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August 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

Bilingual Short Story for Translation Class

Junaedi Setiyono is a teacher at Muhammadiyah University of Purworejo. He is interested in the field of writing and translation. He has written some articles on ELT and historical novels. His current professional interests are writing and editing novels. He enjoys working with Dalang Publishing, an American publisher.



Humanising education which is defined by Tomlinson in his recent interview with International Journal of Education & Literacy Studies as “making the education relevant to the individual learner so that the learner isn’t treated just as a student in a large class but as an individual human being, with intelligence, emotions, feelings, higher experience, interests, and attributes” (Nimehchisalem, 2016)  is essential  to make education less unpleasant and more suitable for all students including those who study at English Department. Humanistic teaching can be done in any classes; but in this paper, I would like to focus on translation class, especially in Indonesian-English translation class.

The common main goal of Indonesian-English translation class is to enable students achieve the mastery of translation from Indonesian written text into English. Using a short story is one of the techniques to achieve this goal while implementing humanistic strategy. This is because a short story as an authentic material contains moral value and serves as a good example of how people use the written language to communicate.

Humanistic teaching in Translation class can also be implemented by asking asking students to pay attention to three language items needed for effective communication, namely phonological, lexical, and structural items. It can also be implemented by integrating technology, such as Google Translate and by asking students to compare the products of the Google Translate and the human translator. Holding such activities makes the class more interesting and humane.

In this paper, I would like to use the excerpt of one of my bilingual short stories entitled Lord, Whose Prayer You Will Listen to?. The complete short story was published by Dalang Publishing and is available on


Lesson outline


  1. Ask students to translate the following excerpt:

Gusti, Doa Siapa Yang Akan Kaudengar?

Junaedi Setiyono

Mas Agung adalah kakak tertua kami. Sepeninggal Bapak, Mas Agung menjadi pengganti Bapak. Ibu senang bahwa kami, tujuh bersaudara, tetap rukun seperti halnya pada saat Bapak masih ada. Tentu hal itu tidak lepas dari kepemimpinan Mas Agung. Maka ketika kakaknya Ibu, Budhe Mujirah, mendapat masalah, dan aku tidak sanggup membantu menyelesaikan masalahnya, tidak bisa tidak tumpuan kami ada pada Mas Agung.

Ya, aku pun menulis surat untuknya.


Purworejo, 10 Maret 2005


Mas Agung yang baik,

Bila tidak karena Budhe Mujirah, aku tidak akan menulis surat ini, Mas. Sebenarnya sudah sejak sepekan yang lalu beliau memintaku untuk mengirimimu surat, tapi baru kali ini aku bisa. Bukan karena sibuk tetapi karena aku harus menata hati terlebih dulu. Ya, ini tentang langgar kita.

Sejak Bapak wafat, aku memang tidak terlalu memperhatikan apa yang sudah dilakukan warga pada surau yang didirikan eyang buyut kita itu. Dan, kurangnya perhatian yang kuberikan adalah karena tampaknya keluarga kita semua setuju, bahkan merasa senang, dengan apa yang telah dilakukan warga terhadap langgar Eyang. Pernah kukatakan padamu kalau sikapku itu, selain karena Mas dan adik-adik semua sudah setuju, juga karena kesadaran betapa kita tidak bisa apa-apa. Selain itu, juga mungkin kita semua punya kekhawatiran bakalan dicap oleh warga kampung sebagai orang yang tidak setia pada agamanya.

Aku memang setuju-setuju saja pada rencana warga yang dipimpin oleh Pak Lurah, yang juga Pak Kiai kita, untuk memugar langgar yang sudah berdiri jauh sebelum negeri kita merdeka. Kita sendiri waktu itu terlalu miskin untuk memperbaiki langgar kita; untuk agak menutupi kemiskinan kita, biasanya kau menyamarkannya dengan bilang pada Pak Lurah kalau kita harus mendahulukan mana yang lebih penting. Paling-paling kita menjaga supaya atapnya tidak bocor dan rayap – yang mampu menembus lantai tegel – tidak naik merambati dinding menghabisi usuk dan reng; setahun sekali kita kapur temboknya, dan sekitar sepuluh tahun sekali kita cat semua kayu-kayunya. Ya, seingatku cuma itu.

