[Reflecting] Interpreting project in Singapore 2008

Harry Hermawan in Singapore during a language project

My first language project that took me abroad, outside Indonesia was an interpreting project.

It was such an experience because the process of getting the project was a long one, it took almost six months.

This interpreting project was for a training in the restaurant industry. It took around two days.

There was another Indonesian who also worked on this, she was an Indonesian living in Singapore.

The project was simultaneous interpreting. During this project I had to use a tool. Most simultaneous interpreting usually endure this procedure.

The simultaneous interpreting was a hard process in that you had to concentrate hard to do the job. Overall, it was an extraordinary experience.

Disclaimer: Prior to Covid-19 Pandemic

Taken by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA – visit to Ikea Singapore before flying back to Jakarta

Original posting


According to urbandictionary.com ‘selfie’ is defined as:

“A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera. ”

The topic selfie had a trending topic in the Internet world especially in Indonesia.
Here are some more definition of the word selfie.
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media:
occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself every day isn’t necessary

More example sentences:
– She then tweeted a “selfie” that shows her clearly wearing make-up.
– This is all well and good in the privacy of one’s home, but when he decided to take a selfie on stage at Madison Square Garden last night, things got a little out of hand.
– You can always take a ‘selfie’ with the wall of famous faces who have stayed at the hotel.

The site merriam-webster.com added a note:
First Known Use of SELFIE

Another website Dictionary.com noted the origin a litte bit later:
2005-10; self + -ie

I guess as an individual whose work environment involves the topic above, it is a sure way of triggering the making of an article. And, as a translator in the language pair of English to Indonesian, who resides in Jakarta, this “selfie” is indeed an interesting and stimulating phenomenon on the mind.

Well, I feel that for some people, when they’re taking selfies at least now, they will have a sense of what ‘selfie’ really means now.

“Car Free Day” or “No Car Day”

Check the video…

What would be the best title for the video above?

1. Car Free Day or
2. No Car Day?

Which makes more sense? The first one or the second when it is meant what the video plays? To get the gist of the narration? Or the essence of the video? Which?

according to online sources:

car: –noun
1. an automobile.
2. a vehicle running on rails, as a streetcar or railroad car.

car: a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal-combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people:we’re going by car

car: a : a vehicle moving on wheels: as a archaic : carriage, chariot b : a vehicle designed to move on rails (as of a railroad) c : automobile

as for “free” click on the three links to see more elaboration…
free (Merriam-Webster)
free (dictionary.com)
free (Oxford Dictionary)

So, your best answer for the title of the video?
Answer: one. Makes sense right, if title one is chosen.

I guess the people who came up with the phrase “Car Free Day” should look and think again, maybe to the East i.e. China. And, paraphrase it to “No Car Day” if the meaning or what is being put forward is not what has been nicely put into moving picture as above. Well, maybe not just the East, maybe common sense would do here.

As for Bahasa Indonesia, would we still use “Car Free Day” and “Hari Bebas Kendaraan” or “No Car Day” and “Hari Tanpa Kendaraan”?

Antara News : “Car Free Day” Jakarta Jadi Dua Kali Sebulan
Lahirnya Kebiasaan Baru Warga Kota – KOMPAS.com
Tempointeraktif.Com – Jadwal Hari Bebas Kendaraan Bermotor Tahun 2011

We know the answer, right?

Dwell on it.

English humour

I don’t know what it is about English humour (not humor).

I just can’t explain.

But this bit is funny.

Anyway, here is a wholesome reading on English humour, “Of all the characteristics, good and bad, for which the English are known in the outside world, our sense of humour is one of the best-known and most positively regarded. The theory apparently goes that not only do we have more humour overall than other nations, it is consistently funnier too. This article will attempt to examine some of the major characteristics of English humour, and suggest some reasons for its development into such a powerful influence on our society and culture.

Flossing, chin wag, ba-donka-donk, chuffed to bits, shawty

As a translator/interpreter sometimes you have moments when you don’t actually translate or interpret. During this moment, I just browse on the internet to find things and go to youtube.com.

Interestingly I stumble upon these interesting words:
Flossing, chin wag, ba-donka-donk, chuffed to bits, shawty
Check this site for details of the meanings.

Or click on the meaning to get to the site:

Flossing: Showing off; showing what you’ve got.

Chin wag: shaking your head side to side, as if saying no.

