INDONESIAN AND JAVANESE: A PATOAS OF LANGUAGES
From the French patois, a patoá is any non-standardized language, composed by different dialects and native or local language forms, connected to a geographical and socio-cultural component.
A near perfect definition for the Indonesian and Javanese languages, characteristic of Indonesia—one of the most exotic and beautiful regions of the planet.
So it goes without saying that the translation of these two languages is a challenge suitable for but a few experts.
You can see why below.
By Juliana Tavares
Considered the official language of Indonesia, the most extensive archipelago of the planet, with approximately 17 thousand islands, the Indonesian language—also called Bahasa Indonesia—belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian language family.
Adapted and standardized from Malayan and Neerlandish, today Indonesian is spoken by more than 250 million people, including inhabitants of East Timor, Singapore, New Caledonia, Ceylon and South Africa.
Despite having considerable similarities with Malaysian, Indonesian bears regional vocabulary differences: while Malaysian is normally written based on a variant of the Latin alphabet called Rumi, quite common in Malaysia and in Singapore, Indonesian has an official orthography that, despite using Latin letters, derives from Arabic characters.
The language has a simple grammar and a singing pronunciation.
But the major influence received from Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch, English and Javanese over the history of the archipelago, not to mention other local dialects that add up to a total of 742, according to Ethnologue—considered the largest inventory of languages in the planet—, renders Indonesian a Babel tower capable of confusing the ablest of polyglots.
Thus, the translation of documents to Indonesian requires deep knowledge of the local culture and its peculiarities.
Javanese is no different.
The language is doubtless the one with more native speakers in Indonesia, representing 75 million people.
Spoken by the inhabitants of the Island of Java, the main and second largest island of Indonesia, and in smaller numbers in other islands of the southeast Asia, such as Timor, and other places that received Javanese immigrants, such as Suriname, the language has one particularity that consists in the introduction, in the beginning or within some words, of letters comparable to the upper-case letters of Latin alphabets.
The aim is merely to grant these words with an honorable and respectable character.
The verbs are not inflected for person or number.
The tense is not indicated, but it is expressed by auxiliary words, such as “yesterday" or “now".
The language also has three different styles, with own vocabularies and grammatical rules: Ngoko (informal speech, used among friends and close relatives); Madya (used with strangers, neither being formal or informal) and Krama (educated and formal style).
The use of these style is complicated and demands in-depth knowledge of Javanese culture—reason why it is a difficult language for foreigners.
More than enough reason to hire an agency specialized in the translation of Javanese documents into any language, such as All Tasks.