without word segmentations. Our desktop engineers are extremely efficient and meticulous and able to deliver high quality work that is in line with your required layout and style.

Step 6 Project Delivery

At Scribers, our project managers control every detail in the whole process of document translation. Under the tight time frames and high stress level, they guide the team to execute the work in an accurate manner and stick on the Scribers’ ABC principle of service excellence. We commit each document translation you assign to us will be delivered within the deadlines and surpass your expectations. Meanwhile, we appreciate to get feedbacks in return; indeed, we believe your comment is the source to make us stronger and better in the near future!

Have You Ever Heard Transcreation Before? A Great Service Helps you to Reach Customers’ hearts!

Leave a comment


The term “transcreation” can be traced back to 1990s. Transcreation is a combined term from translation and creation. Language service providers may also label it as creative translation, localization, internationalization and cultural adaptation. No matter what it is called, the purpose of transcreation is to retain the essential meaning of the original source and localize the translated content to engage local customers.

You might ask what kind of consideration should be taken during transcreation? Basically, local culture, dialects, idioms and context are fundamental factors. However, apart from having a substantial knowledge of the local linguistic environment, translators also maintain and match the consistency of intent, tone and style with the original source. Thus, transcreation service surpasses machine translation; it is human translation which processes and produces a high level of creative language.  Transcreators need to be adventurous in order to create a new message and localize the new content, while taking a full consideration of the aforementioned facets to overcome the cultural and language barriers.  A perfect transcreation should evoke the same emotion and carry the same intended meaning for the local target audiences.

To put it simply, transcreation service is like serving a cocktail. Transcreators add translation and creative copywriting into the cocktail shaker and shake it, after which they have to ensure that this new transcreation will catch  the local customers’ attention and reach their hearts. At Scribers, our translators possess expertise in marketing and copywriting.  We are confident  in conveying  your messages more enjoyably and stylishly across the world.

Pic source:

Why We Only Hire Experienced DTP Engineer?

Leave a comment


Desktop publishing (DTP) is an essential service in enhancing the overall translation process. DTP comes in handy especially when the format of the source document is not actually the “source” but has been passed around various parties before reaching our DTP team. This can be observed from the low resolution of the document, which has been scanned from a hard copy that may not even be the original document. The DTP engineer will have to refine the words and/or images by enhancing the resolution. This step is extremely crucial in facilitating translation since the DTP engineer will be able to generate a word document format for the translator. Therefore, the translator can avoid the fuss and hassle of ensuring that the right expressions or words are used in the “source document”.

DTP is extremely important especially when it concerns translating English to a language without word segmentations (such as Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese etc.). This is because the DTP engineer extracts English phrases or sentences and generates a bilingual word document file (it looks like an excel spreadsheet) to facilitate translation. After the translation is completed, the client will be a in a better position to judge the intended meaning and style of the translation; instead of viewing the translation in big chunks without knowing where the word segmentations are.

In conclusion, source documents can come in any other formats apart from a word document format; PDF, scanned images, etc. After the translation is completed and if the client is satisfied with it, the DTP engineer will then transfer the translated content on to the required layout. This is done according to the original layout of the source document; catalogue, certificate, etc.

Our DTP engineers are extremely efficient and churn out high quality work that is in line with the client’s required layout dimensions and style. Do not hesitate to explore Scribers’ DTP service on! We hope to hear from you soon!

More Than You Know – Proofreading & Copyediting



Proofreading is sometimes referred to as copyediting although both are not interchangeable. There may be some similarity between these two functions, but the scopes of proofreading and copyediting differ to quite an extent. On a work flow, copyediting usually occurs before proofreading. When copyediting is carried out, the copyeditor generally improves on the formatting, accuracy and writing style of the copy. Generally, copyediting pertains to correcting spelling, punctuation, grammar, jargons and semantics according to the publisher’s style or an external style guide. Copyeditors are responsible in ensuring that the text has a good flow and legal problems have been addressed prior to publication. If there are unclear areas or expressions in the text, the copyeditor should seek clarification with the writer. Therefore, the copyeditor is often the alternative person who has access to the entire text apart from the writer. Copyeditors sometimes possess other relevant skills such as copy design, desktop publishing (DTP) as well as interpersonal skills in dealing with writers, designers and clients.

On the contrary, proofreaders hardly have any editorial or managerial responsibilities; their main task lies in seeking clarification with writers or editors. Proofreaders are also less likely to focus on the creative writing aspect of copy and they usually adhere to strict copy-following guidelines that are in line with the commercial or government proofreading requirements. In other words, proofreaders would find themselves in the less creative camp, as opposed to copyeditors, when it comes to tidying up the copy before publication. Even though the scope of proofreading may dull in comparison, proofreading highlights the importance of checking one’s material. Some proofreading examples include job seekers’ resumes, research papers etc. Under tight time frames and high stress levels, writers and/or editors may overlook certain errors because they are too familiar with their own copy. Therefore, proofreading is critical because proofreaders see only what they wish to focus on.

