Many Malay records before Merdeka (1957) and before 1900 were written in Jawi script. Researchers today, who are not well-versed in Jawi script, have problems deciphering old Malay manuscripts, which are a big store of knowledge.
There are a few individuals today who can decipher and are good at Malay Jawi scriptology and can offer some assistance. I do not know them personally and I haven't met them. But I have used the service of one man via a colleague for an important marriage certificate that was written in Jawi script, before Merdeka, which had to be included in my book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore.
I am not the only one stuck with old Jawi documents. The Ceylon-Dutch VOC also has acquired Jawi documents during Dutch rule in Ceylon and Malacca, and wish to decipher them. It is looking for translators. As such, there is tremendous need for Jawi translators who can read and decipher old Jawi documents for both Malay and non Malay researchers today.
Jawi scriptology is an important research field that will certainly help many researchers who are looking into Malay history where most information are held in the form of Malay documents and manuscripts, written in Jawi script - Othmani/ Arabic/ Farsi/ Turkish/ Egyptian/ Jordanian/ Syrian/ Pakistani/ Indian, etc. There are many Jawi script versions but I am not the expert and I wish Jawi experts will come forth and make known their expertise and voice their concerns, so we can do better research from the Malay sources written in Jawi script. So far, I have on record, one name, that is, Professor Haji Muhammad Bukhari bin Lubis.
BIOGRAPHY: PROFESSOR HAJI MUHAMMAD BUKHARI BIN LUBIS
Professor Haji Muhammad Bukhari bin Lubis was born on 16 August 1953 in Makkah. He researches on four Sufi strands - Malay, Arab, Turkish and Persian. He also studies Philology - comparative constructs of the 4 languages. In addition, he has interest in Arabic calligraphy (tulisan khat). He speaks many languages and so does his daughter, who was featured in a TV program on ASTRO. Professor Bukhari Lubis currently is with UPSI (Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris) in Perak. I have never been to see UPSI, both its old and new campuses.
PROMOTING JAWI RESEARCH
I hope the Ministry of Education and also MOSTI can highlight this matter, and that students are channelled into taking up majors and research in Jawi scriptology and manuscript writing. I would also recommend the state muftis to look into this matter. Persatuan Linguistik Malaysia and Persatuan Penterjemahan Malaysia are under DBP (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka).
PROFESSIONAL JAWI TRANSLATORS SERVICES
It is not evident from the web pages, whether translation is a service offered, details of services, and what the charges are. I hope someone can respond.
Malaysian Linguistic Association:
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka,
Peti Surat 10803,
50926 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-2148 2797
Faks: +603-2148 1969
Malaysian Translators Association:
Persatuan Penterjemah Malaysia
171-A, Tingkat 1, Jalan Maharajalela
50150 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-9226 2506 | +603-2144 2506
Ceylon-Dutch-Burgher Heritage Exhibition
Persatuan Pengajian Melayu Malaysia (?)