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

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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

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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!

What do we learn from “Old McDonald Had a Farm”?

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Do you still remember the children’s song “Old McDonald Had a Farm”? In this song, we can learn many animal’s sound from dogs to donkeys. When teaching children a new language, we might start from mimicking animal sounds which is easier to remember and pronounce. Indeed, there are some “universal” animal sounds. Take turkey’s sound as an example, it’s “glou glou” in French and Greek, “clou clou” in Spanish, “glu glu” in Turkish. But for some animal sounds, it got some variation across different languages. Let’s take a look, see how various languages interpret the noises that different creatures make around the world.

  Image DogEnglish = Woof WoofSpanish =  Gua Gua

Swedish = Vov Vov

French = Ouah Ouah

Chinese = Wang Wang

 Image CatEnglish = MeowJapanese = Nyan

German = Maiu

Danish = Maiv

Turkish = Mijav

Image PigEnglish = Oink OinkFrench = Groin Groin

Japanese = Boo Boo

Greman = Grunz

Dutch = Knor Knor

Image BirdEnglish = TweetJapanese = Pii Pii

French = Cui Cui

Greek = Tschiwitt

Turkish =  Juyk Juyk

Image CowEnglish =  MooJapanese =  Mau Mau

Dutch =  Boe

French = Meuh

Turkish = Mooo

 burrowing_owl_by_dingo84dogs-d5u1m7i OwlEnglish = Hoo HooFinish = Huhuu

French = Hou Hou

Russian = Uh Uh Uh

Turkish = Uuu Uuu

Image DuckEnglish = Quack QuackDanish = Rap Rap

Greek =  Pa Pa Pa

French = Coin Coin

Spanish = Cua Cua

Image SheepEnglish = BaaJapanese = Meh Meh

Spanish = Bee Bee

Turkish = Maeh Maeh

Greek = Mae-ee

However, when translating these interesting phrases which interpret the sound; things become not interesting at all, especially for some animal sounds are not universal. We believe that the translating Onomatopoeia article we told before gives you a fully understanding. We hope you likes today’s article and get a free E-quote from Scribers for your next translation!






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95% of Estée Lauder lovers prefer “雅诗兰黛” as an Official Chinese Name (II)

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The excerpt above portrays the impact official Chinese brand names have on Chinese consumers. There is a stronger tendency for Chinese consumers to develop brand loyalty and great interest when “brand representation” is made accessible. This accessibility can be facilitated by “name recall” in Chinese which is a lot easier for Chinese native speakers, as opposed to “name recall” in French or English. For instance, if a brand is represented by its Chinese name –雅诗兰黛, rather than its French name – Estée Lauder, the brand’s presence not only becomes more salient but also makes information about it more accessible to the target audience.

In figure 1, it is shown that Estée Lauder’s official Chinese name (雅诗兰黛) generally results in more searches on the search engine than Gucci’s original name. This outcome can also be attributed to the branding efforts of Estée Lauder as its official Chinese is frequently and effectively conveyed to the target audience. In short, this effect could be replicated for Gucci searches only if its Chinese official name resonated more with the target audience. In Figure 2, this resonance plays a contributing factor in determining consumer preference in terms of product popularity and preference. Going back to the comparison between Estée Lauder and Gucci, it is not surprising that the former would rank higher than the latter. Although the overall searches for Estée Lauder and Gucci does not have a huge difference – 95% as opposed to 63% in Figure 1, Figure 2 magnifies and reflects the power of breaking down language barriers. Therefore, effective branding plays a vital role in the competitive Chinese market.




Estée Lauder



95% (雅诗兰黛)



29% (古奇/古琦)

8% (古驰)

*Figure 1















Estée Lauder



Louis Vuitton






Mercedes Benz

梅赛德斯 奔驰























Land Rover



*Figure 2


Although today’s discussion focuses on the luxury brand market, effective branding remains a powerful tool in making your business competitive and appealing to the target audience, regardless of the product or service type. This article basically aims to draw correlations between language barriers and consumer psychology.  According to Figure 1, having a brand name that resonates with the target audience goes a long way in strengthening brand awareness which in turn, results in growing popularity and revenue for firms, as exhibited in Figure 2. We hope today’s article has given you insights on the power of localizing your brand image; which often begins with finding the right name. If you wish to venture into the Chinese market or expand your pool of Chinese clientele, please do not hesitate to log on to for more information on localization services!


