Bagaimana Penerjemah Bekerja: Pengalamanku

Bagaimana Penerjemah Bekerja

Sebagai seorang peminat linguistik, menerjemahkan adalah salah satu hal yang kunikmati. Aku yakin bahwa menerjemahkan memberikan penguatan terhadap apa yang ingin kucapai sebagai seorang ahli linguistik. Meskipun menyenangkan, menerjemahkan bisa sangat menguras tenaga.

Banyak orang yang berpikir bahwa sudah ada google.translate, harusnya menerjemahkan tidak sesulit itu, bukan? Tidak sedikit yang beranggapan bahwa menerjemahkan hanya mengganti satu kata di sebuah bahasa dengan kata yang memiliki arti sama di bahasa lain sehingga cenderung meremehkan penerjemah dan penerjemahan.

Pada tulisan kali ini aku akan berfokus pada bagaimana penerjemah bekerja, dan proses mental apa yang terjadi saat mereka menerjemahkan. Aku juga akan menceritakan sedikit tentang tarif penerjemah. Oya, karena ini pengalamanku, maka tulisan ini memiliki subjektivitas yang besar. Barangkali ada penerjemah lain yang tidak sependapat, dan mau berkomentar, aku persilakan 🙂

Apa itu “translation” atau “menerjemahkan?”

Menerjemahkan pada dasarnya bentuk komunikasi makna, di mana satu kalimat di sebuah bahasa disampaikan ke dalam bahasa lain dengan kalimat yang ekuivalen (mempertahankan makna). Sebagai contoh, kita mau mengatakan “we want to make them feel at home” di Bahasa Indonesia. Tentunya kalau kita mau menerjemahkan itu secara harfiah, kita bisa mengatakan “kami mau membuat mereka merasa di rumah.”  Sebagai orang Indonesia, saya merasa ada yang kurang dengan kalimat ini.

Kedua kalimat di atas terlihat sama persis, tetapi komunikasi maknanya kurang tersampaikan. Kenapa? Karena di bahasa target (dalam hal ini Bahasa Indonesia), kita tidak mengatakan itu. Secara alami, kita biasanya mengatakan “kami mau membuat mereka merasa seperti di rumah.” Ini artinya menyampaikan dengan kalimat yang  ekuivalen. Memakai struktur yang alami di bahasa target, tetapi mempertahankan sebisa mungkin struktur bahasa asal.

Thought Patterns

Kalimat “I lost my keys” adalah contoh paling populer yang bisa menunjukkan betapa berbedanya English Thought Pattern dengan Indonesian Thought Pattern. Di Bahasa Inggris, peristiwa-peristiwa yang bernuansa ‘musibah’ seperti kehilangan sesuatu, terpotong/terlukai, terpukul, yang disebabkan oleh diri sendiri, dilihat sebagai peristiwa di mana subjeknya harus bertanggung jawab, baik sengaja atau tidak.

Bagaimana bunyi kalimat di atas kalau kita terjemahkan ke Bahasa Indonesia? Banyak dari kita yang akan mengatakan “Saya kehilangan kunci” atau “kunci saya hilang“, bukan “saya menghilangkan kunci saya“. Keduanya melihat ‘saya’ sebagai korban. Untuk orang Indonesia, ada perbedaan besar antara “saya kehilangan kunci” dengan “saya menghilangkan kunci“. Perbedaan imbuhan ‘ke-an’ dan ‘me-kan’ sangat berpengaruh dalam menciptakan nuansa ini.

Kalimat *)”She burned her finger while cooking” dalam logika Bahasa Indonesia mungkin tidak masuk akal. Kenapa subjek melakukan itu ke dirinya sendiri? Di sini mungkin kita bisa melihat dua hal yang berkaitan dengan thought pattern: Bahasa Indonesia (dalam kalimat-kalimat semacam ini) melihat subjek sebagai korban karena dalam Bahasa Indonesia, kesengajaan (atau ketidaksengajaan) harus dimasukkan ke dalam kalimat lewat pemakaian imbuhan; adapun di Bahasa Inggris, subjek adalah yang bertanggung jawab atas kejadian itu, tidak peduli sengaja atau tidak.

Perbedaan thought pattern ini membuat penerjemah harus berpikir apakah harus mengikuti struktur bahasa asal secara persis atau boleh ada perubahan.

