Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Skills needed in translation

I am interested in translation. From my experience, it is not easy to translate from one language to another. In order to do the job well, we must be well-versed in both languages especially the differences in grammar and idiomatic expressions. For example, in Malay, when we say that "Ali berasa gembira kerana dia akan mendirikan masjid keesokan harinya." we mean 'Ali feels happy because he is going to get married tomorrow." and not "Ali feels happy because he is going to build a mosque tomorrow."

On the other hand, in English the sentence "His comic act put us in stitches" should not be translated as "Kelakuan lucunya menjadikan kami dalam jahitan." in Malay but as "Gelagat lucunya menyebabkan kami tak kering gusi." By the way, 'tak kering gusi" in Malay means 'to laugh incessantly'.

From the two examples given above, it is obvious that a translator has to master the ins and outs of both languages so that he will not convey the wrong message through his translation.

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