Jawi script, Malay language at par

National 2 minutes, 8 seconds


THE use and knowledge of Jawi scripture needs to be reinforced among Bruneians in order to preserve and sustain the national identity, said the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) director.

At a recent closing ceremony of an induction course for new bureau staff, Hjh Aminah Hj Momin told The Brunei Times that to uphold the Jawi scripture is as important as the Malay language and that we must not take it lightly.

“We (DBP) offer services by providing Jawi translations of posters or billboards, translating texts from English to Malay and Malay to Jawi to offer guidance and advice regarding the national language free of charge,” noting the rapid increase in requests of Malay to Jawi translations from both government and private agencies.

She went on to say that while they offer translation services of texts from English to Malay and Malay to Jawi, they do not offer any help in translating texts from Malay to English.

“Jawi is very important in Brunei as it is one of the written methods to express the national language, Bahasa Melayu, other than the more common Roman text,” said the DBP director.

“We are the only department that is skilled in writing Jawi as this department is given the mandate to carry out the preparation of Jawi writing on signs, road signs, road junctions, villages, and even in our publications such as the Naindong magazine, Mekar, Juara, Bahana and children’s books that also use Jawi,” she said.

Hjh Aminah went on to say that interpreting is most crucial and requires expertise in the field of Jawi script and Roman text, as the two may have the same meaning but is different when interpreted.

“To interpret sentences and words, one must be accurate and correct with the terminology especially when working on articles and this could take up a lot og time,” Hjh Aminah explained.

Despite the demand in the department’s service, the DBP director revealed that DBP only has 15 Malay translators and three Jawi script translators, nationwide.

“While this may sound like we have enough manpower, we do not have enough as we receive brochures, signage, shop signs and labels for translation to Malay and Jawi almost every day,” said the director. She added that the wide usage of the businesses signboards of the Jawi script both in the English and Malay language marked the success of the Jawi scripture, noting that Jawi writing workshops, storytelling competitions such as ‘Mari Bercerita’ can help generate the development of the Jawi system in Brunei.

The Brunei Times