Proofreaders and copyeditors are important assets to the client and project, not only in terms of creative writing but also in making sure that the copy is presented in an accurate manner that does not confuse or mislead the target audience. To read more about our proofreading and copyediting services, do feel free to log on to for more information! We look forward to hearing from you soon!

What is Copywriting? And Why You Should Care?

Leave a comment


Copywriting involves developing and turning ideas into strong messages that encourage the target audience to interact with a particular brand. A copy can come in many different forms; traditional (print) and non-traditional (digital). Additionally, a copy can take on different content types; informational, educational, marketing etc. Most copywriters are employed by public relations firms, advertising agencies, book publishers and magazines. They fall under the creative department and work closely with the senior copywriters, editors and art directors. Thinking and generating ideas require full concentration and hard work; therefore, many copywriters do not double up at work; doing sales and administrative work apart from copywriting, copyediting etc.

The copywriter takes ownership of the advertisement’s ultimate core message in terms of style, tone and word choice. By taking charge of this responsibility, the copywriter needs to be sensitive, sharp-minded and build rapport with client in order to grasp the motivations of the client’s goals, which is definitely a lot more helpful than knowing what the firm does. After numerous interactions with the client, the copywriter also needs to be self-motivated enough to consistently hone his or her skills in creating new content and refining existing content. This includes conducting research on novel topics, unfamiliar jargons, target audience etc. Copywriting requires huge flexibility when it comes to adapting to different writing styles as the world becomes more digitalized; messages can reach a lot more people, as opposed to traditional print media in the past.  Copywriting is no longer relegated to merely spreading brand awareness; bolstering a certain brand image requires copywriters to re-evaluate the competitive market, remove stale advertising tactics and reinvent fresh pitching that is unique and impactful.

Against the backdrop of this ever changing creative scene, business longevity is gradually fading. Engaging good copywriters and creatives become critical as companies strategize to stay relevant and competitive. Many of us have witnessed the decline of former established firms such as Kodak, Borders and CD stores while decade old organizations such as Google and Facebook continue to keep up with customer-centric and media-sensitive phenomena.

We at Scribers believe that content writing is an essential asset to many businesses today. As companies strive to keep up with the changing times, they are turning their attention to copywriting as a form of keeping the target audience engaged and interested in their line of services and/or products. To find out more about our copywriting service, please do not hesitate to log on to! We look forward to hearing from you soon!


3 Most Asked Questions About Transcription

Leave a comment


Transcription can be understood in two ways – in a linguistics or business sense. In linguistics, transcription is a representation of speech in written form. This is especially important in methodologies involving research on phonetics, conversation analysis, sociolinguistics etc. Transcription can also capture speech nuances by following the phonetic transcription systems which are based on the International Phonetic Alphabets (IPA).

However, in a business sense, transcription focuses less on this aspect since the importance lies in converting speech into a written document. This differs from representing speech in a scientific manner for research purposes (transcription in linguistics).

The next question that you might ask would be the people who request for transcription service.  Our clients typically hail from the legal sector since transcribed materials are frequently produced as court evidence. Apart from transcribing legal materials, we also cover audio recordings for conferences or high profile events. Our transcription assignments are not limited to English, there are times when we need to transcribe a foreign language audio clip into English or vice versa.

Due to the importance of our transcription assignments, we ensure that speech is accurately presented in a written format – our transcribers make an effort to listen out for unclear words or expressions against background noise in the audio recordings. We even go the extra mile of ensuring that punctuation and text organization are consistent, neat and comprehensive for our clients. Do refer to our previous blog posts on “The Power of Punctuation (I)”, “The Power of Punctuation (II)” and “10 Tips Guide You How to Write in Style”  to get a better idea of how we structure our transcription deliverables. Log on to to explore our transcription service!

Do words need a break?

Leave a comment


Word segmentation is informally known as “word breaks”. When translating from English to Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Thai, the absence of a salient word segmentation process may worry clients.  Segmentation basically refers to dividing a string of utterance. For instance, word segmentation would imply dividing a string of words. In English, word segmentation is easily observed from spaces between words. However, this is not the case for languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Thai.

When translating from English to any one of the aforementioned languages, clients might have difficulty typesetting the translation; fitting the expressions into the design layout since they are unaware of the word segmentations. For instance, the translated noun might not make sense without a case marker (ga, de, ni etc.) in Japanese or the translated verb might not make sense without a sentence final particle (le, ma, guo etc.) in Chinese. Hence, it is very critical to know where the word boundaries are, in order to match the meaning of the target text to the source text.

