Thursday, January 17, 2008

Translation is not an easy task

Translation is not as easy as it seems. When we translate one language into another, we need to know both languages well. This is because:

a. the grammar of the two languages differ.

b the culture of the people who speak the two languages is not the same.

Hence when we render Malay into English, we have to observe correct grammar in the translated text and vice versa.

The following examples of translation between Malay and English will illustrate the above points.

Example 1 English to Malay

English: He made a beeline for the food.

Malay: Dia menuju ke arah makananan itu.

[Don't translate it as 'Dia membuat garisan lebah untuk makanan itu.]

Example 2: Malay to English

Malay: Akhirnya, bujang itu mendirikan masjid pada hari Ahad

yang lalu.

English: Finally, the bachelor got married last Sunday.

[Translating the above sentence as 'Finally, the bachelor built a mosque last Sunday.' is wrong.]

Hence you see, doing translation is not an easy task.


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Terry said...

I agree, translating is hard. I have many friends who do translate and in the end they either laugh about it, drink about it or complain about it. Since I'm the only American in my department all I get is translations of documents and I have to correct the English! :) But I know a lot of work has gone into the work. Hats off to the translators.

sUmMeR said...

I also agree that translating is hard. At first, I was assigned to an easier topic for translation... but when I got to scan on the other documents, sheesh! It's really hard. I translate english to filipino... and it's not an easy task at all, 'coz there are a lot of terms that can mean different in the filipino language. there are also several ways how to say some things in filipino. so it gets confusing in the long run...