*)”Jari dia terbakar” adalah cara umum yang digunakan untuk menggambarkan apa yang terjadi dengan ‘jari’ alih-alih berfokus pada ‘dia’.

Metafrase atau Parafrase?

Ya… itu pertanyaan paling utama ketika menerjemahkan. Apakah harus mempertahankan sebanyak mungkin kata (termasuk struktur) untuk mempertahankan keakuratan [metafrase] atau dibolehkan untuk mengganti kalimatnya ke dalam kalimat yang bisa jadi benar-benar berbeda asalkan maknanya sama [parafrase]. Kalimat tanpa parafrase mungkin akan membuat pembaca berpikir “aku ga pernah denger orang ngomong gini” tapi terjemahan dengan parafrase akan beresiko mengurangi akurasi. Banyak buku teks kuliahku dulu yang diterjemahkan dengan ‘aneh’ karena bukannya membuatku mengerti, aku merasa makin bingung dengan apa yang ditulis.

Perbedaan thought pattern hanya salah satu dari hal yang membuat penerjemah memutuskan apakah harus melakukan parafrase atau tidak. Hal lain yang penting adalah signifikansi budaya. Misalnya begini, kita menerjemahkan sebuah Novel berbahasa Inggris. Di dalamnya disebutkan acara TV populer di Inggris yang ditonton oleh si protagonis. Nah, apakah acara TV ini harus disebut apa adanya (dengan resiko kehilangan nuansa ‘populer’ karena di Indonesia belum tentu ada orang yang tahu acara itu)? Atau bisakah penerjemah menggantinya dengan acara TV yang populer di Indonesia (dengan resiko mengurangi akurasi dan mungkin membuat suasana latar di Novel jadi sedikit ganjil)? Atau perlukah menggunakan catatan kaki (dan membuatnya seperti Karya Tulis Ilmiah)?

Diksi (Pemilihan Kata)

Sekarang bayangkan kalian sedang dibuatkan segelas teh manis hangat. Teh itu bau melati, warnanya coklat terang, dan rasanya sedikit sepat. Ampas teh yang ada di gelas tidak mengganggu kenikmatan. Teh itu teh tubruk dan rasanya cukup kuat. Kini coba pikir, apa sih Bahasa Inggrisnya untuk ‘teh tubruk’? Apa pula Bahasa Inggrisnya ‘teh yang terlalu pahit/sepat?’

Kesulitan memilih kata di bahasa target sering terjadi ketika menerjemahkan. Apakah ‘completely forget’ berarti *)’lupa dengan lengkap’?

Hal ini bisa jadi terjadi karena memang istilah di bahasa target tidak ada karena secara kultur memang tidak dikenal. Hal ini juga bisa disebabkan karena yang namanya kolokasi (collocation) di mana kata-kata tertentu punya pasangan yang pasti dan tidak boleh diganti dengan kata lain.

Mungkin tidak ada kata di Bahasa Inggris untuk ‘teh tubruk’ (teh seduh yang berampas) tapi di Bahasa Inggris ada frasa ‘loose tea’ yang berarti daun teh kering dan bukan teh celup. Teh yang terlalu pahit/sepat mungkin adalah teh yang kuat, meskipun kita tidak pernah mengatakan itu, tetapi di Bahasa Inggris itu harus diterjemahkan sebagai ‘strong tea’ dan bukan ‘powerful tea‘.

Contoh paling umum adalah menerjemahkan kata ‘kopi pahit’ ke Bahasa Inggris. Meskipun untuk mayoritas orang Indonesia kopi (tanpa gula) identik dengan pahit, di Bahasa Inggris frasa ‘bitter coffee’ berarti kualitas minuman kopinya jelek karena diseduh terlalu lama atau airnya terlalu panas. Kopi tanpa gula di Bahasa Inggris adalah ‘black coffee’.

*)Orang Indonesian akan mengatakan ‘benar-benar lupa’ untuk frasa di atas. Bagaimana dengan ‘benar-benar menyadari’? Yang paling dekat mungkin adalah ‘fully aware’.

Bagaimana Menerjemahkan?

