Saturday, January 22, 2011

The simply ‘you’

This week, I am preparing for the ethic approval application form. In preparing certain necessary translation from English to Malay for some documents, I am stuck with determining the most suitable word to replace the simple word ‘you’. What would be the most suitable word in Malay in the context of the document?

The aim is to prepare a plain simple language letter and form.

For instance, the sentence is:
You are invited to participate…’.

Would it be the general word such as anda, kamu, awak or engkau? All means the same, you. But the three last words may be devoid of relevance when it comes to context. The first is always used in the notice board and I don't feel it suits my purpose.

Or would it be the long usual highly formal phrase with so many slashes like this:
“YBhg. Tan Sri/Tun/Tan Sri/Dato’/Prof./Dr./Tuan/Puan/Cik,”

Sufficient? Have to think of the pool of addressees first.

No more plain and simple.

Perhaps I am no certified translator, hence the problem.

But how many of us use the word in Malay when saying ‘you’ in Malay conversation? In the usage, I think, there are two schools. One school prefers [‘I’ and ‘you’] ie the English words. Another prefers [‘ana’ and  ‘anta’/‘anti’] ie the Arabic pronouns.

Think, which school you are in?

So, the result is ‘campuranisation’ in the Malay conversation. This is what makes the DBP cracks their head in eliminating the rojak in the future direction of the language. Who knows that in future the word you itself is made as part of the language, with the spelling: “yu”. As the development of language is affected by its usage and preference, this is not impossible to happen in near future.

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