Cross-examination to test accuracy, accuracy of translator display

Shankar (right) and his team at the courthouse.

KUCHING (May 12): Barrister Chong Siew Chiang told the High Court here yesterday that the cross-examination of Tan Yew Lee, a translator and interpreter, was aimed at testing the accuracy and correctness of the publication’s translation Facebook of the accused who allegedly contained slander.

He was not challenging Tan’s ability or qualifications to testify in the case, Siew Chang said during the hearing of a defamation suit filed by Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian against the chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) of Sarawak, Chong Chieng Jen. an allegation of Dr Sim’s failure to manage the food aid campaign in 2020.

“A very qualified person coming to court can be cross-examined on his effectiveness in testifying and in many occasions the evidence after cross-examination will not be accepted, but of course there are cases where the testimony has been accepted. .

“The fact that the witness has a high qualification cannot be taken as presuming that his testimony is always correct without cross-examination,” Siew Chiang said during the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Tan informed the court that as a licensed translator and interpreter, she translates and interprets based on the full context and not the dictionary.

“The dictionary can only give us the definition, not the meaning in context. Thus, thesaurus should be used as it will give a group of synonymous and related concepts.

“This is based on my experience as an interpreter and translator over the past 10 years,” Tan said.

(Left to right) Brenda, Kong and Siew Chiang.

She also disagreed when Siew Chiang asked if her translation was based on her own conception after reading the whole passage to conclude her interpretation.

Tan said his translation was accurate because it was based on two Chinese sentences in context.

“For example, the Malay idiom ‘udang di sebalik batu’, if translated literally, means ‘shrimp or shrimp behind the rock or stone’, but the meaning of this idiom means a hidden motive behind an act.

“Basically, it implies a wrong motive. Therefore, the translation is based on the whole context, not word for word. My translation was based on the two Chinese phrases I just mentioned,” Tan said during cross-examination.

In 2020, Dr Sim filed a defamation suit against Chieng Jen for allegations that he (Dr Sim) failed to organize a food aid campaign involving an allowance of RM800,000 for Padungan constituencies, Batu Lintang, Pending and Kota Sentosa.

Plaintiff was represented by attorneys Shankar Ram Asnani, Russell Lim and Yu Ying Ying, while defendant was represented by Chong Siew Chiang, Michael Kong and Brenda Chong.

The case was heard before Judge Dr Alwi Abdul Wahab.