Translation Issues: Exhibition on the Bukit Brown Cemetery

I am going to broach mainly a few points on translation which have caught my attention at the exhibition of the Bukit Brown Cemetery (Singapore). One of the issues concerns the degree of impact and functional equivalence of the original communication in the receptor language.

On the English-language panel which explains the “exhumation process” of Chinese burial, one of the sentences reads:
“For private exhumations, the exhumation process usually takes place between nighfall and dawn, so that the remains of the deceased, of the Yin element, do not come accidentally come into contact with the sun, of the Yang element”. (See below).
shi3de bu2hui4 (Eng)

The translation in Chinese carries this structure: shi3de2…bu2hui4 (使得。。。不会) meaning “cause…not to”(see below).
shi3de2 bu2hui4
I wonder if this language transfer problem has been overlooked or is the translation acceptable in Singapore Chinese? In addition “yang elements” is used in the plural when the text only mentioned a “yang” element.

The other issue is the not-so-ideal lexical transportation of the expression, “found its way“, from the source language into the Chinese translation. The English panel on ceramic photographs reads:
“Ceramic photographs, originating in France in 1854 but popularized and perfected by the Italians, had found their way to the graves”. (See below).
Found their way
The Chinese translation means “finally spread” (最终流传到)(see below).
Liu chuan

There could be more issues, but having only browsed through the panels, these are the few that have caused me to pause and think for a while.
The picture below shows the statue of a Sikh guard, which stands beside the tomb of a prominent businessman of the early 20th-century Malaya, Ong Sam Leong, in the cemetery.
Indian guard The exhibition is held at the National Library of Singapore from July 19 to October 10, 2014. Background information on the cemetery can be found at:


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