Textual and Contextual (Around problem of translation, localization, and contextualization in Indonesia)

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 »  Articles Overview  »  Art of Translation and Interpreting  »  Textual and Contextual (Around problem of translation, localization, and contextualization in Indonesia)

Textual and Contextual (Around problem of translation, localization, and contextualization in Indonesia)

By Portalkata | Published  02/17/2010 | Art of Translation and Interpreting | Recommendation:
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Quicklink: http://arm.proz.com/doc/2885
անգլերենից ինդոնեզերեն translator
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Any problems in translation in Indonesia is the relation between the text and the context. Text and context in which I mean as the problem is more or less can be explained as follows:

First, the translator who think that the translation process is moving one term to another without any attempt to direct the substance of the original writings to be a work that more fits with the conditions in the local readers (Indonesia). Second, the translator who noticed that the process of translation work is not just changing the text, but more to the process of contextualization speaking with the ideal goal is to give insight to the reader in the original text meaning well.

Before we enter a more detailed discussion, it is worth for us to have excursion into the past. Interesting is the view which is said by Henri Chambert-Loir (2009) who argue that for a millennium until recent decades, there never was in the Indonesian archipelago a specific reflection in any language about the work and the art of translation.

Henri took this as a void, which he said has implications for the fact that either for all the scribes who had produced the text for reading as well as audiences who read / hear the text, the translation process, from the first until now, is an automatic and simple process; a text moved from one language to another without constraints, without any problems ...."

This conclusion to me seems not really correct remembering that actually many parties, especially the writers, translators and the nerds in Indonesia often much disputed. Perhaps Henri saw Indonesia's silence from the reality of poor appreciation of the translation results in text form. If this is the meant, of course Henri opinion can be justified. But in the area of oral appreciation, the community actually make the problem of translation quality as an everyday problem.

Any such Henri’s opinion is very important as input for us to continue to work to improve the quality of translation in Indonesia. Back to the problem of text and context of the above, the real dichotomy of translators, those who textualist and contextualist is still an acute problem in Indonesia, even until this moment.

As a translator I feel it. For example, suppose I translate a word in my own way with the goal is to dynamize term / word and a series of text flow. I understand that this will displace the basic roots of the original word, so what we obtained is another text form with the same meaning.

Even with careful consideration and great care, the editing is still often protested as something wrong. In fact, I rarely had often accused of being a fool. Once or twice we were arguing and eventually be accepted. But because every day my translations are corrected by many people, every time it finally did I had to argue to explain in detail reasons contextualization I mean.

In the end I concluded that the literalism symptoms among translators in Indonesia is very strong, even dominant. What's behind this phenomenon? Is it because of poverty insights from the translator? Or because of conservative attitudes? Or it could be because they do not understand the translation formula so easily pointed contextualization and localization as something wrong?

There are many issues behind all this. If I may make a sketch, then more or less these things deserve our attention.

Those who are literal very afraid of change. They do not realize that what is called the language of the text is containing the direction of communication objective. The actual text is very closely related to the pattern and direction of communication in a given society misconstrued as pure text, so that whatever is written is something that does not need to be changed. This outlook is still very strong in Indonesian society that in fact live in oral cultures and few who can appreciate the writing. As a result of poverty of this appreciation then every text is considered as sacred texts, as sacred as scriptures.

Henri’s following opinion is perhaps important presented here as a way of analyzing historically generative: In the West, partly because of ongoing efforts to translate the Bible into all languages of the world (an effort which is contrary to the Islamic concept of the absolute sanctity of the language al -Quran), translation theory has evolved more than twenty centuries, and have long distinguished two contrasting streams in the task of moving a text into another language, namely a flow that focused on the source text in one side, and they who focused on target text on the other side. The task of the interpreter, for example, they who have duty to translate a verbal remark spontaneously, belonging to the second flow, they try to make the contents of the expression immediately caught with ease, rather than convey all the intricacies of grammar and style features.

At the level of everyday reality, conservative view of this translator then often more worse when accompanied by the natives attitudes. Natives attitudes in this context refers to the view that the Indonesian people feel inferior to her/his own language (Bahasa Indonesia / Melayu) as the language of the lower classes, and consider English as the language of the upper class. Conscious or not it is still prominent among translators.

One of the strong implication is that the inability to find a creative equivalent through a thesaurus or creatively change the grammar structure toward other forms without destroying the original intent.
Usually translators who often blind to find the equivalent of the dictionary, then choose quiet and prefer to adopt foreign terms (usually English term) into the translation.

Translation contextualization of discourse in Indonesia is still hobbled. That is why when the localization efforts are attempted, often only around in the level of ideas and very difficult to be realized.

Perhaps in the translation of general books not arise much debate because it involves only the debate in the publishing editor of the book, but the translation of import product manuals occur almost every day. Majority of non-productive argument because among the translators do not have a vision of contextualization. In addition, lack of wise attitude, especially the reviewers who are often one-sided view other people's work.

Because each work are processed without face to face and each individual do not recognize each other intensively, the conflicts often result in depth. The editor (reviewer) underestimated the translator's work without looking at the background of why the translator chose the specific term / words. With the arrogant certain reviewers usually directly denounce the translator as wrong and deemed incompetent. Of course, translators are usually angry and had to argue.

Although the party with the manuscript bridging with a third party to assess, this is usually not enough to reconcile. This is because the problem lies not just in technical translation, but on the background of the manuscript and where the goal text (in the frame of contextualization and localization) is directed. During the three parties did not find similar view, necessarily the translator’s creative efforts (who dared to change the basic structure of the text into a better direction) would be considered deviant.

Language as Value
Contextualization and localization is really creative efforts to improve the quality of the translation. Translators, editors and anyone who take care of the translation is very important to understand this process as something important in Indonesia.

It is interesting may we learn from the old one of the main speakers of the language in the world, namely Arabic. Among the Arab linguists, languages are not merely seen as a means of communication between humans, but also the most important part in creating value. Through a tool called the language that contains the meaning / significance, something which conveyed to many audience should provide a useful value. Indeed in the theory of English, Indonesian, or other language there never discussed the importance of the value of a language (words / terms), but in Arabic rule never mentioned that what is called a language closely related to the meaning.

In the rules of Arabic grammar, something unspoken or written well but do not have meaning, have not called language. Even if it could be called the language was not regarded as valid (Id: Sahih). With the importance of emphasizing the meaning, communication is expected to be better able to move people to understand and absorb what is presented, even more than that, for certain purposes, for example, selling products/services, - language that gives meaning to be able to move people to believe and buy anything in accordance with organization expectations. This is where the importance of all parties to study the contextualization and localization in the language.

Siti Nur Aryani. Translator and Practitioner of Software Localization, Portalkata Indonesia.

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