Malaysian TV Translation Standards

Posted by on Thu, November 12, 2009

▼ A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Show: The Unit
Scene: Jonas (Snake Doctor) was tied up and a terrorist was looking over him

Dialog as I remember it:

Terrorist: (drinking something hot)
Jonas: Can I have some water please?
Terrorist: (looking at Jonas, then walked over to him, splashed the hot drink on Jonas)
Terrorist: Sorry, I missed

And the Malay translation for the last line was…

Maaf, saya rindukan awak.

Contextual error. The translation is describing the meaning in the sense of missing someone, not missing a target.

Similar occurence has occurred in other shows. I can’t remember the translation but it made me laugh in the minisode of Married with Children when the word “treadmill” was mentioned. It was the episode where Mrs. Bundy overcame her fear of the mouse and kept it as a pet.

There was also a very idiotic translation where the translator does not even know what a thesaurus is. The dialog was “go read a thesaurus” and the translation was:

Pergi baca buku “The Saurus”.

With quotes like that, it’s clear that the translator does not know what a thesaurus is and assumed that it was the title of a book instead. The irony is that a thesaurus is a good tool for a translator!

Something that we need to fix, for the future generation. As a kid I learned English from TV so that’s why I am a bit concerned.

What’s your opinion?

Note: My point is, translators should have perfect command of both languages before they can be one. Not aimed at people with less fluent English. My English is not perfect either.

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  • Pergi baca buku the saurus. Hahaha! That was amusing actually. I think he could have just used “”Pergi baca kamus” would be good enough.

    Maaf, saya rindukan awak, was just too much … hahaha!

    In Italy, sometimes its the same thing although I’m not fluent enough to catch every subtitles. Most of the times, they dub overseas videos.

    • ady

      I dislike dubbed movies if I understand the language 😉 I guess in countries where English is not the primary language, it’s a normal scenario. But I still wish translators learn to produce good results.

      Hey last 2 nights was another example in Supernatural:

      Perfect timing! – Taiming bagus!

      Taiming is not even a valid word. Or is it? I don’t have Kamus Dewan (a standard dictionary we use for our National language).