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English Translating and Editing Team

Due Recognition for the English Translating and Editing Team

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The English Journal had been an important tool for volunteers when they needed to deal with government officials on many occasions.【Photograph by Lau Hong Yip】The English Journal had been an important tool for volunteers when they needed to deal with government officials on many occasions.【Photograph by Lau Hong Yip】

Since year 2000, a group of volunteers, who are either well-versed in both English and Chinese, or English only, had contributed their time and effort in helping with the publication of English journals, web news, and so on, in Malaysia.


Malaysia is a multi-racial country, made up of Malay, Chinese, Indian and other minority groups. It is, therefore, not surprising to find that many of its citizens, including some Chinese, do not read or speak Chinese. David Liu, former CEO of Melaka, realized the need to have English journals to enable this group of people to also learn about Tzu Chi. So with help from the Singapore Translating Team, he added two pages of English articles to the monthly Chinese Journal in December 2000.
By the end of 2001, there were two local retirees-cum-volunteers, Mr. Yen Siew Wah and Mr. Yap Peng Kee, to help out with the translation. As both had poor computer skills, the Chief Editor, Tan Lay Khim, had to complete the Chinese articles and print them for dispatch to Messrs Yen and Yap, to work on. There was very little lead time as the Chinese and English articles had to be published together.
In 2003, Melaka's English Group was established. English-speaking volunteers and members were given another channel to have a more in-depth understanding and knowledge about Tzu Chi's missions and philosophies. The group also helped to recruit more translators and editors to help out with the heavy workload.
In May 2005, the newspaper-styled journal was changed to a magazine format journal with 64 pages, out of which 14 had English contents.
To cope with the extra pages of English contents, more translators were needed. KL & Selangor Branch (formerly KL Branch) set up their English group that same year and was requested to help in recruiting translators and editors. English group's Leader, Siow Yuen Lan invited Wong Mun Heng and others to form a translating team. In 2006, Wendy Tay, who had just returned from Australia to retire in Melaka, joined the Editing Team.
In 2007, the Publication Department decided to separate the Journal into two, that is, the English and Chinese Journals. The first 84-page English Journal was successfully published in January 2008 and it remained a bimonthly journal till May 2012. In June 2012, the first monthly journal was published. It is an important tool for volunteers to introduce Tzu Chi to English-speaking volunteers, donating members and visitors. Now, more than 6,000 copies were printed each month for free distribution.
The spirit of "If not me, who else?"
Brother Wong Mun Heng, who has continued to translate till today, said he was inspired by an article written by Liu King-pong about Su-chiu (Published in the Tzu Chi Quarterly - Fall 2001). Su-chiu, who had been afflicted with fibrotic lungs, had chosen to contribute to mankind in the twilight of her life by translating inspiring articles into English for Tzu Chi. Mun Heng was deeply touched, and he decided that he should also make use of his good command of the English and Chinese languages to translate for Tzu Chi's Journal.
Mun Heng revealed that through careful reading as he translated, he had learnt a lot about Tzu Chi's spirit and Master Cheng Yen's teaching. He thinks translation is one very good way of creating good affinities with many people! Brother Mun Heng had also brought in several good translators, like Max Siew, and so on.
No one is good in English in Tzu Chi?
"The translation sounds funny. Don't you have anyone good in English to check the translation?"
"Everything is written in Chinese here, we don't understand a thing. How can we join you?"
Realizing the need to have more English materials, Tzu Chi volunteer, Hew Kwee Heong, a Chemical Engineer, started to translate for the Journal in 2005. Shortly after, she resigned from her job to join Tzu Chi as a staff in 2006. In 2007, she was requested to assume the position of English Editor, responsible for the publication of the new English Bimonthly Journal.
Although feeling a bit nervous about this totally new field initially, Kwee Heong was happy to be given this opportunity to form many good affinities through this job. She is very thankful to the translating team and Sister Wendy for doing the English editing work. Without them, the journals would not have been published on time in the past 5 years.
Kwee Heong said feedbacks from readers, be it positive or negative, had been the driving force for improvement in her work. One of the most unforgettable feedbacks was from a man, who called Tzu Chi's Office to ask for a copy of the Journal he read in a clinic because he wanted to share the feature article with his relative.
Besides Master Cheng Yen's Buddhadharma teaching, ‘The World of Tzu Chi' has many touching and inspiring stories as well. Having greatly benefitted from all these, Kwee Heong is always hoping to share them with the English-speaking community.
English journal plays an important part in member recruiting
The late Kam Yoke Chee was Tzu Chi Melaka's care-recipient. Grandma Kam could not read Chinese, so she was very happy when we started publishing English journals. She always shared with the volunteers the stories she read in the journals.
Volunteers said, "Grandma knew more Tzu Chi's events than us."
Through the articles published in the journals, Grandma Kam was constantly updated on events that took place worldwide. She donated money whenever Tzu Chi needed funds for international relief, such as, the Sichuan earthquake and Myanmar cyclone disaster. She said, "I trust Tzu Chi and its volunteers." Grandma eventually donated all her savings to Tzu Chi and requested Tzu Chi volunteers to take care of her funeral as she had no family members left.
Klang volunteer, Chong Sui San, does not understand Chinese too. A donating member for many years until 2006, she was invited by a volunteer to attend an English training class held at Tzu Chi Melaka in 2006. She became a volunteer after understanding Tzu Chi's benevolent work. She has also put in a lot of effort in leading the Indian residents of Padang Jawa to join recycling work and so on. She said the English journal plays an important part in her recruiting effort.

 

Sister Chong Sui San (1st left) successfully recruited many Indian volunteers. She said the English Journal has become an important source of information for them.【Photograph by Koh Poo Leng】 Since 2006, English training courses have been held for people who wish to learn more about Tzu Chi.【Photograph by Wong Mun Heng】

Sister Chong Sui San (1st left) successfully recruited many Indian volunteers. She said the English Journal has become an important source of information for them.【Photograph by Koh Poo Leng】

Since 2006, English training courses have been held for people who wish to learn more about Tzu Chi.【Photograph by Wong Mun Heng】
 Hew Kwee Heong appreciates her job very much as it has created many good affinities with many readers.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】 The late Kam Yoke Chee loved to read the English Journals brought by the volunteers.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】

Hew Kwee Heong appreciates her job very much as it has created many good affinities with many readers.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】
 

The late Kam Yoke Chee loved to read the English Journals brought by the volunteers.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】


29/10/2013
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