Editor's note: In Malaysia, only Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) offers translation course at three levels - first degree, masters degree and PhD. We all learnt that translation is very important especially during the Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia in April this year.Written by c.h.tay ► Share your university life with us and get published here!
Lost in translation: The offending backdrop during the welcoming ceremony for Wen at Putrajaya. Source: The Star Online
When we talked on this incident, c.h.tay commented "The Wen Jiabao incident just showed that Malaysians really don't appreciate our expertise. Every Malaysians think that they can translate, really!"
At first when I was offered Bachelor of Arts (Translation and Interpretation) from University Sains Malaysia (USM), my former boss yelled, "Does any university in Malaysia offers this course?!" Apparently, this course is not widely known.
I came to register this course as a white paper, as I have not known any seniors that enrolled into this course from my school. And I had changed stream from biology STPM to arts Degree. First day, we met our PA (Penasihat Akademik or Academic Advisor, AA), some sorts of your class teachers in secondary life. Your PA advises you on what class you should take to fulfil the minimum university requirement to graduate. BY THEN, every semester you need to take at least 16 units to graduate. Some universities count units as credit hours. Maximum is 20 units.
First semester, less units = more relax. I had more time to walk around the campus, to stick in the library during interval between classes, and to make a lot of friends, from my own course and other courses as well. I enjoyed free movies offered by foreign language week, e.g. Spanish Language Week, Malay Language Week, Korean Language Week and Japanese Language Week. We even had fiesta or exhibition about the origin country of the foreign language. They cooked their delicacy, show you how to make small crafts, etc. As for USM Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Translation and Interpretation (Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sastera (Kepujian) Terjemahan dan Interpretasi) students, you get priority in taking foreign language course as your minor. Minor courses offered are Japanese, Chinese (for non-primary Chinese students) and Arabic. I took Japanese as my minor and even keep learning Japanese till now.
The course itself focuses on the history of translations, Bahasa Melayu (BM) and English language system, variety of translating methods to be used in different discourse and even machine translation (computerized translation). We even had to learn about basic computer knowledge from using Microsoft Office to developing your own flash using Adobe Flash. We learnt a bit of everything.
This course would be a piece of cake for those who are fluent in English and BM. They only have to learn about the translating methods. But for me, I needed to brush up my language skills and also enriched my vocabulary in both languages. See, translating is never an easy job!
I like Sociolinguistic this class the most. We got to analyse the language used by all walks of life and found a way to explain why they used that kind of expressions. I also like Malay and English Grammar & Editing Strategy. We could role-play as editor and told our friends what mistakes they made. In exchange, we got the same harsh critics from our friends too! I am weak in Consecutive Interpretation. I stumbled a lot. All of those interpretation classes I think I did not do well. I was lack of confident to speak in English. Till now, English speaking still kills me.
Of all those pains and gains, I really love this course. SO, I'm hard selling to those who love languages and want to be as cool as Nicole Kidman in The Interpreter!
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