“Black Hole” case trial: Mandarin to English translation of news article may be inaccurate

By Emma Victoria

THE translation of a newspaper article in Mandarin had missed certain details and may be inaccurate, yet it was verified.

This was revealed in the Kuching High Court today during cross-examination at the “Black Hole” case trial.

The Miri court interpreter said she had verified her colleague’s translation related to the ‘Black Hole’ case based on her own understanding.

During cross-examination, Ngu Leh Yiing said she was approached by her colleague Lee Chai Shiang from the Kuching High Court to verify the translation of a Sin Chew Daily newspaper article.

It was in this article that Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen is said to have made the allegations against the government on the state trust fund.

The court was told that she had read through the translation and verified it during a day trip to Kuching in August last year.

Although she did not ask if it was Lee who did the translation, she assumed “most probably yes”.

Ngu, who joined the Sibu court in 1983 before being transferred to Miri in 1987, said she had signed to verify the translation without making any amendments as she was satisfied with it.

However, when Chong questioned further why there were two paragraphs in Chinese/Mandarin, which had been combined into one paragraph in the English translation, the witness replied: “At that time, I just read through and did not check thoroughly”.

She admitted that the translation from Chinese/Mandarin into English might be inaccurate and had missed out certain phrases.

She also said certain paragraphs would be understood differently by different people, hence, resulted in different translation or interpretation.

Today’s cross examination was done via Zoom due to travel restrictions and the witness would have difficulties travelling in light of the worsening pandemic.

The court also did not want to put her through a swab test, to attend the hearing.

Chong is being sued by the Sarawak government and State Financial Authority for allegedly using the term ‘Black Hole’ to insinuate that RM11 billion had gone missing from the state coffers.

His allegation was published in the Rocket, Malaysiakini and Sin Chew Daily as well as pamphlets distributed by Chong and the DAP.


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