  1. Ask students to use Google Translate to translate the same excerpt.
  2. Ask students to read the following published translation

Lord, Whose Prayer Will You Listen To?
Junaedi Setiyono

Mas Agung is our eldest brother. After our father passed away, Mas Agung stepped up to fill his role. Mother was glad to see that all of us, seven siblings, maintained the same harmonious relationships we’d had during the time Father was still around. This, of course, could only happen under the guidance of Mas Agung. Therefore, when Mother’s older sister, Budhe Mujirah, faced a problem I could not help her with, it was only natural that I turned to Mas Agung.

Hence, I wrote him a letter.


Purworejo, March 10, 2005


Dearest Mas Agung,

If it were not for Budhe Mujirah, I wouldn’t bother you. Actually, she asked me to write to you last week. I delayed, however—not because I was busy. I had to sort out my own feelings first, as this is about our langgar.

Since Father passed away, I haven’t paid too much attention to what the villagers did to the prayer house that was built by our great-grandfather. This lack of concern came from the assumption that our family seemed to agree—was happy even—with the changes the villagers were making to Eyang’s langgar. I once told you that I took such a stand because you and everyone else seemed to approve. I also realized there wasn’t much we could do. Perhaps we were all afraid to be considered apostates of our religion if we objected to improvements made to a langgar that was built long before the independence of our country in 1945.

I had no qualms about the villagers’ remodeling plans for the langgar, under the leadership of our lurah, who also is our Pak Kiai. Aside from the fact that we were sure that a person who is the village chief, as well as the elder of our congregation, would do the right thing, we were too poor to shoulder the expenses ourselves. In order to conceal our financial situation, you told the lurah we needed to prioritize the execution of repairs. At least we kept the roof from leaking and prevented the termites that managed to crawl out from under the floor tiles from destroying the walls. These are the only things I can remember.


  1. Ask students to compare the products of their own translation, the machine Google Translate, and the published one. The following table can be used as a template

Original sentence

Google translation

Published translation

Gusti, Doa Siapa Yang Akan Kaudengar?

Gusti, Whose Prayer Will You Hear?

Lord, Whose Prayer Will You Listen To?

Students’ own translation:

Mas Agung adalah kakak tertua kami.

Mas Agung is our oldest brother.

Mas Agung is our eldest brother.

Students’ own translation:

Sepeninggal Bapak, Mas Agung menjadi pengganti Bapak.

After you left, Mas Agung became your replacement.

After our father passed away, Mas Agung stepped up to fill his role.

Students’ own translation:



  1. Ask students to examine the phonological, lexical, and structural items of the sentences used in the excerpt.

Published translation

Phonological item

Lexical item

Structural item

Lord, Whose Prayer Will You Listen To?

listen /ˈlɪs. ə n/

pray /preɪ/   prayer /preə r /


Lord > (in the Christian religion): God or Jesus Christ,e,g,

Praise the Lord

Lord > a title used in front of the names of male peers and officials of very high rank,e.g.

Lord Longford


whose > used especially in questions when asking about which person owns or is responsible for something,e.g.

Whose is this bag?

Whose bag is this?


whose > used for adding information about a person or thing just mentioned, e.g.

Cohen, whose contract expires next week, is likely to move to play for a European club.


Mas Agung is our eldest brother.

old /əʊld/

our /aʊə r /


eldest -- being the oldest of three or more people, especially within a family, e.g.

Her eldest child is nearly 14.


old, older, oldest -- He's a couple of years older than me.

elder, eldest -- a sister/brother/son/daughter who is older than the other sister(s), brother(s), etc.

elder sister/brother/son/daughter


After our father passed away, Mas Agung stepped up to fill his role.

pass /pɑːs/ /pæs/

role /rəʊl/



Polite expression for die (stop living), e.g.

She's terribly upset because her father passed away last week.


step up -- to increase the size, amount or speed of a process that is intended to achieve something, e,g.

The police are stepping up their efforts to fight crime.






  1. Ask students to present their translation and analysis.



Translation teaching in English Department should have the goal to provide students with translation mastery. The lesson plan proposed aims to create more humanistic atmosphere  in the translation class. Hopefully this paper will encourage translation lecturers to try out the technique in their classes.



Nimehchisalem, V. (2016). Interview with Brian Tomlinson on Humanising Education. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies4(2), 101-106.


Please check the Methodology and Language for Secondary course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Teaching Advanced Students course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Mediation in the EFL Classroom course at Pilgrims website.

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