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Singapore Budget 2014: New National Translation Committee set up to boost Government's translation expertise

Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Education. The government is setting up a National Translation Committee to enhance government translation capabilities. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Education. The government is setting up a National Translation Committee to enhance government translation capabilities. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The Government is setting up a National Translation Committee to enhance government translation capabilities.

The committee will help draw up best practices to help public agencies procure or produce quality translation, said Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Communications and and Information, and Education.

This includes "addressing potential pitfalls, such as cheap-sourcing without sufficient regard for quality and failing to vet translated material before public release", she added.

Best sourcing practices will not only help agencies purchase quality services "at fair rates", but will also "signal professional respect for skilful translators who understand the local context and are able to meet the public sector's requirements for accuracy and speed".

The committee will also create a collaboration platform among the public, private and people sectors to promote and raise translation standards. There are already informal networks of such people who care deeply about Singapore's national languages and who support good translation, Ms Sim said.

These include not only people who work with language - teachers, media professionals, writers and so forth - but also members of the public. Such stakeholders are "able to offer not only views on whether translating a term in a particular way is correct, but also rich insights into the more delicate aspects of linguistic convention, nuances and local flavour". The government will reach out to such groups and "tap on their collective wisdom" to grow "community ownership on the translation issue".

The committee would also look at nurturing the next generation of translation talent for Singapore. said Ms Sim. It will also look into collaborations with the Civil Service College and educational institutions to provide more traning for the government's in-house translators. The committee will explore the idea of scholarships to young translators to build up new talent for public agencies.