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Hiring Malay Translation Services: The Top 4 Mistakes


In the age of machine learning, many people doubt the necessity of engaging Malay translation services. “Why must I pay someone to translate English texts into Malay when I can plug it into a machine translation engine for free?” they think. However, machine translation still has many weaknesses and often requires revision.


The standard procedures of translation agencies prove that machine translation can’t be trusted as is. Professionals are hired to do serious cleanup afterward, known as machine translation post-editing. Mistakes can be avoided by enlisting the help of professional Malay translation services.


1. Collocation and document contexts.

Some words have similar underlying meanings, but depending on their collocation, they’re translated differently in Malay. For example, when translating in the context of urbanization, the word “development” in “sustainable city development” translates as pembangunan. However, when referring to “child development,” a native Malay translator knows immediately it should be perkembangan. Both carry the meaning of growth or advancement. Still, it’s not a straightforward translation.


2. The third-person pronoun “it.”

The English pronoun “it” poses some issues when translated into Malay. In rare instances, even professional translators can become confused and make mistakes. There’s no exact equivalent for this word in Malay, and many have mistakenly thought that it translates into ia. But ia is only another form of dia, a third-person pronoun used for “he” or “she.” Thus, “it” can’t be used to refer to an animal or thing. When a sentence begins with “it,” the pronoun must be replaced with the actual noun it’s referring to.


3. Question words in non-question sentences.

It’s very common for English sentences to contain question words like “what,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “how.” Indeed, such sentences have interrogative elements, but they’re declarative and not intended to question. They don’t end with a question mark, but with a period. Unskilled translators can fall prey to these kinds of mistakes easily by translating the question words directly into apa, di mana, bila, kenapa and bagaimana.


The problem with this is that Malay doesn’t use question words in non-question sentences. If you happen to come across one, it must be the result of bad translation or incorrect adaptation of the English language style to Malay.


4. Culturally acceptable word choices.

Every culture has its own language sensitivities. The Malay culture is sensitive toward certain words related to religion because it’s an integral part of the Malay psyche. A professional Malay translation must also carefully observe language aspects pertaining to the multiracial community, the status of the constitutional monarch and other sensitivities to avoid unwanted issues.


Looking for a professional, native-speaking Malay translator who can avoid all these mistakes?

Look no further. Our professional Malay translators have vast experience handling your translation needs. Trust us with your document, whether you want it translated into Malay or from Malay into English. Our linguists are experts.

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