Ba-donka-donk: An ‘ebonic’ expression for an extremely curvaceous female behind. Women who possess this feature usually have a small waist that violently explodes into round and juicy posterior (e.g., 34c, 24, 38). Other characteristics would be moderately wide hips and a large amount of booty cleavage (i.e, depth of butt-crack).

Chuffed to bits: To be thrilled by something.

Shawty (several meanings): A term orginating in Atlanta that, in the beginning, referred to a short person or child, but the span of the word has grown to include any and all people, especially a girl that is attractive; it is mostly used as a term of endearment to others or just a way of addressing someone, like ‘Wassup Man,’ Instead of “Man”, shawty is used.
NOTE: Can be shortened to “shawt” or “shawtdawg”.

Or if you want to find it in a humorous way, find time to see this video below:

I loved it.

Was ‘coblos’, is ‘contreng’

‘Coblos’ means to perforate.

In Indonesia during the New Order regime, ‘coblos’ relates to voting for someone by perforating an election symbol. Back then, the symbols were three. Not that many.

Now, the symbols, in the democratic era in Indonesia, I can’t seems to recall the number, amounts to a lot of symbols.

One other thing that one would notice is that one do not perforate but place a mark on the election symbol of ones choosing.

The word has shifted from ‘coblos’, which was THE word for this kind of action, an action of significance to ‘contreng’.

‘Contreng’ is another word for ‘conteng’. ‘Contreng’ does not have a place in the Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia or KBBI in its entry, yet. But ‘conteng’ or ‘centang’ does.

The two (contreng, centang) literary means to put a mark, a cross, an indication, anything of the sort that signifies that the scribbles means simply: “I choose this one”.

An article Indonesia in bahasakita.com, puts forward this concerns.

Setelah saya cek di Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia (KBBI), ternyata kata contreng yang digembar-gemborkan selama ini tidak ada. Kata yang paling mendekati adalah “conteng” yang artinya mencoreng dengan arang (tinta, cat, dsb).

All I can say is: why don’t they simply say. “mark your choice (tandai pilihan Anda)”.

Culture perspective on colour: What’s your colour?

White, blue, yellow, green, red, or rainbow. These words i.e. colours go beyond the colour of the skin of Indonesians. What?

Well, to start of, this is not about race.

But a competition. A race then? Yes, in a different context.

A race to the House of Representatives.

I mean green? Aliens? No. Blue? Royalty? No. Rainbow? Hmm…

Anyway, nearing the course of a legislative election in Indonesia, in the month of April 2009, most Indonesians will have adopted a colour of their choosing.

Some prefer yellow, or blue, while others choose red, and for some they just adore and like plain white.

How so?

Well, there is a term where ordinary Indonesians are aware of. The term is “GOLONGAN PUTIH” or “golput” an abbreviation that means “the white group”.

Golput is the abbreviation of “golongan putih” or the white group. In this context it is a group that will exercise their democratic right not to vote and therefore remain white or unstained by the process.

Politics in this blog? No.

I’m just pointing out words (colours) in a cultural context in Indonesia and the phenomena people have adopted to embedded themselves to the beliefs of parties i.e. political parties.

A researcher in the Politics and Social Change Department at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta noted:

…political observers are increasingly concerned with the increasing prevalence of golput (non-voters).

Hm… this means there will be Indonesians exercising their rights to choose not to choose. Interesting huh?

Anyway, what about other colours?

Yellow for example, ini the Jakarta region connotes not only to death but also the Golkar Party. Please see these: Lampu Kuning for Golkar. Blitar Jadi Lautan Biru Demokrat, is the colour of Demokrat party. PPP Tetap ‘Kibarkan’ Warna Hijau relates to the PPP party. And, Yang Merah Itu Pasti yang Kualitasnya Paling Baik is the PDI-P’s Party.

So, Indonesians, what’s your colour?

Lyrics: Rainbow Country

Portuguese Influence in Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia)

Portuguese in Indonesian do have a place. I’ve always wondered to which extent the loan words from the land of Portugal came to the Indonesian language.

To my surprise, there appears some words from Portuguese. There was a research conducted by Antonio Pinto da França (1970) and later published in the book titled: “A Influencia Portuguesa na Indonesia”. This book later was translated into Indonesian by “Pustaka SH” publisher in the year 2000. It was called: “Pengaruh Portugis di Indonesia” (translation: Portuguese Influence in Indonesia).

