This essay explores literary relations between the Philippines and Malaysia through a study of translational exchange between the two countries. It argues that translational exchange between the Philippines and Malaysia cannot be understood only through a study of contemporary translations since the connections between the two countries date back to pre-colonial times.  Other than a discussion of some contemporary translations, the article cites two cases of translational exchange.  The first is Pigafetta’s account of Enrique, the Malay slave/translator who accompanied Magellan in his expedition to the Philippines, and the appropriation of this account by a Malaysian historical novelist. The other case is the translations of Badjau-Sama tales.  The link to the shared past between the Philippines and Malaysia in pre-modern times is Melayu, a cultural complex that can be understood partly through a study of common stories and tales that have that have undulated in the borderless seas of south of the Philippines and Sabah. We cannot just translate Malaysia as if it were apart from or foreign to us since there are components in our culture that connect inextricably with Melayu. In a sense, we translate Malaysia as we translate ourselves.


Translating Malaysia, Southeast Asian translation, Philippine-Malaysian translations, Melayu, translating Badjau

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)