Monday, 27 August 2007

Jules Verne in Malay: Translators Wanted.

Looks like PTS wants translators to translate the works of Jules Verne into Malay. Interested? Go sign up.

I personally would love to see this project come to fruition, as long as the works are translated with complete and utter care. (There's also a Sherlock Holmes translation project ongoing of which I am keen on as well.)

But I have to wonder. Will these translators translate Jules Verne's works from English? I doubt PTS will be able to find enough good translators to translate from the original French. If this is so, how true will the translations be to the originals? It's bad enough that some of the original English translations--which I assume PTS will work from since they are out of copyright and therefore free--are considered not up to snuff. Even Jules Verne lamented about the translations of his time, saying, "I’m not surprised that the translations you’ve been speaking to me about are bad ... But we can do nothing about it, absolutely nothing."

But here PTS has the tabula rasa. They can do something about shoddy translation, and the first act is not to translate from a free source like The Gutenberg Project which is claimed to harbour the defective translations of Jules Verne's works. If PTS cannot find translators that can translate from the original French, then I hope PTS would at least consider translating from better and more reliable sources (for example, from the Penguin Classic editions, although I realise this might cost money, and I'm not really sure if they're that reliable a translation anyway).

I respect PTS as a forward-thinking publisher of Malay books and I hope they really consider this problem properly. It's not enough to make Jules Verne accessible to Malay readers... you have to give them quality reading too.

Just my 2 sen.

(Ted would love to see a Malay translation of H.P. Lovecraft.)


  1. horey you're getting married!!
    congrats Ted! on 50th Merdeka Day! how cool is that?

    p/s: you can become that guy in Digi tv advert - "aku merdeka dengan alam baru" or something like that :)

  2. Thanks Laydiefa! It IS cool, but not as cool as it will be on my 50th wedding anniversary! Hoho!

    Hahaha... Digi ads are so lame! Tak mau aa!

  3. I would like to congratulate their effort for this project.

    I hope more and more foreign novels will be translated into malay.

    But i do share same concern with you regarding the quality of the translation. I hope they pick the translator carefully and not for the sake of meeting the printing deadline.

    French (or any other language) ---->> English ---->>> Malay. It's like third degree process, increasing possibilty numbers of errors or inaccurate stuff.

    I praise them for the effort and hope this project not to be taken lightly. Maybe can inspire other publishing house to take his step so we as the readers can enjoy variety of translated material.

    And hey, where's DBP?


    Getting married eh, congratulations!

  4. I left a link over there to this post but I'm not sure if it will reach the right people. Ah well.

    I also hope more and more foreign works get translated into Malay, but I also hope for these translations to be worthy of the originals.

    I have a lot of respect for PTS's efforts in rejuvenating the Malay book world, and I believe if the amount of Malay books read increases it will be because of PTS.

    This spirit is what should have been in DBP. DBP lacks spirit and motivation because they're part of the government; their employees don't feel any pressure to do anything worthwhile because theirs jobs aren't on the line. I feel DBP will continue to be a white elephant for a long time to come if something drastic isn't done. And since the government is too busy congratulating themselves on a Merdeka well done...

    Maybe we should all email the director and tell him to shape up or ship out? Or will we be talking to a brick wall?


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