Monday, May 25, 2009

English to Malay Translations

Malay Language

I recently read an article in the Newspaper, you can read the online version by clicking here. The Firefox Mozilla people were saying that they were hoping more Malaysians put in the effort to help out the effort to translate Firefox to Malay (Bahasa Melayu / Bahasa Malaysia) however response to help out in this effort was luke warm. If I remember correctly efforts for translations into Thai, Indonesian etc have already been completed for some time now. He urged Malaysians to contribute.

Yes, so true, if you go to Firefox's website and choose Other Systems/Languages, you can browse through the many languages it is available in. In the article someone argued that possibly one of the reasons why there isn't any huge concerted effort to translate it is because most Malaysians are well versed in English (or other available languages for that matter) so they can easily manage without a localized version. And I quite agreed. But what the Firefox guy answered moved me. Yes, possibly most Malaysians who are on the net, know English pretty well and can manage easily. But the purpose of having a local Malay Language Version is for the Malaysians that are not yet online, and probably one of the factors stopping these Malaysians to go online is (besides other factors like not having internet access apparently) is that they just don't know how, find the English version difficult and so. And regardless, why not right? If you go thru the list of already available languages, it'll be nice to have a local one.

Here's the excerpt

"Additionally, feedback that he received also suggested that most Malaysians do not think there is a need for a localised Firefox since they understand the English language well.

However Kanai begged to differ.

According to him, what these English-proficient users fail to see is that there are plenty of other people who are not yet part of the Internet community because they do not understand the language used in the browser.

With this initiative, Mozilla aims to overcome the language barrier which is a key obstacle in bridging the digital-divide, he said."

Imagine this - Mozilla Musang Berapi. (Fire-Fox). Just joking on that one. Hmm, is Musang Fox or is it Serigala or Keluang (what's Keluang?). Or Rubah? Yes now this brings me to another point. The lack of online English to Malay (vice versa) dictionary or translation tools.

Surf you favourite translation website, say Google Translator , and nope, the pull-down for language does not have Malay.

Google the word Kamus, and the top results are all Kamus Indonesia. So how? What I wanted to share in this post, is the interesting answer. There is a very nice person who has taken the effort to make available a simple Malay - English Dictionary online through Scribd. However it states not to hotlink the url. So I won't put the link here. But you could easily go to and search for Malay Dictionary.

And yes, Dewan Bahasa Pustaka (DBP) has made available a pretty decent dictionary. I just discovered this. I was going to suggest they should but yes, they've already done it!.

Go to the just type in a word you want to translate, make sure you have PRPM (Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu) selected and tadaa!. Interestingly it works both ways.

Note- you need to select which tab you want to display, e.g. Kamus BM, Kamus BI by clicking on it. The results are pretty good!

Last question. So why didn't I myself blog this in Malay Language? Don't get angry, but I found it difficult to blog in Bahasa Baku (i.e. Proper Malay Language, by the book). I actually started a Malay Language Blog but well, see for yourself, by clicking here. Seldom updated. Honestly Malay is a very easy language to pick-up. Just see all the foreigners and how quickly they've picked it up. Spoken Malay usually is 'simpler' then written unless you use Bahasa Pasar (market Language) to write as well!

Well. Ikutlah....:)


Surili said...

A very Interesting post..Whole blog is full of useful Info about Penang & Malaysia. So many thing which We Malaysian might ignore or not aware of. Reading all yr blog but fan of this FYI. Keep it up.

el the man said...

Hi Surili, thank you for positive comments. For a blogger it is always good to get f/back as it is motivating. For your question, you'll find the answer in the comment at my blog entry
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