Why You Should Have A Chinese Name For Your Brand? (I)

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Many Chinese luxury brand consumers today are shifting their perspectives and finding new ways to flaunt wealth in style. Established brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton are fast becoming a trendy thing of the past while smaller niche brands like Chanel are gaining momentum in the luxury brand market. Chinese consumers are no longer satisfied with hogging brands that namesake one another; they now see luxury brands as reflecting one’s personal taste and sophistication.

While this cultural sophistication is indicative of a growing cultural proximity between Chinese and Western consumers, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The purchasing inclinations of the Chinese consumers exhibit unique preferences that differ from their Western counterparts. This spells new business opportunities and growth for brands that desire to build rapport with Chinese consumers. However, it is critical to understand consumer psychology in order to bolster brand awareness. Businesses can start strategizing by ensuring that their brand name create a lasting imprint on the target audience.

Studies have shown that language barrier is a significant factor in branding and this phenomenon is reflected in how Chinese consumers check out luxury brands on search engines:

“Language barriers continue to create complexities between Chinese consumers and Western luxury brands. Almost 40% of searches are for either non-official or original brand names, whilst the remaining searches are for their official Chinese name.”

Echo Zhiyue Zhou (周之悅)

China Digital Strategist, Digital Luxury Group

(To be continued)

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

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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.

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Why We Only Hire Experienced DTP Engineer?

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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 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.

10 Tips Guide You How to Write in Style

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Formal writing might not come as second nature to many, but there are some simple tips to get rid of these writing woes as far as basic formatting is concerned. Not being able to format your writing would probably leave the reader uninterested and annoyed. The lack of standardization might also imply the disregard towards the target audience as well as the nature of the document or report. It is important to be consistent once you have adopted a particular style of formal writing. This allows the reader to better understand and retain the content of your document. Below are some useful points to take note before you begin to produce or edit a formal document.

1)      First and foremost, whole numbers which are smaller than 10 should be spelt out. In other words, numbers one to nine should not be written as 1 or 7 in formal writing.

2)      If whole numbers are to be spelt out, numbers which do not belong to this category do not have to be spelt out. Values such as 3.5 or 0.5 do not have to be spelt out like three point five or zero point five.

3)      However, as mentioned earlier on, it is important to stick to a particular formal writing style from the beginning to the end of the document. There is really no standard spelling rule for numbers. For example, some writers or editors might adhere to the first rule above, however some might feel otherwise – one-word number should be spelt out instead. For instance, twenty instead of 20 or thirty instead of 30.

4)      Please use a comma if your document involves huge values. For example, in English, the comma is regarded as a thousands separator (886, 000 “eight hundred and eighty-six thousand”) while the period is understood as a decimal separator. However, take note that in Europe, this is exactly the other way round – the comma acts as a decimal separator while the period acts as a thousands separator!

5)      Centuries and decades should be spelt out. For example, seventies or twentieth century.

6)      Values which have been rounded off should be written in a numeral-plus-word format. For instance, about 5 billion or an estimated 20 million.

7)      When two numbers are written next to each other such as 2 15-year-olds, it can appear a tad odd and confusing. In this case, write 2 as two and the phrase becomes two 15-year-olds.

8)      When addressing people formally such as sir or madam, the first letter only needs to be in upper case when it is placed before the addressee’s name or when it appears at the start of a sentence.

9)      In formal writing, please refrain from using the percent sign %.  It should be spelt out as percent. For example, 20%  becomes 20 percent or twenty percent, depending on your preference (this brings us back to the third rule).

10)   Last but not least, please ensure that there is consistency once you have adopted a particular formal writing style. For instance, please do not write 20 boys at one point and then witch to writing twenty days somewhere else in the same document.

We hope these 10 tips have shed some light on adopting an appropriate formal writing style! Please feel free to share more formal writing tips. Happy writing or editing!  🙂

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