English-Malay Translation Examples

English to Malay translation isn’t just converting word for word. Here are some examples to show you the differences between machine translation versus human translation.

Literature

Idioms are the hardest to translate and are impossible when you rely on machine translation. Good quality translation is based on the translator’s personal experience in target language.

Don’t wash your dirty linen in public.
Incorrect translation (using Google Translate): Jangan basuh kain kotor anda di khalayak ramai.
Correct translation: Menconteng arang di muka/Membuka pekung di dada.

Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.
Incorrect translation (using Google Translate): Jangan mengira ayam anda sebelum mereka menetas.
Correct translation: Mendengar guruh di langit, air di tempayan dicurahkan.

No pain, no gain.
Incorrect translation (using Google Translate): Tiada kesakitan, tiada keuntungan.
Correct translation: Kalau tidak dipecahkan ruyung, manakan dapat sagunya.

Mass Communication

Sample 1

Source text:
Obama, US First Lady, who attended Grammy Awards last week, has been hailed as a style icon by fashionistas around the world since her husband was elected president. (AFP, 15 Mei 2009)

Incorrect translation (using Google Translate):
Obama, Wanita Pertama Amerika, yang menghadiri Anugerah Grammy pada minggu lalu, telah dinobatkan sebagai ikon gaya dengan fesyen di seluruh dunia sejak suaminya telah dilantik sebagai presiden. (Utusan, 16 Mei 2009)

Correct translation:
Michelle, Wanita Pertama Syarikat (AS), yang menghadiri Grammy Awards minggu lalu, telah digambarkan sebagai ikon fesyen oleh tokoh fesyen di seluruh dunia sejak suaminya dipilih menjadi presiden AS. (Utusan, 16 Mei 2009)

Fiza explains:
– Her name has to be translated based on target readership in that Obama is translated to Michelle as Malaysians don’t address people by their first names.
– Translation for First Lady based on ‘matching culture’.
– Complete sentence for US with acronym in brackets and subsequently only the acronym is used.
– Event name is maintained as it is understood better in source word.
– telah, pada, bahawa, oleh, tahun – these words CANNOT be used in the news-related text.

Sample 2

Source text:
Yudhoyono, who is also a member of The U.N High Commissioner For Refugees (UNCHR) tipped in polls to win re-election. He recently made comment on problems revolving Islamic extremist. (AFP, 16 Mei 2009)

Incorrect translation (using Google Translate):
Yudhoyono, yang juga ahli U.N Pesuruhjaya Tinggi Bagi Orang Pelarian (UNPTBP) disebut-sebut dalam pemilihan untuk memenangi semula pilihan raya. Beliau baru-baru ini membuat komen mengenai isu-isu pelampau Islam. (Utusan, 16 Mei 2009)

Correct translation:
Susilo, yang merupakan ahli Suruhanjaya Tinggi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu Bagi Pelarian (UNCHR) diramalkan memenangi pilihan raya. Beliau memberi pandangan mengenai masalah berkaitan pejuang Islam baru-baru ini. (Utusan, 16 Mei 2009)

Fiza explains:
– As explained about, the name is translated based on target readership.
– ‘Matching culture’ is used for institution/organisation – UNCHR is obviously more well-known than UNPTBP.
– Pelampau is provocative/sensitive to the target audience.
– telah, pada, bahawa, oleh, tahun – these words CANNOT be used in the news-related text.

Marketing

Source text:
Lose weight, trim away bulges and sharpen your mind with de-oiled lecithin!

Incorrect translation (using Google Translate):
Kurangkan berat badan, mengurangkan jauh bonjolan dan menajamkan fikiran anda dengan de-mabuk lesitin!

Correct translation:
Kurangkan berat badan, hilangkan bonjolan-bonjolan lemak yang hodoh dan tajamkan minda anda dengan lesitin yang dinyah-lemak!

