Saturday, January 07, 2012

The MINDEF Translation Fiasco

UPDATE Jan 12, 2012
The Wall Street Journal Southeast Asia edition has just give the MINDEF more coverage. Read about it here. Yeap, how can we, with Billion of dollars in Defence budget not use any for this PR exercise? The Defence Minister has pointed the finger to Google Translate - which clearly in my original post showed that Google Translate was pretty accurate and no "Poke Eye" translation.

Taken from Here

Originally posted on January 7, 2012

While most of you already had a good laugh from the Malaysian Ministry of Defence goofing up on the English translation on "Ethical Clothing", some of you might only hear about it only yesterday when the local paper had a page two report about it.
The translation is really really bad. It was so really bad that it couldn't even be the job of Google Translate. As you can see above, "menjolok mata" was literally translated to "poke eye" when it should just be "scantily". Even that is not accurate as it should be "revealing clothing".
It sort of reminded us all of the Bahasa Malaysia to Chinese translation when the China premier came a-calling to Malaysia somewhere mid last year.
Taken from Internet. Can't recall who the photographer was, but it was from a retired reporter from Straits time. Thank you in advance, if you sees this.
The two above were a classic case of laziness. In the days of internet and "everything must be fast", we have sadly lost the fine art of proof-reading a work and took everything for granted.
"seringkali kita terlupa yang bahasa itu jiwa bangsa. Walaupun bahasa yang akan digunakan sebagai perantaraan atau bahasa kedua, kita mesti memastikan penterjermahan bahasa itu adalah tepat dan jitu. Jika tidak, kita akan menjadi bahan ketawa rakyat sedunia."
I ran the above through Google Translate and i must say that the translation was almost spot on.
"often we forget that the language was the soul of the nation. Although the language to be used as an intermediate or second language, we must ensure penterjermahan language is accurate and precise. If notwe will become a laughing people worldwide."  
So, pray to tell, which translation program is our dear Ministry of Defence using? The highly inaccurate translation not only cause a major embarrassment for the Boys in Uniform, but the government as well.
The webpage in English was taken down about 3pm yesterday, after much damage has been done. A quick check on Google Cache was still able to cache it until 30minutes later when the cache was forced to clear and the corresponding page was pointed to the Bahasa Malaysia version. Then by 5pm, it was an "error 404", or webpage not found. For that, I have to give it to the Boys for some damage control - and luckily, not all Malaysians with internet access has read it.
So, if you are the 20% that has not read it yet, here are the screen capture that i managed to PDF - afterall, the evidence makes great literal education of WHAT not to do on a public page in internet. But you have to admit, it was the single-handedly most viewed page with the highest unique hit for MINDEF's webpage. I am envious of that.

By the way, if you think the above is bad, our Malaysia Education Ministry website too, has English that falls below standard. Speaks volume about the quality of A's we are churning out from PMR, SPM and STPM.
Read about it here


  1. The boys in uniform actually had a good laugh themselves as this was done by the civillian dept ;)

  2. The civies tak cukup hell bro. :) I bet the Boys in Uniform rolling in their No.3 even up to now.

    But wait up, Ministry of Education has equal, and as badly translated website...

    shy wei!