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Malay translation

Malay to English & English to Malay Translation

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The Malay language

Estimated to be spoken by about 220 million people.

Origins and History 

  • Malay, known as “Bahasa Melayu,” traces its roots to the Austronesian family of languages, with evidence of its existence dating back to the 7th century. 
  • Early forms of Malay were used as a trading language due to the strategic location of the Malay Archipelago, which brought it into contact with many other cultures and languages. 
  • The language evolved through various stages of Old Malay, Middle Malay, and into the modern form known today. 

Number of Speakers

  • As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Malay has approximately 200 million speakers worldwide, making it one of the most widely spoken languages. 
  • Malay is spoken by a significant portion of the population in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, and Thailand, among others. 

Official Status

  • Malay is the official language of Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. 
  • It is also recognised as a regional language in Indonesia, where a standardised form known as Indonesian is the official language. 
  • The language is taught in schools across these regions and used in government affairs, media, and daily communication. 

Example of Text

An example of a simple sentence in Malay is “Saya suka membaca buku,” which translates to “I like reading books” in English. 

Usage and Application 

  • Malay is used in various settings, including education, government, business, and daily communication. 
  • Malay language media is widely consumed, with numerous newspapers, TV shows, and radio stations broadcasting in the language. 

Influence and Interchange with English 

  • There has been a significant exchange between English and Malay. Several Malay words have been absorbed into English, while English words are also commonly used in modern Malay. 
  • English words borrowed into Malay include “bas” (bus), “teksi” (taxi), and “komputer” (computer). They are spelt to fit Malay phonetic rules but keep a similar pronunciation to the English word. 
  • Malay words that have been absorbed into English include “amok,” “gecko,” and “sarong.” “Amok,” originally “amuk” in Malay, signifies a violent frenzy. At the same time, “gecko” (from “gekoq”) and “sarong” (from “sarung”) have retained their original meanings related to a species of lizard and a type of garment, respectively. 


Here at Brightlines, we only use Malay translation specialists who have used Malay since birth and have in-depth knowledge of the various different dialects. Our Malay translation services include copywriting, voiceovers and quality assurance.

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Our translation services - FAQ

Do you use native translators?

Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.

How long will the translations take?

The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.

What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?

All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.

Which languages can you translate into?

We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.

I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?

Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.

Does the translation need to be proofread?

Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.

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If you need Malay translations, get in touch with our team, or get a quick quote.