Bilingual translators receive financial support to deepen their translation skills

SINGAPORE – He may not be able to talk to animals, but Mr Haniman Boniran uses his knowledge of them to communicate and teach the Malay language to visitors to animal parks in Singapore.

42-year-old Senior Director of Education at park operator Mandai Wildlife Group translates all English signs, e-posters and e-books into Malay at Singapore Zoo, River Wonders, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park.

He is one of six 2022 recipients of the translation talent development program, which was started four years ago by the National Translation Committee, which falls under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

Selected recipients receive financial assistance of up to $10,000 to offset 90% of the costs of their professional courses, seminars and conferences, held locally or abroad.

With this funding, Mr. Haniman, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Singapore Institute of Management, is studying part-time for a Bachelor of Arts in Malay Language and Literature at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

He currently specializes in scientifically explaining animal facts and Malay names of animal species displayed in parks, and has translated over 500 animal signs, e-posters as well as e-books for children.

He also plans, develops and executes all Malay language programs conducted at Singapore Zoo and River Wonders, and assists with collateral requiring Malay translation for school engagements.

Mr. Haniman is a partner of the Ministry of Education and has worked with various pre-school operators to run Malay language workshops for early childhood educators. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, he ran around 100 programs for Malaysian students and teachers a year.

“Teachers often say that mother tongues are difficult to teach and there is a lack of resources,” he said.

“Here, we have a treasure trove of relevant and appropriate content to pique and maintain the interest of students and teachers alike.”

Ms. Jocelyn Ang, a 30-year-old freelance photographer, videographer and translator with five years of experience, is another recipient of funding under the program.

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