A NATIONAL committee has been set up to improve the quality of translation in government agencies, in a move to avoid such glaring errors as "Hungary" Ghost Festival (Hungry Ghost Festival) and "Bust" Basah (Bras Basah Road).
Called the National Translation Committee, its 25 members include people from the media, academia as well translators.
The chairman is Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Communications and Information, as well as Education.
It was established at the beginning of this month.
In announcing its establishment on Monday, Ms Sim said it will aim, among other things, to help set up a code of practice to ensure public agencies pay attention to translated material before releasing it to the public.
Its formation will "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", she added in her reply to MPs.
Among these MPs were Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) and Mr Low Thia Khiang (Aljunied GRC).
They urged the Government to ensure it could communicate effectively to those who knew only their mother tongue, many of whom are in the pioneer generation.
Replying, Ms Sim said a resource panel will be set up for each of the official languages: Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
These panels will support the national committee's initiatives, standardise translation of terms and advise on the appropriateness of the terms adopted by the media and government agencies.
The committee will, among other things, also look at nurturing the next generation of translators.
This includes giving scholarships to young translators.
Forming the national committee is a critical first step in upgrading the sector and making it professional, said Mr Tan Dan Feng, executive director of translation company Interlexis.
Added Mr A. Palaniappan, