The Sumitomo Foundation awarded a grant to our team of three, led by Dr. Thanalachime Perumal, (Tamil Program Lecturer) alongside co-researchers Dr. Woo Wai Sheng, (Japanese Program Lecturer), and Dr. Elanttamil Maruthai (Tamil Program Lecturer), on March 9, 2022, amounting to One million Japanese Yen (¥1,000,000). 

Our project, titled “Translating Japanese Children’s Literature into Malay and Tamil Languages,” initially had a duration of one year, but due to the unavailability of our Malay translator, we extended it for an additional year.

Dr. Woo Wai Sheng assisted in selecting ten popular Japanese children’s moral stories from the Digital Collection of the National Diet Library, Japan, and the book titled “Nihon O-togibanashishuu” (Collection of Japanese Fairy Tales) authored by Iwaya Sazanami and published by ARS in 1927. 

Dr. Woo Wai Sheng, who holds more than 10 years of teaching experience in Japanese language at Universiti Malaya. He graduated from Universiti Malaya (Bachelor in Japanese Language and Linguistics) and Osaka University (Master and PhD), supervised the translation process.

Ten stories from the selected book were translated into Malay, with ten translated into Tamil, a minority language in Malaysia. The Malay translations were overseen by Dr. Woo Wai Sheng, while the translators included Mrs. Suzana Ismail, who holds a BA in Japanese Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and a master’s degree in Japanese Language Education from the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan. She taught Japanese language for more than 20 years at Universiti Malaya. 

Another translator, Dr. Kamarul Azam Kamarul Azmi, graduated from Japanese Language and Linguistics Program, Faculty of Languages & Linguistics, Universiti Malaya. He holds a PhD from the same faculty and he has worked as a Japanese language instructor at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia for several years.

Proofreading for the Japanese to Malay translations was conducted by Miss Fatin Dalila Aznor Suandi, an alumna of Japanese Language and Linguistics Program, Faculty of Languages & Linguistics, Universiti Malaya. Dr. Woo also has overseen the proofreading process. The Malay to Tamil translations were led by Dr. Thanalachime, with assistance from Tamil translation students. 

Dr. Thanalachime, who has 30 years of experience teaching Tamil and 8 years teaching translation to Tamil program students, also holds a diploma in Translation from the Malaysian Translator Association. In addition, Dr. Thanalachime has undertaken numerous translation projects both domestically and internationally.

The translation team for Malay to Tamil included Dr. Malarvizhi Sinayah from the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (Tamil program), Dr. Ponniammah M.Muniandy from SMK Seri Kota, Taiping Perak (High School Tamil Teacher), and Mrs. Tamilselvi Soundarajan from India (Former School Teacher). 

Both Dr. Malarvizhi Sinayah and Dr. Ponniammah Muniandy have over 30 years of experience as Tamil teachers and have undertaken numerous translation projects involving Tamil, English, and Malay languages and holding diploma in Translation from the Malaysian Translator Association. Mrs. Tamilselvi Soundarajan, a native Tamil speaker from Tamil Nadu, provided proofreading from the perspective of a native speaker.

Dr. Elanttamil Maruthai, an IT expert with over 20 years of experience, facilitated the creation of a website and e-book for the project, with assistance from Mr. Muhelen Murugan, an IT specialist. Dr. Elanttamil Maruthai currently teaches Computational Linguistics to Tamil Bachelor Program students, and together with Mr. Muhelen Murugan, he developed the website and integrated the ten Malay and Tamil stories translated from Japanese children’s moral stories.Illustrations for the project were provided by Mr. Vikneswaran  Perumal, an experienced artist.