January 30, 2008

A Tribute to the late President Soeharto

Sunday, 27 th of January 2008, at 01:10 pm, the founding father of modern Indonesia passed away after more than 3 weeks of hospitalization and undergoing multiple organ failures. Great 5-Star- General Soeharto is one the best sons of the Republic of Indonesia. Regardless of your stand toward him and your opinion about him, he still stands out of the crowd among more than 250 millions citizens of Indonesia. For most Indonesians, he still deserves the right to hold the title of “Father of Development”. He does have some weaknesses as a human being (Who does not anyway?). But if you are an objective person, you have to see him and rate him from all aspects and sides of his life. He used to be a prominent figure for the last fifty years of Indonesia until his downfall in 1998.

For many present day poor citizens of the Republic of Indonesia, being under Soeharto’s regime prior to the economic crisis which led to his downfall, feel a lot better than being poor citizens of the present day reformed era. There must be a reason why they feel so. The reasons which may be too many to describe here lead them to compare his leadership with that of his successors’. When the so called era of reformation began, they had expected that they were facing a lot brighter future ahead of them. But then what happened? They have to face a long decade of struggle which shows no clues of betterment. Life is not getting easier, corruption is still rampant, and to make the situation even worse is that Indonesia has been constantly undergoing natural disasters for the last five years . Being in that situation, you cannot blame them for regretting the so-called era of reformation. “What has been reformed for the better?” they keep asking. Can any one give a satisfactory answer to this question asked by many uneducated Indonesians?

Pak Harto has deeply impressed many people not only for the length of time of his presidency but also for many outstanding achievements he achieved during his 5 terms. Outsiders might call him a dictator but they could not liken him to other leaders who were granted the same title, because Pak Harto had many exceptions that others did not. Some people do not mind having a dictator for their leader if the title has many positive values, especially in terms of quality of leadership. People need a strong leader whom they can rely on in all situations. Leading a big country with great potential of disintegration sometimes one needs strong hands. That may explain some of the decisions he made and the actions he took.

I was about to start my elementary school when Pak Harto began leading this big country. So it is quite natural if I feel like many other Indonesians of my age that Pak Harto has become part of my life, my education, my destiny, and later on my history. I feel the loss which many Indonesians who admire and love him feel. That explains why I shed tears when I watched his funeral on tv and even when I wrote this tribute.

May Allah bless you Pak Harto. Millions prayers have been said for you by people who admire and love you.

December 17, 2007

Translating With the Help of The Internet

Translating involves advanced writing skills, vocabulary mastery on the subject matter being translated, and comprehension of the content of the subject matter to be translated.

One of the most common problems frequently encountered by a translator who is not familiar with the subject matter to be translated is his ignorance of the technical terms used. To solve this problem a translator must be equipped with a set of subject dictionaries. Certainly not everyone has a complete set of subject dictionaries in his personal library collection. More often than not one has to go to a library to find out the meanings of terms encountered in the material to be translated. The aformentioned problem can now be solved with the help of the internet. The internet has taken over some if not most of the responsibility of printed dictionaries. I have felt greatly assisted by the Internet in doing my translation projects for the last two years. When I encounter a statement, a technical term, or a phenomenon which I cannot find in printed documents I just go to my a search engine and ask for help to find the needed information. Usually in less than 5 minutes I can find the answer to my problem with the help of Google.

With the help of the Internet I can find not only the meaning of the term but also further explanation and the documents which contain the information. It is certainly a lot faster to find the meaning of a word by means of an online dictionary than a printed version.

Majelis Abu Hamid, EzineArticles.com Basic PLUS Author

Invitation to Establish a Network

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to My Blog!

As you may have read my other posts, now you know that I make translating as one of my income generators. At times I get an order of translating from people who want to have their English articles for assignment to be translated into Indonesian since they do not understand English. When this kind of order comes at the time when I am too busy doing other project I have to share this order with another translator. But sometimes it is not easy to find a translator whom I can trust to do the job for me. This is the reason why I invite you all who are capable of translating text from English into Indonesian and vice versa.

To ensure that you are the one whom I can rely on for substituting me as a translator I need to know the quality of your translation, your email address, and your cell phone number for me to contact you if you can fulfil my requirement. Do not hesitate to let me know how much you are normally paid per page if you have ever done any translation in the past. If you are a new translator, do not be shy or hesitant to tell me how much you want to be paid per page of translated work typed on 1.5 line spacing on a letter paper. I am glad to have you all as partners in doing translation projects. By having your contact number, I will be able to contact you when I need to share my translation projects.

To know you better, please introduce yourself to me via comment or email if necessary. Please email me at : majelis.translator@gmail.com

To show me your translation skills, please translate the following paragraphs as instructed:

1. Translate these paragraphs into proper Bahasa Indonesia:

Planning without action is unproductive; action without planning can be counterproductive. Planning without action is like having a multiple personality disorder. You want, talk and long about having, being or doing something, yet, you do nothing about it.

