An A-B to B-A Rule (an English Indonesian Translation Concept) – The Basics

‘Language is unique; whatever it is…..’

I got an article on what language is, here. Click on it before you go to the short article I write below.

One language to another language is uniquely attributed. This can be seen and felt in any form, structure, spelling and some other attributes certain language has. When we talk about the structure of English in general, this, of course, will be different from one Indonesian is the owner of. This comes to a complexity when one tries to learn to speak one language he does not belong to or even to be the polyglot.

Basic rules of language should be well understood before going to the next step. Let me take one example. John is an English native speaker. He wants to expand his business in one prospective business country, suppose to be Indonesia. To get an up-and-coming business in this new country (to him), he intends to learn Indonesian. What should John understand at the first time?

The answers will vary based on the needs of John. The first thing first he should grasp is the vocabulary of the language of the country in which he intends to expand his business. In short, he should learn basic rules of Indonesian and how his native language will be, in the context of structuring, when compared to Indonesian. 

We can say it is simple, but simple is not the exact thing to everyone. Coffee is your delight, but this won’t do to everyone. It is a simple analogy, isn’t it?

Talking about English and Indonesian as a target-source/source-target package, you can apply the basic rules of A-B to B-A. Please note that this simple concept mostly applies to adjective+noun and noun+noun of English and Indonesian structures; A-B structure in the source language becomes B-A structure in the target language and vice versa. It is simple, isn’t it?

To clearly get what the above words read, let me take some examples:

Adjective + Noun Structure

  • cheap car [adj+noun]
  • big house [adj+noun]
  • good translation [adj+noun] 

As explained above, the A-B to B-A concept should apply when you come across the above phrases and their equivalents. Those will be:

  • cheap car [cheap is the A and car is the B in the source]
  • big house [big is the A and house is the B in the source]
  • good translation [good is the A and translation is the B in the source] and each becomes
  • car cheap [cheap becomes the B and car becomes the A in the target]
  • house big [big becomes the B and house becomes the A in the target]
  • translation good [good becomes the B and translation becomes the A in the target]

To apply the above phrases in the translation, this will be as follows:

  • murah mobil [A-B]         –> mobil murah [B-A]
  • besar rumah [A-B]         –> rumah besar [B-A]
  • bagus terjemahan [A-B]  –> terjemahan bagus [B-A]

As I told you in the beginning, language is unique and this simple concept can’t go to all languages. One pair language has their own rule to produce. I will get back to you with noun + noun structure in the next post. 

If you have any questions on this, feel free to contact us at info[@] probahasa [dot] com. We will be glad to answer your queries. 

3 comments on “An A-B to B-A Rule (an English Indonesian Translation Concept) – The Basics

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