Fiza explains:
I added an adjective relative clause of ‘yang’ and adjective ‘hodoh’ to characterise unsightly fat bulges, since persuasion is an important criteria in marketing. Adding ‘yang hodoh’ brings forth a negative connotation hence the reader is more likely to be persuaded that she needs to find a solution to her weight problem.

Social Science

Source text:
In 2007, Iraq ranked 178th out of 180 countries worldwide in terms of corruption. Only Somalia and Myanmar (formerly Burma) were worse. Furthermore, al Qaeda militants targeted most of the villages in Iraq, killing Iraqis, torching homes, and forcing hundreds of families to flee.

Incorrect translation (using Google Translate):
Pada 2007, Iraq kedudukan 178th daripada 180 buah negara di seluruh dunia dari segi rasuah. Hanya Somalia dan Myanmar (dahulunya Burma) adalah lebih buruk. Tambahan, militan al-Qaeda mensasarkan kebanyakan kampung di Iraq, membunuh rakyat Iraq, membakar rumah-rumah, dan memaksa beratus keluarga lari.

Correct translation:
Pada tahun 2007, Iraq menduduki tempat ke 178 daripada 180 buah negara di seluruh dunia dalam indeks rasuah. Somalia dan Myanmar (dahulunya Burma) mengatasi kedudukan Iraq. Tambahan pula, militan al-Qaeda menyasarkan kebanyakan kampung di Iraq, membunuh rakyat Iraq, membakar rumah dan memaksa beratus-ratus keluarga melarikan diri.

Fiza explains:

– ‘Tahun’ must be used every time.
– ‘mensasarkan’ is wrong.
– ‘Homes’ is plural but as a translator, I must use words suited to the Malay context (Malay language only has singular).

General Health

Source text: 
In dry air, sound travels at the speed of approximately 1920 kilometres an hour or 331 metres every second. In its simplest form, sound can be described as a sensation or variation in pressure which enters, and is detected by the ear. The level of pressure variation per second is called frequency and is measured in terms of cycles per second, or hertz (hz). The ear is sensitive to an enormous range of pressures which are compressed so that the entire amplitud range is contained within a sequence values from 0 to 160.

Incorrect translation (using Google Translate):
Dalam udara kering, bunyi bergerak pada kelajuan kira-kira 1920 kilometer sejam atau 331 meter setiap saat. Secara mudah, bunyi boleh digambarkan sebagai sensasi atau perubahan tekanan yang memasuki, dan dikesan oleh telinga. Tahap perubahan tekanan sesaat dipanggil kekerapan dan diukur dari segi kitaran per saat, atau hertz (hz). Telinga sensitif kepada julat tekanan yang sangat besar yang dimampatkan supaya seluruh amplitud terkandung dalam urutan nilai-nilai sifar ke 160.

Correct translation:
Dalam udara kering, bunyi bergerak pada kelajuan kira-kira 1920 kilometer sejam atau 331 meter sesaat. Secara yang paling mudah, bunyi boleh diperihalkan sebagai kederiaan atau ubahan dalam tekanan yang memasuki, dan dikesan, oleh telinga. Aras ubahan tekanan per saat dinamakan frekuensi dan diukur dalam kitar per saat, atau hertz (Hz). Telinga sensitif kepada julat tekanan yang sangat tinggi yang diringkaskan supaya keseluruhan julat amplitud terkandung dalam jujukan nilai 0 hingga 160.

Fiza explains:
– Under translation occurs when translate ‘simplest form’ to ‘secara mudah’. It should be ‘secara paling mudah’.
– There is comma after ‘dan dikesan’ because compound sentence even though there is already existence of ‘dan’.
– In science text, if symbol is named after an individual, the first acronym must be in capital hence the correct one is Hz (even when the source text itself is wrong).
– For pressures, they come in a range hence it should be ‘tinggi’ atau ‘rendah’, not ‘besar’.
– In general text, numbers below 10 must be spelled but in science, it must be numbered.

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