Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Lost in Translation

In my undergraduate days, doing Translation was one of the last choices of any student. Sort of like if you don't qualify for anything, just do Translation. And, sadly, even below that was Education... exemplifying the crazy notion that if you can't do, teach.

But now I wish I had taken a semester in the subject. See, I've finally got off my lazy butt and attacked this nasty bit of translation for a newsletter I help out in, which led to me reading a fair bit of the English-Malay dictionary. Reading these sorts of things has always been interesting... such as the old Federal Kamus Pelajar Lengkap dictionary with this entry:

berak 2. (To pass motion; to defecate) buang air besar. - Elok kita berak sekali sehari.

Translated as Let's all poop once a day.

The Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka English-Malay dictionary had this interesting sample:

Adding to my already prevalent opinion that some people in Malaysia, despite education, still retain quite a few superstitions. Here are some of my own:

1. I never open an umbrella inside the house.
2. I don't wish death or injury on people.
3. I don't eat durians. Because they stink.

Arguably, the last is rather un-Malaysian.

On the other hand, I've learned some new English words in the browsing... and if I weren't so used to my blog name, I might consider "Gestures of a Grandiloquent Golliwog".

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