Karena banyaknya pertimbangan ketika menerjemahkan, aku selalu mempersiapkan kamus monolingual (hampir selalu www.oxforddictionaries.com atau Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia), kamus bilingual (biasanya google translate), kamus tesaurus (biasanya thesaurus.com), kamus collocation (biasanya Online OXFORD Collocation Dictionary). Semua ini masih didukung oleh mesin pencari google untuk melihat apakah kata/kombinasi kata ini bisa ditemukan secara umum di tulisan-tulisan yang ada.

Biasanya untuk aku bisa menyelesaikan lebih dari 10 halaman perhari asalkan tulisannya masih cukup umum dan tidak sibuk. Kalau tulisannya cukup terspesialisasi, apalagi kalau masih harus mengajar 4-6 jam sehari, biasanya kurang dari 10. Kalau dipaksa 10 halaman sehari dalam kondisi itu, bisa stres. Hahaha.

Apakah sepadan bekerja sebagai penerjemah? Tentu saja! Untukku yang juga seorang guru bahasa, menerjemahkan memberikan perspektif baru dalam mengajar, dan pengalaman mengajar (khususnya ketika berhadapan dengan kesalahan umum yang dibuat murid) juga memberikan perspektif lain ketika menerjemahkan.

Berapa Honorarium Menerjemahkan?

Ini menarik sekali, khususnya untuk setting Indonesia. Banyak orang menawarkan terjemahan dengan beragam harga sehingga sepintas tidak ada keseragaman dan penetapan tarif jadi terkesan arbitrari antara klien dan penerjemah. Tentunya ini memang benar-benar kesepakatan antara penerjemah dengan klien. Penerjemah berhak memasang tarif dan klien berhak untuk memilih mana penerjemah yang cocok (karena tarif atau karena seberapa percaya mereka dengan penerjemah itu).

Sedihnya, kadang ada orang-orang yang tidak memahami sulitnya menerjemahkan sehingga dengan entengnya protes kalau tidak suka dengan tarifnya, bahkan aku punya kolega guru Bahasa Inggris yang menerjemahkan dengan gratis hanya karena orang itu sepupunya, padahal aku tahu kolegaku ini juga sibuk mengajar.

Ada beberapa acuan yang bisa dijadikan patokan penetapan tarif:

  1. Perhalaman (halaman jadi atau halaman sumber)
  2. Perkata (artikel jadi atau artikel sumber)

Semuanya mempertimbangkan faktor dari bahasa mana diterjemahkan (bahasa ibu ke bahasa asing biasanya lebih mahal), apakah artikel khusus/terspesialisasi, apakah harus dilakukan oleh penerjemah bersumpah, dan kapan terjemahan harus selesai. Sebagai ilustrasi, aku berikan tarif penerjemahan dari Peraturan Menteri Keuangan No.65/PMK.02/2015.

Tarif Penerjemahan

Sekarang, apa pendapat kalian tentang profesi penerjemah?

Tunggu artikel berikutnya untuk juru bahasa (interpreting), ya!

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When A Stranger Asks “Dari Mana?”

When A Stranger Asks

For a lot of foreigners the question “dari mana?” is considered a personal question. Many of them who come to Indonesia are taken aback when a stranger (Indonesian) asks this question casually on the street. I know this because my students were. If it’s your first time coming to Indonesia, it is easy to feel intimidated. “What does this person want to know where I’m from?” You might think.

If you are startled, it’s a normal reaction. Actually, the issue is more about what you should respond correctly. Students of Indonesian should see that behind this seemingly invasive approach, those people basically want to say “hi”. It is a part of the local hospitality. A weird way of saying “hi”, I know.

What most foreigners do not realize is that even though this question is a generic question to ask origin, it has other functions as well.

Imagine a situation where you have an appointment with an Indonesian friend, and he is late. Of course, besides saying “why are you late?” (“Kenapa kamu terlambat?”) you can also say “kamu dari mana?” (it literally means “where are you from?” as in “where were you before you came here that made you come late?”).

In another situation where you are with a friend in a party but she excuses herself to go somewhere (she does not say where). Suddenly you see a famous person in the party, but he quickly goes somewhere else. When your friend returns, you will probably say “where have you been?” that can go with “kamu dari mana?”

In a different situation, imagine you are with your friend, and you excuse yourself to the restroom. When you come back, your friend is not there. When he returns you can say “kamu dari mana?” as in “where were you? Where did you go?”

Okay, enough with imaginations. Those are some examples where you can actually use “dari mana?” in different situations. So when someone, especially a person who knows you personally, asks “dari mana?” immediately think that they ask where you are before you meet him, not where (which country) you originally come from.

Now, let us go back to the stranger on the street.

When a stranger asks you “dari mana?” especially a middle aged woman sweeping the floor or a group of nice cute giggling children, don’t feel intimidated. Believe me, they care less of what you are doing. They do not really want to know. They are trying to say “hi” to you.

Even though “dari mana?” is a form of greeting, answering it with “baik” does not sound correct. In fact, it sounds weird. When a stranger asks “dari mana?” a vague answer like “dari sana” (from there) always works. You can also answer with “dari jalan-jalan” (from walking/strolling), or “dari toko” (from a shop).

If you notice, instead of asking “dari mana?” some people might ask “ke mana?” (where are you going?). This is basically the same as “dari mana”, and you need to answer properly by saying “ke” followed with anywhere you are going to. You do not need to go into details and explain where you are going exactly, and no, they are not going to stalk.

After that, it is always a nice thing to close this short encounter with “mari, pak/bu”, smile, bow a little bit (just a little bit!), and then go. The middle aged woman who is sweeping the floor might answer it the same way with a big smile on her face. Congratulations! You are one step closer to become an Indonesian.

PS: You do not have to do the same to the children. After answering the question, just smile and go.

Why Indonesian is Malay and Not Javanese?

Why Indonesian is Malay and not Javanese-

You just started studying Indonesian, and one day you go to Malaysia. You notice that a lot of words are familiar to you. You know from sources you read that Indonesian and Malaysian are basically one language. Why is that so?

Since a long time ago, Malay language that was spoken in northeast Sumatera has been used in Indonesian archipelago for hundreds of years. As lingua franca, it is mainly used as the language of trade even by some of the eastern part of now Indonesia (of which the native languages are of Western Papuan Family).

During colonialization, Malay was significantly used as a trading and political language. The Dutch were reluctant to promote the use of their language, and so Malay was popular among the commoners while Dutch is used by the elite, in contrast to other colonialists (the French, Portuguese, and even the British). This was probably done because the Dutch did not want the Indonesians to see themselves as equals to them.

Despite the Youth Congress in 1928 which agreed on the use of Indonesian language as the unification language, the Dutch language was still dominant in a lot of formal aspects. However, in 1938 Indonesian was used in the people’s council (Volksraad) much to the Dutch’s chagrin. By the time the Dutch realized that the use of Indonesian language is a threat to their interest, it was too late.

Now, the question here is why didn’t Indonesian founding fathers choose Javanese? Javanese as an option really made sense. First, Javanese kingdoms were powerful and dominant. Second, It was (and still is) the language with the most number of first speakers in the whole archipelago. Third, a lot of the founding fathers are Javanese, including the first president (whose father was a Javanese aristocrat).

The reason is very simple. Javanese is not a simple language. It’s very impractical. When you learn Javanese you have to learn three different styles; Krama inggil, krama madya, and ngoko. If you think it’s easy, think again! Those styles are basically different languages not because of verb inflections (changes in the verbs to signify different functions); they have different sets of vocabulary. For every one thing (or idea), you have to remember three different words! Not only that, you also have to know where and when you should use those languages.

Have I mentioned that even though you are using krama inggil (the most polite and formal style), you have to be able to choose when to lower yourself or honor someone else. There are different words for that also. In fact, what’s confusing is that you can answer using a krama inggil verb to show your superiority by using honorific verbs. Confusing? I know.

Now you know why Malay is more preferred and practical and why it was chosen as Indonesian.

FYI, ‘Besok’ Doesn’t Always Mean ‘Tomorrow’

FYI

One day, you need help with something and you ask your Indonesian friend. He seems busy at the time but you ask, nonetheless, in Indonesian. He says, “Oke. Saya kerjakan besok, ya.” The next when you meet him, he hasn’t done it. You’re confused and a little bit frustrated.

Lexically speaking [in any Indonesian-English dictionaries you read], “tomorrow” means “besok”, but why when an Indonesian says “besok” it doesn’t always mean “tomorrow”. Why?

From the perspective of an Indonesian (me), Indonesians have a vague concept of time; well, at least with this word. This vagueness can be seen in our so-called “ngaret” or “jam karet”, the habit of coming up late. Young people nowadays make jokes, saying that “otw [on the way] means you’re still in your bed, trying to get up”. One of my students, a German who worked for her social year in Nias Island, told me a story when she was invited to a youth meeting in a church in South Nias. She came at the exact hour she was told to but, much to her surprise, the others showed up two hours later. She was pissed off, but she learned one important lesson; to come up two hours after any appointed time.

For many Indonesians, aside from “tomorrow”, “besok” can mean sometime in the future. It’s a word that, to some extent, can be seen as nonspecific and ambiguous. I’m not trying to discourage you from your learning, but whenever an Indonesian says “besok” to you, don’t hesitate to ask “besok,’besok’ atau besok kapan-kapan?”

PS: This happens with the words “nanti” and “kemarin” as well. “Nanti” can mean “later (on the same day)” or just like besok (some time in the future). “Kemarin”, on the other hand, can mean “yesterday” or “sometime in the past”.

Do you have similar experiences? Share it in the comment section below!

Language Abandonment : An Issue in Indonesian context

Language Abandonment

Language death happens when the last speaker of the language dies. Its process is usually gradual, and most commonly occurs when the native speakers of a language start using a second language (usually imposed by the majority or voluntarily done due to political or economic reasons) until they stop using their first language.

As a country with very diverse ethnicities, Indonesia has more than 700 local languages. With people speaking different languages that mostly are not mutually intelligible, Indonesia chose Malay language, dubbed as Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), as the language of unity. The choice was made not because Malay language was spoken by the majority, nor was it the language of the forefathers; in fact, Javanese was and is the largest ethnic group in Indonesian and most of the forefathers are Javanese. Malay was chosen because it was the lingua franca of the whole archipelago and considered to be practical. It was and still is more practical than Javanese. Now, more and more people speak Indonesian as its first language.

As a national language, Indonesian is used in everyday life, in government offices, in education, and interacting with people, especially from other ethnic groups. Places with economic or educational significance are usually where people from different ethnicities gather. In these places, Indonesian serves as a uniting element.

With Indonesian used widely, the existence of other languages are threatened, to some extent. In 2009, 16 languages died in the course of two years (from 742 languages in 2007 to 726). Because people think that learning and getting used to Bahasa Indonesia will contribute to a better life, better accessibility, they stop using their local languages; they assimilate. Furthermore, some people avoid using their local languages, because they’re afraid that other people might disparage them. This shift in using Indonesian has taken its toll on the largest local language in Indonesian, i.e. Javanese. Many young Javanese people now forget specific vocabulary, e.g. those related to animals’ offspring, flowers, specific actions, certain sounds (onomatopoeia), etc.

Let’s think of a hypothetical condition where Indonesian is not used; it doesn’t exist. It does make sense, since Indonesian language doesn’t really have a long history compared to some other local languages. A local language with the largest groups of speakers would be Javanese. Due to its historical significance, its enormous number of speakers, the distribution of the Javanese people all over Indonesia (not to mention those who live in Suriname), the importance of Java Island in education, economy, and politics, Javanese language will most likely take over the role of Indonesian language as the language of power and unity.

Besides Indonesian language as its national language and Javanese as the language with most speakers in Indonesia, Indonesia also has at least twenty local languages that are spoken by more than one million people. Even without the existence of Indonesian language, these languages can serve as lingua franca on smaller levels, which then contribute to language abandonment of other minority languages.

Learning From The Students

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Teaching can give us more than just money and satisfaction, nor is it merely an expression of passion. Teaching is basically a place for everyone, including the teacher, to study.

For the past few months, I’ve been teaching my native language to foreign speakers. While teaching, I didn’t only grow my understanding of my own language, which leads to a deep respect of the richness and beauty of Bahasa Indonesia, but also learn other things, such as economics, politics, etc, due to the various background of my students.

And tonight, I just realised one form of learning by teaching. It happened when I was explaining why money is uncountable to my English students. In just few miliseconds ideas came into my mind, flowing strongly, and without being aware, I said to my students that money is basically idea. Why idea? It’s very simple. Money, physically, is paper, but what makes this kind of paper is valuable, while other kind of paper is not? It’s the idea that everyone has that money is valuable.

Learning about everything requires us to open our mind, to be ready to understand what others are thinking, and more importantly, what we are thinking, and how we can articulate that into strings of comprehensible words.