Between Two Worlds: Singapore's Chinese-Malay Translation Pioneers

Mari Kita Berbual-bual: Forum on Chinese-Malay Intercultural Exchange
24 - 25 Sep

TranslateSingapore 2016 presents a 2-day main forum that looks at the cultural interflows between the two largest language communities in Singapore – Chinese and Malay. The festival shines a light on the lives and contributions of our pioneer Chinese-Malay translators, with participation in the forum from leading practitioners and scholars in the field. The translators have devoted their lives to bridging the two worlds through translating literary works, building dictionaries, compiling journals and publishing scholarly research. Even as English increasingly became the main language of work and social interaction in Singapore, they have remained passionately involved in providing the means for the two cultures to connect more directly.

Panel 2
Between Two Worlds: Singapore's Chinese-Malay Translation Pioneers
Featuring: Chan Maw Woh, Goh Choo Keng, Leo Suryadinata
Moderator: Tan Chee Lay

The pioneer translators share about their motivations, experiences and the challenges that they face in their work. With China becoming a major regional power, they also share their views on the possible future for translators working in these two major Asian languages. In Mandarin.

TranslateSingapore 2016

TranslateSingapore is back this September to celebrate the cultural and linguistic richness of Singapore! Based on the theme “Mari Kita Berbual-bual” (“Let’s Talk”), the festival will present a full line-up of programmes, including the main forum that looks at the cultural interflows between Chinese and Malay; an opening lecture by Dr Henry Liu, president of the International Federation of Translators; translating Shakespeare workshops; Malay language class; storytelling session for children, book launches and more!

On 30 September, we celebrate International Translation Day with special events and the launch of the October edition of Words Without Borders. Guest-edited by The Select Centre, the respected international literature journal will feature new translations of works by Singapore writers Kanagalatha, KTM Iqbal, Kuo Pao Kun, Masuri S.N., Sa’eda Buang and Wong Koi Tet.

To check out more events under TranslateSingapore, please click here. For more information, please email programmes@selectcentre.org or visit www.selectcentre.org.

About Chan Maw Woh

Chan Maw Woh or Chan Meow Wah is a writer, a Chinese and Malay language translator and was a journalist for Lianhe Zaobao, a Chinese newspaper in Singapore. Chan started her writing career in 1958 when she wrote her first short story “Ah Ngo”, which was published in the literature section of the Nanyang Siang Pao. Chan translated Nyawa Di Hujung Pedang (Life in Danger) into Chinese language and published it in October 1959. It was the first Malay novel translated into Chinese in the history of Singapore Chinese literature. Chan has compiled 16 titles of Malay-Chinese, Malay-Chines-Inggeris and Chinese-Malay, Chinese-Malay-Inggeris dictionaries together with her husband Dr Yang Quee Yee (or Yang Kui Yee). In the 1960s, Chan served as the editor of Majallah Bahasa Kebangsaan (National Language Magazine), a monthly publication, for about eight years. She has also written and translated over 10 titles of books, including Wajah Sasterawan Melayu (Faces of Malay Writers) and Arus Melayu Singapura (Singapore Malay Literature and Culture), and Malay novel Satu Bumi (One Earth) and others. Chan has received several literature awards, including “Sahabat Persuratan” (Literature Friend Award) given by the Malay Language Council of Singapore, “Anugerah Penghargaan” (Honour Award of Literature), and “Anugerah Bakti Persuratan” (Devotion Award of Literature) given by Angkatan Sasterawan ‘50 (Malay Writers Association) for promoting Malay language and literature beyond the Malay community. Now, she is the vice-chairman of Singapore Literature Society, life member of Angkatan Sasterawan ’50, Tropical Literature and Art Club, Singapore Association of Writers.

About Goh Choo Keng

Goh Choo Keng was born in Singapore in 1936. He and his family fled to Medan, Sumatra during the Japanese occupation and only moved back to Singapore after the Second World War. In 1959, he graduated from Nanyang University, majoring in economics. After graduation, he worked as a journalist for a Chinese newspaper, before becoming a copywriter at an advertising firm. He also wrote papers and short stories for Utusan and Berita Harian, while being a part-time Chinese to English translator for both radio and television. Currently retired, he continues to work as a part-time translator.

About Leo Suryadinata

After graduating from Nanyang University (Nantah 1962), Dr Leo Suryadinata studied at the Universitas Indonesia and obtained a Sarjana Sastra degree. He continued his graduate education at Monash University (Australia) and Ohio University in the USA, and received his Ph.D. from the American University in Washington DC. He taught at National University of Singapore (NUS) for 20 years and was a professor when retired. He moved to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to serve as the Director of Chinese Heritage Centre (CHC) for 8 years. He is currently Visiting Senior Fellow at Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Yusof Ishak Institute; Professor (Adj.) at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. When studying at Nantah, he was active in promoting the Malay language and literature. He helped edit the Mimbar Universiti (University Tribune, in Malay), served as the editor of Budaya (Malay journal), translated Malay/Indonesian literary works into Chinese, and introduced Malayan Chinese and China’s literature to Malay readers. He often wrote for Berita Harian (Malay daily) and Nanyang Siang Pao and Sin Chew Jit Poh (Chinese dailies). His books include The Major Characteristics of Modern Malay Literature (in Chinese), Selected Modern Malay Poetry (in Chinese and Malay), Classical Malay Poetry (Chinese and Malay), Jejak Kaki dan Lagu Hati (Footprints and Heart Song, in Malay), Singapura: Kotaku, Kampung halamanku (Singapore: My city and my home, Malay and Chinese, co-editor), and Kota Singa (The Lion City, Malay poems).

About Tan Chee Lay

Associate Professor Tan Chee Lay has lived in Singapore, Taiwan and UK, and has studied Chinese literature, English Studies and Business Administration. He completed his doctorate in Oriental Studies (Chinese literature) in Cambridge University, specializing in Chinese poetry and exile poets. He is currently Associate Professor of Chinese at National Institute of Education (NIE), and is the Executive Director (Research & Development) of the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language, Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Sat Sep 24, 2016
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM SGT
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Glass Room, National Gallery Singapore
Free admission FULL
Venue Address
1 St Andrew's Rd, Singapore 178957 Singapore
TranslateSingapore 2016: Mari Kita Berbual-bual