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NDP organisers butcher Tamil words in 2017 parade tickets?

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The Singapore National Day Parade’s organising committee has come under fire for allegedly butchering the Tamil version of this year’s slogan, #OneNationTogether, in the tickets for the 2017 parade.

The grossly misspelled Tamil translation sees many characters switched around that ultimately results in a ‘gibberish’ word that has no meaning whatsoever.

This new error could join a plethora of inaccurate Tamil translations made by public institutions in recent years. Following major translation misfires in government materials, an official 11-member Review Panel for Government Tamil Translations convened just last year to put an end to such mistakes.

In unveiling a series of measures aimed to eradicate inaccurate translations, Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health Chee Hong Tat said in January 2017 that the priority is to tighten vetting procedures: “We will require all government agencies to adopt a more rigorous process to vet and check their translated materials before they are made public.”

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He had earlier said that such mistakes are “avoidable errors [that] should not have been made in the first place,” during budget deliberations in Parliament last year.

Some inaccurate Tamil translations in recent years include:

  • Senior Citizen Concession Card was wrongly translated to “expired senior kissing generation concession card” in Tamil
  • Downtown Line station Tan Kah Kee was inaccurately translated as “paan kah kee”

  • Lau Pah Sat, on a street sign, was translated to “lau pah sani.” Sani is a word that can be used to curse others in Tamil.

  • Tamil translations for Pioneer Generation Package letters to seniors failed when words were found to be ‘gibberish’
  • Almost all Gardens by the Bay signages were reported to be wrongly translated in Tamil.

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