Special effort needed when doing NDP translations: Iswaran

MR S. ISWARAN, MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY (INDUSTRY)
MR S. ISWARAN, MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY (INDUSTRY)

Special effort is needed when doing language translations for the National Day Parade (NDP) due to the importance of translating accurately, said Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) yesterday.

The onus is also on the agencies involved in the translation work for this year's NDP to be thorough, he said, adding that they need to check and double-check their work, in the wake of last year's Tamil translation mistakes.

"To expect that there will be no errors at all, I think it's unrealistic because it involves many of us in different aspects," Mr Iswaran said on the sidelines of a Tamil language event.

"We need, on the part of the people who are involved in the translations, to take special effort because they should appreciate the sensitivity and the importance that's attached to accurate translation."

Some pamphlets used in last year's NDP rehearsals had letters in the Tamil phrase "let's come together as one nation" in the wrong places, while others were missing. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen attributed the mistake to not proofreading the pamphlets after the printers had made mistakes in translation.

Mr Iswaran was speaking at the Tamil Language Festival 2018, which he officially opened at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp yesterday.

Organised by the Tamil Language Council since 2007, the festival this year features a record 58 programmes aimed at promoting the Tamil language.

IMPORTANCE OF ACCURACY

To expect that there will be no errors at all, I think it's unrealistic because it involves many of us in different aspects. We need, on the part of the people who are involved in the translations, to take special effort because they should appreciate the sensitivity and the importance that's attached to accurate translation.

MR S. ISWARAN, MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY (INDUSTRY)

One such programme is a drama by young people and students, as a culmination of their participation in programmes to improve their Tamil language skills last year. These programmes received additional funding from the council last year.

Said the council's chairman, Mr R. Rajaram: "We think that it's critical that they understand and have an appreciation of the language so they can carry this forward. For (the festival) to be sustained, (young people) need to be involved and show an interest."

The festival's events, which run from March 31 to April 29, are organised in conjunction with 49 partners and four schools.

Felicia Choo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Special effort needed when doing NDP translations: Iswaran'. Print Edition | Subscribe