Translation for Indonesia

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world, and a member of the G20 group of major economies. So it should come as no surprise that Prime Minister David Cameron is starting his business tour of South East Asia there.

Commencing his visit, Cameron stressed the importance of the area for UK business growth: “Over the next 20 years, 90% of global growth is expected to come from outside Europe, and Britain must be poised to take advantage. That’s why I’m delighted to be taking British businesses to this vast and dynamic market, securing deals worth over £750m and creating opportunities for hard-working people back at home.”

So what language is needed to reach this market of 255 million people in Indonesia?

Indonesian Translation

Indonesia_mapIndonesia is a diverse nation bringing together thousands of islands, where hundreds of local languages are spoken. In fact the country’s motto translates as “Unity in Diversity”. However, in business, education and the media, the language of “Bahasa Indonesia” dominates. The name means simply the language of Indonesia, and therefore is often referred to in English simply as “Indonesian”. It has been the country’s official language since independence in 1945. Although most formal education and national media is conducted in Indonesian, many are bilingual being also fluent in their regional language.

English is also widely spoken, but Indonesian is without doubt now the dominant language of  business. For instance, a double sided business card showing an Indonesian translation may not be strictly necessary but it shows willing and a degree of respect. Remember to include a job title to enhance your status.

Indonesian is closely related to Malay. In fact opinion differs as to whether each should be classed as a dialect of the other or as closely related but distinct languages. The language is written in the Latin alphabet (i.e. the same as English) with some words using an accented é. This makes the technical side of website localisation straightforward while permitting Indonesian typesetting to match exactly with the English font use.

Other countries targeted

In addition to Indonesia, David Cameron will visit Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore as part of a focus on forging economic links with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (What is Asean?)

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Who gives a FIGS about font names?

Typographers and designers will be familiar with all of the Roman fonts featured in this video. But how many of us have paused to consider their names’ origins and whether a straightforward anglicised pronunciation is the most appropriate? Many of these fonts actually have French, German or Italian roots. So is it time to stop using “Euro-style” and start using “Euro-steel-eh”?
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Beyond the language barrier with a Culture Map

The way we work is transformed continually. Globalisation and the development of the internet has given smaller companies the ability to export goods and services much more easily. It means also that you and I can work from almost anywhere. While a downside of outsourcing has been to remove some jobs from developed countries, it has also offered opportunities to skilled workers in the less developed parts of the world.

Opportunities like these can bring problems along with them; the ability to decode cultural differences was not taught to us in school. To work effectively with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world, we need to be able to comprehend the cultural differences that inevitably arise during our efforts to operate transnationally, and sometimes perhaps across cultures in our own countries.

Professional translators are aware that translation of a text requires that the underlying message should be conveyed in the target language in a culturally sensitive way. A new book, The Culture Map by Erin Meyer, could help not just fledgling translators but also managers navigate through the wildly different cultural realities in which they find themselves through the vagaries of international business.
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British landmarks seek Chinese names

Nominations are now open to rename our landmarks in Chinese. Celebrities, places and foods are often given names in China that describe what people think about them. VisitBritain is today launching a new campaign, ‘GREAT names for GREAT Britain’, that invites Chinese consumers to come up with the most fitting, amusing and memorable Chinese names for some of Britain’s food, landmarks and other attractions.

The 101 British landmarks will cover a wide range of locations. Names will be revealed in batches over the next 10 weeks on VisitBritain’s social media platforms including Weibo. The first batch covers points of interest with a royal connection, including Kensington Palace and The Mall.

Other highlights from the list include Chatsworth, Eilean Donan Castle, Brighton Pier, King’s Cross St Pancras station, Dartmoor, Hadrian’s Wall, Beachy Head, Rhossili Bay, London’s Shard and the Wales Coastal Path. British people and objects also feature including the kilt and the Highland Games, along with the Loch Ness Monster, Cornish pasty, Devon cream teas, Stilton Cheese, Haggis and Beefeaters.

Faced with the Welsh village with Britain’s longest name – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – one suggestion that has already been forthcoming is Read More »

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Sounds in translation are no snoring matter

What sound do you make when you snore? Or when you kiss? What about your eggs frying in the pan?

When drafting or designing a document that will be translated, it’s a given that your text will look (and sound) different once translated. But the same applies to our attempts to represent other noises we all make (yes, even snoring).
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Under the covers of children’s literature translation

Have you heard of Tintin? How about Asterix or the Moomins? These are all classic books from our childhood, but did you know that they are also all translations? If you were asked to name any other translated children’s books, would you be able to? Read More »

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London celebrates French Republic

This Sunday Londoners will join the French nation in celebrating Bastille Day (or « La Fête Nationale »).  The annual 14 July jamboree marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. This and the subsequent Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen are seen as a symbol of the rise of the modern French nation.

Perhaps the celebrations are no surprise given that London has been described as “France’s sixth biggest city” due to the sheer number of French people who call it home.
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Literary myths of unpopular translation

Translated literature has a new hero in the form of Le French Book. Based in New York with the motto “if we love it, we’ll translate it”, they publish French translations, allowing readers from all over the world to enjoy the wide range of fiction currently being produced in France.

Rallying to the defence of translated fiction, they’ve recently put together a list dispelling the most common myths. We’ve summarised them here for your enjoyment. See if any of this sounds familiar!

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Posted in literature, machine translation, Stieg Larsson, translation | Comments closed

London’s festival of contemporary Arab culture

A window on contemporary Arab culture. That’s what is promised at the second ever Shubbak Festival, a fortnight-long event which opened last week. Running until 6 July in venues scattered all across London, this festival celebrates the visual arts, music, and Arabic translations and literature.

The first Shubbak Festival in 2011 was a great success and it has now become a biennial event. We’ve selected a handful of this year’s events Read More »

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Jousting with erotic translation

A duel of translators forms the centrepiece of an event this evening as two go head to head, when their translations of the same source are put to the test live. Or as one of the participants describes it

a daunting public jousting-with-words that adds a whole new layer of opportunities for disaster and humiliation – but, also, for some thrills and fun.

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