“Explicitation” in Malay to English Translation of Usman Awang’s Sahabatku (Kepada Dr M K Rajakumar)
Poetry, as political activism, has been extensively tailored by the poets that choose to enlighten the reality of the social issues in a nation. However, the translatability of poetic activism may come into question, as language is closely linked to the poet’s personal or cultural background and the way of expression. This paper explored the strategies used in the translation of ‘Sahabatku (Kepada Dr M K Rajakumar)’, a Malay poem by Usman Awang, translated into English by Wong Soak Koon and Muhammad Haji Salleh. The analysis revealed that literal translation, verse to prose translation, free verse translation and interpretation strategy were useful for this translation purpose. The approach used by the two translators reflected their different intentions to address different audience and use of various styles. Comparative studies like this in reflecting the zeitgeist of an era could be useful for non-Malay speakers in understanding the cultural and socio-political climate of the time and eventually could help to offer more solutions to the translation problems in this genre.
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