Lawyers Google Translate English Submissions Into Atrocious Bahasa


Bahasa translation marked ‘original’ for court, English original marked ‘translation’.

PART 2 continues from PART 1 . . .

The LLB (Bachelor in Law), continues the University of London, isn’t about skills needed for the courtroom. “It’s an academic programme and only suitable for teaching.”

In Malaya, non-Malay lawyers in particular allegedly Google translate submissions in English into Bahasa Malaysia. The Bahasa Malaysia version is marked “Original” and is neither corrected by the lawyers nor even read. The English original is marked “Translation”.

Obviously, the court cannot look at the Bahasa Malaysia submission because the Google language is atrocious.

It looks at the submission in English.

This is a hypocritical situation created by rotten politics.

Unknown to lawyers, E-filing in Malaya has introduced a new dimension in court. Titles in the system are only in Bahasa. The AI in e-filing will accept only Bahasa titles. If the content is in English, the AI being “stupid” won’t know as long as the title is in Bahasa. The AI will not reject e-filing under Bahasa title but carrying content in the English language.

In one case, an Applicant acting Acting in Person wanted to e-file a Discovery Application. The court clerk couldn’t e-file the Application because the title was in English. The Bahasa title, Aplikasi Penemuan, wasn’t in the system. Finally, the Applicant filed it under Affidavit — the Bahasa word being the same as in English – although the content wasn’t under that category.

Bahasa Kebangsaan

If court filing in Malaya should continue to be in Bahasa Kebangsaan, I would like to point out that Bahasa Malaysia has since replaced Bahasa Melayu in official use, in schools and the media.

Bahasa Malaysia is not the Bahasa Kebangsaan. Also, Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia cannot be passed off as Bahasa Melayu.

The High Court of Malaya can declare, with reference to the Federal Court, on a point of law on this matter.

Under Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, Bahasa Melayu — Johor Rhio Lingga version as spoken — is the Bahasa Kebangsaan (national language) in Malaysia.

As the current debate between Indonesia and Malaysia on bahasa shows, Bahasa Melayu (20K words according to DBP), Bahasa Malaysia (40K words according to Kamus Dewan) and Bahasa Indonesia (more words than Bahasa Malaysia) are not one and the same. See here . . .

Bahasa Melayu, not originated by a race, is the basis of both Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia.

New Bahasa Melayu

Bahasa Melayu comes from a Cambodian dialect. Superimposed on this were words from Tamil, Sanskrit and Pali. Buddhist scriptures are in Pali, a Sanskrit dialect. Sanskrit is used in Hindu temples.

Bahasa Melayu became the lingua franca of the Archipelago — Malay Archipelago — during Hindu and Buddhist times. The original script was Indian.

Both Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia have words from other local languages and dialects and English. In addition, Bahasa Indonesia has Dutch words.

The local languages and dialects in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia are not completely the same.

In the Philippines, Tagalog is the basis of Filipino. Superimposed on this are words from other local languages and dialects, Spanish and English.

Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines can come together and create a new language for the Archipelago by merging Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino.

Call it Bahasa Melayu Baru after the Malay Archipelago. See here

The terms Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia and Filipino should be dropped.

Talent Pool

Patently, there must be reforms in law education that will widen the talent pool beyond those holding academic — again, only suitable for teaching — law degrees which cannot by its very nature include court room skills.

Briefly, Malaysia should take the cue from England and Wales on recent reforms in law education.

Advocates and Solicitors have been separated into different disciplines. They have their own pathways.

The talent pool has been widened by including non-law degree holders. They can become lawyers after going through a six months to 18 months law conversion course.

Bar and chambering are pre-requisites before being admitted to the High Court as Advocates.

Solicitors don’t have to be admitted to the High Court. They prepare cases at a law practice. – New Malaysia Herald

About the writer: Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez keeps a keen eye on Malaysia as a legal scholar (jurist). He was formerly Chief Editor of Sabah Times. He’s not to be mistaken for a namesake previously with Daily Express. References to his blog articles can be found here.

The points expressed in this article are that of the writer’s, and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.

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Joe Fernandez
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.