Fret not with Scribers! We resolve this mind boggling issue by ensuring that word breaks are addressed in a comprehensive manner for our clients. Our clients would be able to recognize word breaks and seek clarification with our translators if required. Apart from this, we also provide typesetting service that weaves in the translated expressions seamlessly, giving our clients an ease of mind when they engage our holistic translation and localization service. Log on to to begin your stress-free journey with us!

0 to 10, How Much Do You Understand “Interpretation” ?

Leave a comment


We hope our previous post on translation has given readers new insights on the importance of considering cultural and linguistic elements during the translation process. Today, we are going to discuss another important topic – interpretation.

There are generally two types of interpretation – consecutive interpretation (CI) and simultaneous interpretation (SI). The terms might have given you some clues about the distinction between CI and SI. For CI, it allows some time lag for the interpreter to make notes or jot down crucial points before transferring the meaning and gist into speech. However, for SI, it is definitely a lot more demanding and exhausting because it only allows an extremely short length of time lag – less than five seconds or half a sentence.

Many of you might overlook the high stress level involved in an SI assignment. Unlike CI interpreters, SI interpreters have to work in pairs or even in groups of 3 or more, depending on the nature of the conference or event. SI interpreters have to be spot on in terms of timing themselves as well as conveying the meaning of the source language. In other words, CI interpreters are given the opportunity to re-interpret when they wish to further refine the interpretation. On the contrary, SI interpreter do not have this advantage even if they wish to polish their interpretation. We also have to keep in mind that both CI and SI interpreters are not interpreting word for word; they have to keep in mind two different sentence structures and vocabularies. This further elevates the challenge of delivering a perfect interpretation for SI interpreters.

At Scribers, you can rest assured that our pool of CI and SI interpreters is well-trained with vast work experience. Some of them are not only bilingual but trilingual, or even multilingual. Being well versed in more than two languages gives the interpreter a winning edge in perceiving nuances across languages in a more sensitive light. Feel free to log on to for more details on our interpretation service!

What is Linguistic Untranslatability?



What is the difference between translation and interpretation? The difference is very straightforward. Translation is written while interpretation is oral. Our blog topic today touches on the former and its importance in the globalized world that we live in right now. When translating, translators represent the conduit of passing information back and forth, from language source to language source. This involves understanding cultural and linguistic elements of both languages. This understanding is critical because untranslatability can happen due to different reasons.

For linguistic translatability to occur, languages must share common linguistic expression so that the same meaning is retained. For instance, Mandarin speakers tend to greet people by saying, “你吃飽了嗎?” which literally means “Have you eaten?”. Even though the Mandarin greeting can be easily translated into English – “Have you eaten?”, the same meaning (of greeting people) is not evoked in English. To English speakers, this might sound odd because they would probably perceive as an invitation to have a meal. However, when translated into Cantonese, the oddity would not be reflected since Cantonese speakers also adopt the same manner of greeting people by saying, “你食咗飯未啊?”. Hence, linguistic untranslatability occurs in English but not in Cantonese. Apart from greetings, linguistic untranslatability can also happen in metaphors and jokes.

Cultural untranslatability occurs when languages do not share a common cultural understanding. This is especially conspicuous when it comes to food culture and onomatopoeia. As mentioned in our previous blog post, onomatopoeia differs across languages – some meaning might be lost during translation because languages such as Japanese places more emphasis on onomatopoeic expressions, as opposed to Swedish or Spanish. Another stark example of cultural untranslatability would be translating the Indian food item, “thosai”. In English, this food item can be simply put across as “Indian pancake”. However, the cultural representation of this “Indian pancake” to English speakers differs from “thosai” since “pancake” is inferred as something “that is soft and tastes like flour”. According to Indians, “thosai” is however, not soft and tastes slightly sour due to fermentation. Hence, cultural untranslatability can occur because of the absence of a specific cultural representation in the target language.

In conclusion, as much as translators strive to retain the meaning and evoke the same reaction in their target readers, it is not surprisingly that the translated word is not a 100 percent representative of the source word. In academic terms, there is no 100 percent transfer of meaning, only high equivalence is possible – retaining as much as meaning as possible. This skill is thus, delegated to the translators. Expertise and experience are two very important prerequisites of producing good pieces of translated work. At Scribers, our translators are not only fluent and competent in two or more languages, but also take linguistic nuances very seriously. As a quality service provider of translation, we ensure that we keep up with the latest trends in linguistic and cultural expressions across languages and industries. We strive to maximize our customer satisfaction and take pride in our flawless track record.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: