Jan 27, 2010


If you're Malaysian, you probably know at least 3 languages - your mother tongue, English, and the national language Bahasa Melayu. In multilingual Malaysia, linguistic abilities is something others can only admire. Though, whether we really master the language is another matter.
It doesn't come surprising therefore, that the media has to tailor to the wide array of languages spoken and used by all Malaysians to penetrate the public. This particular scenario made learning a secular language, say, Chinese, English, or Bahasa Melayu a real fun affair.
I do not deliberately look for similar ads in the newspapers today, it just so happen to leave an imprint in my mind. I would very much like to include a Malay paper and maybe a Tamil one, but Mum would whack me for my excessive spending - my still-uncertain US visa is costing her a fortune already.

Celebrate with Joy by a telecommunication company. The Chinese translation had been modified to suit the native readers, so you don't see a direct translation as in an asset management company (see below).

An airline commercial - good way to learn all the names of Indian cities. The Chinese translation is a little quirky though.

An insurance company thank you-note to their agents. A direct translation suffice for that matter, but to native readers we're very picky with the use of phrases and words. This particular insurance company must be making a lot of money since both ads are full page.

The ridicule - "explosive buying power" is appropriate in English, but the Chinese translation sounded more toward "ka-boom!" TNT-related bomb blast buying power. Nevertheless, I'm rather interested in this product they're offering. Pity I don't have the cash.

Finally, the mastery phase - a relative of mine learned English self-taught via newspapers. First he reads the Chinese version, then the English, and slowly link facts and phrases up.