Vivian Balakrishnan asks NEA to rectify badly translated Tamil flyers 'as soon as possible'

SINGAPORE - Dr Vivian Balakrishnan has said that he has asked the National Environment Agency to rectify badly translated Tamil flyers "as soon as possible".

The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources was replying to undergraduate J.S. Sasikumar's email regarding the flyer, which came attached with a photograph.

The student, who stated that he is a member of the Tamil Language Society at the National University of Singapore, said in an email: "The Tamil text makes no sense whatsoever. It is as if the English text was put through an online translator to generate the Tamil translation."

He also copied media outlets in his email.

In response, Dr Balakrishnan thanked the student for highlighting the issue and added: "I totally agree with you on the need for accurate translations."

The student in his email also highlighted an unreadable letter meant to be in Tamil, sent by NTUC U Live, a community under NTUC Club to engage elderly people. A spokesman for the Club also responded to the email. He said: " I understand that it is frustrating to have received such a letter from us and we apologise for that."

He added that that an investigation is underway into what caused the problem.

These wrong translations come shortly after a photograph showing a wrongly translated Tamil Lau Pa Sat sign went viral on Facebook.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg