Friday, 11 March 2011

The Bane of Translation

I work as a translator in a law firm. In the course of translating legal documents from English into Bahasa Malaysia and vice versa, the BM version always contains more ambiguities than the English version. Similarly if you read news reports in our English Language newspapers and compare them with the translated versions in their BM counterparts, you will sometimes face problems with the BM versions as far as accuracy is concerned. 

However, the two reports I am quoting below seem to be the exception.

KUALA LUMPUR— Persidangan Dewan Rakyat hari ini meluluskan Rang Undang-Undang Perbekalan 2011 (Bajet 2011) berjumlah RM212 bilion tanpa sebarang masalah.
Berbeza dari tahun lepas, Bajet 2011 diluluskan kira-kira 7.25 malam apabila bacaan kali ketiga oleh Timbalan Menteri Kewangan Datuk Husni Hanadzlah menyaksikan lebih suara menyokong berbanding membantah.
[Bernama 14 Disember 2010]

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat passed the Supply Bill 2011 (Budget 2011) involving RM212bil without any fuss.
It was passed at 7.25pm yesterday after the third reading by Second Finance Minister Datuk Husni Hanadzlah.
[The Star 14 December 2010 quoting Bernama]

The Malay version contains only one inaccuracy i.e. it appears to suggest that the third reading was done by the Second Finance Minister whereas the reading was in fact done by the members of the House who were present. The Minister only moved the Bill for the third reading.

The English version contains two inaccuracies, one of which is as stated above. Secondly it could also be interpreted to mean that the Bill was passed by the Minister after the third reading, also done by the Minister. We all know that a Bill can only be passed by the House and nobody else.

1 comment:

  1. if my memory serves me right the court upheld his dismissal & it went up to privy council level