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Translating proverbs and idioms from Malay into English

English translation: You have to know what proverbs & idioms are available in English

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14:14 Oct 7, 2004
Malay to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics
Malay term or phrase: Translating proverbs and idioms from Malay into English
How do I translate proverbs, expressions and idioms from Malay into English correctly. For example " Ikut rasa binasa. ikut hati mati"
xxxjoy23
English translation:You have to know what proverbs & idioms are available in English
Explanation:
From my experience in the demanding 'sector' of translation you brought up, you have to do more than just translating the Malay idiomatic expression. It's so much more illuminating to the target readers in English if you could also give a very similar idiomatic expression in English. For example, for "rambut sama hitam, hati lain-lain", besides translating the meaning of it from Malay into English, you should provide the nearest English expression: "different folks, different strokes". The reverse is also true. If you have to translate "throwing out the baby with the bath water", providing the closest Malay version "marah nyamuk kelambu dibakar" would be meaningful.
For "Ikut rasa...ikut hati mati", you should link to 'hastiness" or 'soon to'(impulsiveness) eg "hasty bitch brings forth blind whelps", "haste makes waste", "haste trips up its own heels" or "soon ripe, soon rotten". The more English idioms/proverbs you have in your own repository, the better would you be able to translate Malay idioms & proverbs into English. That's why clients usually insist on "native Eng. speakers" for translation into English.

Sorry for the long discourse.
Selected response from:

Abd Latiff Bidin
Local time: 08:29
Grading comment
Dear Mr. Latiff Bidin,

Please don't apologise. I appreciate your thorough explanation which I found very helpful. I will be purchasing a book on English & a book Malay proverbs to familiarise myself with various expressions so it will enable me to arrive with closest similarities when I am required to translate in situations like this.I have written a little something as my token of appreciation.

Daun selasih sekuning padi,
Mawar di laman harum mewangi,
Terima kasih sekalung budi,
Budi tuan saya sanjungi.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4You have to know what proverbs & idioms are available in EnglishAbd Latiff Bidin


  

Answers


9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
You have to know what proverbs & idioms are available in English


Explanation:
From my experience in the demanding 'sector' of translation you brought up, you have to do more than just translating the Malay idiomatic expression. It's so much more illuminating to the target readers in English if you could also give a very similar idiomatic expression in English. For example, for "rambut sama hitam, hati lain-lain", besides translating the meaning of it from Malay into English, you should provide the nearest English expression: "different folks, different strokes". The reverse is also true. If you have to translate "throwing out the baby with the bath water", providing the closest Malay version "marah nyamuk kelambu dibakar" would be meaningful.
For "Ikut rasa...ikut hati mati", you should link to 'hastiness" or 'soon to'(impulsiveness) eg "hasty bitch brings forth blind whelps", "haste makes waste", "haste trips up its own heels" or "soon ripe, soon rotten". The more English idioms/proverbs you have in your own repository, the better would you be able to translate Malay idioms & proverbs into English. That's why clients usually insist on "native Eng. speakers" for translation into English.

Sorry for the long discourse.

Abd Latiff Bidin
Local time: 08:29
Native speaker of: Native in MalayMalay
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Dear Mr. Latiff Bidin,

Please don't apologise. I appreciate your thorough explanation which I found very helpful. I will be purchasing a book on English & a book Malay proverbs to familiarise myself with various expressions so it will enable me to arrive with closest similarities when I am required to translate in situations like this.I have written a little something as my token of appreciation.

Daun selasih sekuning padi,
Mawar di laman harum mewangi,
Terima kasih sekalung budi,
Budi tuan saya sanjungi.
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