The opposite is also true, as the habit of action without planning carries a high degree of risk and decreases probability of success. Living this way is like playing poker without looking at your hand. You may get an occasional win but you're still a complete knucklehead. (From "The Benefits of Planning" by Gary Ryan Blair)

2. Translate the following paragraphs into proper English.

Kura-kura laut dibagi menjadi dua jenis. Satu jenis, disebut si punggung kulit (leatherback), terbungkus dengan kulit yang menyerupai kulit sapi. Dibawah lapisan kulit ini terdapat cangkang yang terbuat dari tulang rawan dan ribuan tulang-tulang sangat kecil. Tulang rawan membentuk punggung yang menonjol yang memberikan si punggung kulit penampilan yang unik. Si punggung kulit merupakan yang terbesar dari semua kura-kura laut dan yang paling luas penyebarannya. Ia tinggal jauh ke tengah laut kecuali pada musim bertelur.

Kura-kura laut memiliki banyak kerabat kura-kura hidup, termasuk kura-kura air tawar, kura-kura snapping, tortoises, dan kura-kura bercangkang lembut. Semua kura-kura ini tinggal baik di tanah maupun di air tawar. Kura-kura laut adalah satu-satunya kura-kura yang hidup di air asin dari samudera-samudera dunia.

November 30, 2007

Translating: Can It Be Made A Full Time Job?

It is not an easy question to answer. Whether or not one can make translating a full time job depends on many things. First, of course, it depends on whether one is confident about his/her ability as a translator and the quality of his/her translation. Then it depends also on his ability to market his service. To be able to make translating a full time job one must be sure that the income from this job can be relied on for a living. Otherwise, one will not be able to totally depend on it as a full time job.

How can we change translating from a side income generator to a full-time job? Firstly we have to be sure that our service as a translator is marketable which means that we feel sure that there will be regular demand of our work from the clients. It is not impossible to do if you are serious about making a living by translating. At present there are many publishers which need quality translators to help them translate foreign books into Indonesian or possibly Indonesian books into English. Once you are accepted as a translator for a publisher, it will not be hard for you to find translating job to do. You will be regularly assigned by the publisher to translate foreign books into Indonesian or vice versa. The fee of course depends on the contract between you and the publisher. In addition to working as a translator for a specific publisher, you can also offer your translated work to various publishers which may be interested in publishing your work of translation. It means that you work as an independent translator, you can work for many publishers at the same time. Well, the choice is yours.

I myself have been working as an independent translator for many years now. Although at times I may be bound by a contract with my client but it is not a permanent contract, it is only a temporary contract between me and my client for a certain project of translation. The contract is over when the job is done. The contract is oral contract based on trust. When the job is done, I will be paid accordingly and the contract is over.

November 28, 2007

Translating As a Side Job

I have been making translating as my side job since my first translation succeeded. I have translated many short stories and a novel. They were all published in national magazines. In addition to selling my work to national magazines I usually get orders from people who need my help to translate their documents. They pay me according to my standard of payment. To some people it may sound too expensive, but I give my customers quality translation which will never be rejected by anyone who reads and understands the language.

At present I regularly get orders from Graduate Students of Sriwijaya University to translate the abstracts of their theses. This kind of assignment helps me improve my skills in translating and enrich my English vocabulary because I have to deal with various subjects of knowledge. I like this side job because it does not take long to finish and the clients appreciate my work because they are satisfied with the quality of the translation proven by the fact that none of my work is refused by their thesis advisors.

In terms of payment, I have never bluntly determined my fee per page of translated abstract. Usually I hand in my translation to the client in the form typed, properly formatted, and ready to be published abstract. They usually pay me in a range between Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 which equals US $5 to $10 per page. Well, that is not too expensive to them since they feel it is worth my effort and the quality of my translation. Frankly speaking, this fee was initially determined by my own clients when I received my early orders of abstract translation. Then, when the next clients ask me how much I am paid for my abstract translation, I just honestly mention that my fee is within that aforementioned range of figures.

Since the beginning of my career as a translator I have been properly paid by my clients because I can guarantee them that my work of translation is ok proven by the facts that many of my translated works are published by national magazines. This standard has helped me in dealing with my clients. Since mid eighties and early nineties my work of translation has been valued at over US $5 per page. So, if the present client pays me at the aformentioned rate, it is not expensive because the rate has been effective for more than 15 years. And if they feel that it is too expensive they can go and find other translators who are ready to do it for a lower payment.

Although I have earned a lot from my translating job, I still consider this as a side job because I have never tried to professionally market my service as a translator. Most of the time clients know my services from word of mouth of my former clients. I have never advertized my services. Other sources of information are my colleagues and former lecturers. They brag about the quality of my work without my asking them to do so.