The Malaysian economy, while fairly robust at its core, has had to deal with a few economic setbacks as of late. As many countries in the region know, when demand from China tapers off, their own economies tend to suffer as a result. While this doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in a need for the services Malay translators provide (or a drop in the need for Chinese translation services in relation to Malay), it will be interesting to see how changes in the ‘economic weather’ will play out in Malaysia, and in that nation’s connections to the rest of the business world.
Some of the problems that have beset the Malaysian economy, as we’ve already mentioned, stem from a decline in exports fueled in large part by China’s lessening demand, which adds up to slower than expected export growth. Another issue troubling foreign investors (vital to the economy) is corruption — or at least an unsavory picture of corruption. Several high profile bribery and corruption investigations at corporate and governmental levels (including the Prime Minister) have damaged the country’s image. And while this might be a boon for Malay translators responsible for translating local news items (scandal always sells, right?) for international wire services, it’s not great for the optics of the nation as a whole.
Malaysia Fighting Back
Despite some bad news clinging to the Malaysian economy, many positive indicators of growth exist as well, which can help the country plow through the short-term bad press. This is encouraging news for investors and companies that want to do (or continue doing) business with this economic powerhouse — as well as for translation agencies working with Malay in various localization efforts, legal, technical and medical translation services, and other translation related fields.
One of the positives the Malaysian business environment — the third largest economy in Southeast Asia, by the way — can boast about are the youth literacy rates, at around 98.5% for men and women, as well as high levels of education for the working and business classes in general. A strong governmental blueprint pushing for even higher educational standards, from pre-school to post-secondary education, is also good news. And while low commodity prices affecting exports, problems with Malaysian household debt, and corruption charges do take a toll, Malaysia still benefits from many solid economic fundamentals.
Export Demand Requires English to Malay Translations
Malaysia’s diverse economy is another positive advantage, as are the exports of high value-added manufactured products, plus continued export demand from North America. The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), with its stated goal of “elevating the country to developed-nation status by 2020,” will generate millions of new jobs, raise the country’s competitiveness, and attract hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, helping key sectors “move further up the value chain.”
The ETP, along with Malaysia’s economic basics, should help create and maintain a robust need for Malay translation services of all kinds, from technical translation and software localization to foreign translation encompassing numerous languages to and from Malay, but particularly English to Malay translations. And like any country vying to become economically stronger, there will be some growing pains along the way. But even so, there are still many markers pointing to the fact that the power of the Malaysian economy is here to stay.
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