The words such as:

armada, bola, pena, roda, ronda, sisa, tenda, tinta

became Indonesian (armada, ball, pen, wheel, rounds, remnant, tent, ink).

There are also vocabularies that have changed the way they sound such as:

algojo (algoz), bangku (banco), bantal (avental), bendera (bandeira), biola (viola), bolu (balo), boneca (boneca), jendela (janela), gereja (igreja), kaldu (caldo), kantin (cantina), kemeja (camisa), kereta (carreta), meja (mesa), mentega (manteiga), pesiar (passear), pigura (figura), pita (fita), sepatu (sapato), serdadu (soldado), cerutu (charuto), tolol (tolo).

So, I can say Indonesian is a rich potpourri and will borrow and adopt any other words from any languages as the language (Indonesian) see fit. But, I guess this works in any languages that utilizes other languages to enrich the vocabularies.

Tingling and Pins and Needles

I guess a translation of a term relates closely to a culture in their respective languages.

A discussion on “tingling and pins and needles” have been a pain for some translators in the language pair English Indonesian.

The term “kesemutan” is a feeling of being bitten by ants in Indonesian. As can be seen here from KBBI:

ke·se·mut·an a berasa senyar (geranyam) pd anggota badan, spt digigit semut, terutama kaki dan tangan (krn lama duduk tanpa bergerak-gerak atau tertekan terlalu lama dsb): krn terlalu lama bersimpuh, kakiku menjadi –

The English “tingling and pins and needles” can be loosely and general translated as “kesemutan”.

If the translation text is of a general term for a general purpose this translated choice is sufficient. But, for more specific one, it is not.

The English term of “tingling” is:

to have a sensation of slight prickles, stings, or tremors, as from cold, a sharp blow, excitement, etc.: I tingle all over.

As for “pins and needles”:

a tingly, prickly sensation in a limb that is recovering from numbness.

The Indonesian solution for the case on hand ranges from:

senyar, cekit-cekit, geringgingan, rasa geli

hopefully more terms can be found that has etymological point of reference from the regional languages of Indonesia.

I expect the exploration of such terms and discussions help us to cure that “pain” and releases us of the “pain” and give us a relieve instead.


CAT Tool Versi Google: Google Translator Toolkit

Coba disimak tautan berikut ini: LINK

Isinya adalah:

Google Translator Toolkit is a new tool being launched today to help translators organize their work and benefit from shared translations, glossaries and translation memories, the Google China Blog reports (English translation by Google).

Diterjemahkan oleh Google Translate:

Penerjemah Google Toolkit adalah sebuah tool baru yang diluncurkan hari ini untuk membantu penerjemah mengatur pekerjaan mereka dan mendapatkan manfaat dari berbagi translations, glossaries terjemahan dan kenangan, di Cina Google Blog laporan (Inggris translation oleh Google).

Penerjemah (atau siapapun yang merasa ingin berkontribusi-don’t we all? 🙂 ) dapat melakukannya dengan menuju ke: http://translate.google.com/toolkit/

Sepertinya ini merupakan simbiosis mutualisme.

Tapi tak mengapa, semoga win-win solution pencapaiannya.
Jadi, kalau Anda menyukai, tunggu apa lagi. Silakan buka-buka, tautan-tautan tersebut dan selamat berbagi dan menterjemahkan.

Update: Simak juga tautan ini.

Backtranslation in video style

I searched around to see videos that may relate to the content of my website. Suddenly (not exactly) I found a video in youtube.com which I think would put a smile on your face and I could not resist in posting it here.

The video is a result of a back-translation.

The original dialogs of the video were in English (subtitles) then it was translated (with a popular translation website) into French, then from French into German, and from German back into French, and then from French back into the original language, English.

The result?

Tell me what you think. Enjoy.

Etymology: Oxymoron

The origins of the word oxymoron:
1657, from Gk. oxymoron, noun use of neut. of oxymoros (adj.) “pointedly foolish,” from oxys “sharp” (see acrid) + moros “stupid.” Rhetorical figure by which contradictory terms are conjoined so as to give point to the statement or expression; the word itself is an illustration of the thing. Now often used loosely to mean “contradiction in terms.”
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

I guess reading is a bit tedious, so compare it with watching this youtube video.


Note: Was in …