04 November 2013


I have previously discussed the occurrence of tautologous expressions in Malay (see here).

In a test for my fourth year UBD module on translation (see previous post), I asked my students to translate into English a short Malay text from page 12 of the Media Permata of 19 October 2013 about someone who managed to persuade a hunter to release a kongkang ('slow loris') that he had captured, and it included the following:

... berjaya memujuk dan meyakinkan pemburu tersebut untuk meyerahkan kongkang berkenaan ...

which might be translated literally as:

... successfully urged and convinced the hunter to release the slow loris ...

It seems to me that 'urged and convinced' is tautologous in English, as 'convinced' carries the full meaning.

Despite the fact that avoidance of tautology is something we have discussed many times in this module, ten of the 23 students taking the test included both 'urged' and 'convinced' in their translation. This seems to reflect that fact that acceptance of tautology is common in Brunei English, though one might alternatively say that my students were attempting an accurate rendering of the text and they might have chosen a freer translation instead.