Answers to frequently asked questions
My details are incorrect on the original document. Can you change them on the certified translation?

No. We are obliged to translate the document exactly as it is. If there are mistakes in the original document, you should contact the issuing authority directly and ask them to amend the document and reissue a corrected version.

How long does it take to translate a document?

We can normally prepare your documents within 3-4 business days for translation and certification. You will need to allow another 1-3 days for postage. A next day delivery service is also available where documents are required urgently. An urgent rate will apply where an express service is required.

We will give you a time estimate on providing a quote for the service.

How would you certify the translation?

The basic requirement in the UK is that a declaration must state that the translation has been made by a qualified translator or an accredited company, and that it is accurate. It should be attached to the translated document. This declaration can be signed by the translator or a representative of the translation company depending on where it is to be sent.

For translations that will be sent abroad, it is sometimes necessary to have the declaration signed in the presence of a Notary Public, depending on the purpose of the translation and the country where it will be used.

In some countries, such as Brazil, translators undergo a selective examination process or are appointed by a court or Government authority to be recognised as “sworn translators”.  In such cases, a translation by a sworn translator is an official document in its own right and no further certification or legalisation is usually required for official use in that country.

Will a Certified Translation meet my requirements?

In our experience the standard certification will satisfy UK organisations such as theHome Office, UK Naric, Passport Agency, consulates, insurance companies, academic and education institutions.

Legalisation requirements do however vary from institution to institution and from country to country, so if you are in any doubt as to what type of certification is necessary for your document you should contact the relevant institution directly.

If submitting your translated document to a UK court it was previously necessary to have it certified before a solicitor. The rules have just recently changed and the translator can simply sign a standard statutory declaration. If the translation is to be used outside the UK it may also require certification by a Notary Public and legalisation by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Please contact your local consular service for more information to ensure you request the correct level of certification.

How can I send my documents over to you for translation?

The best way to send the document is to email us a copy of your document. Alternatively you can send your document by fax or a photocopy by post.

Sworn or certified translations?

In the UK, the sworn translation is purely theoretical whereas it is pretty much the principal term used abroad for official translations. The UK equivalent is simply referred to as a ‘Certified Translation’ and this is what the main UK authorities and institutions will require as part of an application.

Do you need my original document for a Certified Translation?

Usually not. All we require is a clear legible copy of the document in order to certify the translation; we will always let you know if we require the original document.

It is important however that you submit a reasonably good quality copy. Please note that any illegible text will be labelled as such.

How long is the contract period for the China Desk?

It varies depending on the services that you require. With many of the services we run short term contracts. Obviously, with more in-depth business solutions such as staffing, a larger contract period may be required which we will discuss with you prior to beginning the project.

What if I only need a few of the services, infrequently?

That’s fine. The China desk was designed around the requirements of the SME’s with whom we work. They wanted a reliable and professional service but couldn’t justify the expense of employing their own staff. We will provide only the services that you require and bill you only when you use them. It couldn’t be simpler.

What is a China Desk?

The ‘China Desk’ is a range of professional and affordable outsourced services that Simply Mandarin provide to enable your company to have its own China department. You will have access to professional bilingual answering services, translators, marketing experts and much more. This means you save on the expenses of employing your own staff to run your China operation as you will have the services you require on demand and only pay for the services that you use.

What makes Simply Mandarin different?

There are a number of reasons why Simply Mandarin is the clear choice for UK businesses venturing into the Chinese market. Simply Mandarin offers a great consultancy service that is personalised to meet your business needs. The services that we provide are delivered by quality staff who have both the linguistic abilities as well as the business acumen to drive the projects forward and deliver results in a simple and convenient manner.

Once we get in touch with Simply Mandarin, what happens next?

If it is a simple project such as translating a document or organising an interpreter for you, we will send you a quotation and if you are happy with it, we will go ahead with the work. If it is a more complex project, we generally prefer to arrange a free, no commitment consultation session (on the phone, Skype or in person, whatever is most convenient). This gives us an opportunity to find out your exact requirements and devise a strategy to move forward. If you have very clear ideas about your strategy, that is great, and we will work within your guidelines. If you are unsure about how to move forward, we will have plenty of ideas to support you that suit your budget.

What is Simply Mandarin?

Simply Mandarin is an innovative organisation assisting UK companies to grow and develop within China. We offer a number of services and resources that bridge the gap between the UK and China.

What are your prices?

Simply Mandarin has a simple and transparent pricing structure with absolutely no surprises. Our services are bespoke to our clients and will be very specific to individual requirements. This customised approach is both efficient and effective. We avoid fixed price packages, because there is usually something within the package that is not required. If you contact us with your requirements, we can give you a very accurate quotation in no time at all.

