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A Pouring Out of Words: Das Kapital in Bahasa Indonesia Translation

Ramon Guillermo


Due to the recent global crises, Karl Marx’s fundamental work, Das Kapital (1867), has seen a resurgent interest. This renewed interest has also resulted in the production of several new translations of this work into various languages. It was quite a coincidence therefore that the first complete translation into Bahasa Indonesia was published as Kapital: Sebuah Kritik Ekonomi Politik in Jakarta by the Hasta Mitra Press in 2004. The translator was Oey Hay Djoen (1929-2008), an activist and former political prisoner on Buru island during the Soeharto Orde Baru regime. According to Oey, he used Ben Fowkes’s English translation for the Penguin edition (1971) as the primary basis for his own translation. Oey also translated the second and third volumes of Das Kapital into Bahasa Indonesia aside from numerous other works by Marx and Engels. Focusing exclusively on the celebrated first chapter of Das Kapital (volume 1), this study will attempt a preliminary translation analysis of Oey’s Bahasa Indonesia translation.


translation studies; Marxism; technical terminology; Post-Suharto Indonesia; radical movements

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2013.02128