The Looming Challenges Faced By A Sworn English Indonesian Translator


challenges anindyatrans
challenges anindyatrans

Translation is the act of rewriting an existing text in a different language altogether. Initially, it was started to assist kings in understanding the language of the travelers visiting their countries it has now become a full-fledged profession with many universities providing courses in the translation of different languages.

Amongst all the language pairs the Indonesian –English pair is a tough one to crack. Finding a sworn English Indonesian translator may be easy but the execution of the same may not be as easy as it seems. Mentioned below are the problems faced by these translators when handling this unique language combination.

1) Multiple words for the same word – In the Indonesian language you have 4 words for rice whereas there is only one 1 word in English for the same. Same way while English has two separate words for toes and fingers the Indonesian language only has one word for both of them. This leads to inconsistency in the translation and the result is an incorrect reproduction of the document.

2) Extensive use of pronouns- While English uses only one pronoun that is you to address someone in the Indonesian language you can have as many as 52 words for the same greeting. Thus whenever the translator starts his job it becomes tough to maintain the quality and the meaning of the original article. Any wrong usage of a word would eventually change the whole essence of the write up.

3) Use of generic words – The Indonesian language uses one generic word for many items, so if you are talking about bird feathers or fur it will have only one word for the same. So if these two words appear in the same sentence then your translation becomes all jumbled up and wrong.

4) Missing adjectives- The English language is blessed with quite a number of adjectives to be used in appropriate situations however it does not apply to the Indonesian language. So descriptive sentences are a distinct possibility leading to issues in the final text.

5) The absence of addressing words- The greeting you would use for a small child is the same for an elderly person. There are no respect words in the Indonesian language whereas in other languages you find at least 2-3 addressing words according to the age of the person you are speaking to. In such a situation it becomes necessary for a translator to add words on his own to lend a credibility to the sentence. This is not correct as the most basic rule of any translation is not to add words on your own.

The Indonesian and English cultures are vastly different leading to such anomalies in their translations. For a sworn English Indonesian translator, handling this combination is a tough nut to crack but if he is careful enough to let go of certain notions before starting then the same work can be completed brilliantly. Just remember this combination may not let you reach the same level of precision as other languages due to the diversity existing between them and your work and output both will show a commendable improvement.


Anindyatrans is a sworn translation office capable of translating all kinds of documents in various languages, such as German, Dutch, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Malay, etc.  We have branches in several Indonesian cities, such as Batam, Surabaya, Bekasi, Bali, Makassar, Bogor, Semarang, Bandung, Balikpapan, Depok, Medan.

For more info, you can reach us at +622122876590; +62218452261; +6281287269379.


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