Will I be tied into a service contract?

No. Our services vary depending on your needs, but many of our services such as our translating, interpreting, and company checks do not require a long term commitment. We will give you a quotation telling you how much the work will cost, and if you are happy with this, then the work will be completed quickly and there will be no further commitment.
For larger projects that have ongoing requirements, we may draw up a service contract with you that has fixed monthly costs. This is a simpler way of invoicing regular work.

We are a SME with a limited budget, can you still help?

Absolutely. We are happy to work with any company with any size of project. Even if it is just a simple document that needs translating, or a quick phone call that needs to be made in Mandarin. Whether a small or large project, we are confident that we have some of the most competitive prices around.  We even have very affordable and effective solutions to give clients a presence in China without the onerous commitment of having your own office or staff there. We know that SME’s need to be very careful with their budgets and good value for money is really important. There will never be any surprises.

Who speaks Mandarin and who speaks Cantonese?

Mandarin is the official and most commonly spoken language in China. Cantonese is spoken in the South, in Juangdong province and in Hong Kong. Because Mandarin is the official language in China school lessons are generally taught in Mandarin and all national TV stations broadcast in Mandarin. Many local TV and radio stations also broadcast in Mandarin, but they may also use the local dialect. Interestingly, there are a number of other languages and dialects (the difference between the two is whether or not they are mutually intelligible) that share a common writing system. All told, there are about 250 languages spoken in China. Some of these have dozens of different dialects (especially Mandarin and Tibetan). However, if you want to conduct business in China, unless you are targeting a very specific group, you will want to conduct business in Mandarin

Is there good internet coverage and speed throughout China?

Internet coverage and speed varies from region to region and from town to town within those regions. It’s a big place, and the infra-structure has not been fully developed in certain places. However, there are still 538 million internet users in China.

Is the internet restricted by the authorities in China?

Internet censorship in China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. More than 60 internet regulations have been made by the Chinese government. The apparatus of China’s internet censorship is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country. The government authorities not only block website content but also monitor the internet access of individuals. Even though there are these regulations, online digital media is still a key resource for any company wanting to do business with China. The trick is to work within the regulations. At Simply Mandarin we can offer sensible and practical advice on appropriate content. We even have up to date information on sensitive keywords that may cause websites to be blocked.

How do we protect our intellectual property when doing business with China?

You have every right to be concerned as intellectual property theft does happen; just take a look around China and you will see all sorts of familiar western products and services that have been plagiarised. The first step is to take all the usual precautions such as copyrights, patents, trademarks or whatever is relevant to your company.

However, this will not totally ensure that intellectual property is secure. The only way to do that is to deal with the right people in China. We offer a company check service, where we will go through a comprehensive set of checks designed to see if the company you are intending to work with is operating legally within China, whether they actually do what they say they do and we can even research their reputation – particularly with overseas clients. We can go further if required and actually deal with the company on your behalf.

Building a close relationship can help prevent problems. Having a Mandarin speaker on the phone, or even at their front door will minimise the likelihood of difficulties. Nobody can guarantee a problem free ride, but there are a number of practical steps that can be taken to minimise the risks.

What about cultural differences and etiquette when doing business with China?

The culture barrier is often exaggerated and made to look complicated. Many organisations that facilitate business between the countries would lead you to believe that you have to tread on eggshells (just watch the recent HSBC adverts)! However, the reality is that the Chinese just want to get down to business as much as you do. Chinese business people are very much like business people from many other countries. What is considered good manners in one country: respect, honesty, integrity, is likely to be considered favourably in another.  There are, of course, subtle cultural differences and customs, such as the way you hand out or receive business cards. Cultural training programmes often suggest using both hands and looking directly at the recipient showing appreciation. These practices are becoming less obvious as many Chinese people, who are involved in international trade, are learning about Western cultures. They are more tolerant to the differences on this level and are unlikely to be easily offended by such trivial matters.  The important part is to be respectful and to maintain good communication. The way to achieve this is to have knowledgeable people communicating on your behalf which is our speciality here at Simply Mandarin. We will be happy to give you some cultural tips along the way!

What is ‘localising’?

Localising the content of a document or a website is a process where full consideration is given to the cultural context of the end user. For example, it may be inappropriate, or even rude, to use particular phrases or images in certain countries. There may be superstitions, ideas or even local jokes that makes the content look unprofessional or could even result in the content being blocked by the authorities. The easiest way to understand what a difference localising makes, is to look at websites where Chinese businesses are selling their goods and services to UK customers. You can quickly spot the difference between those that have slick and professional looking ‘international’ appearances and those that still have local (to China) content and are written in ‘broken English’. Simply Mandarin will ensure that your documents or website is fully localised.

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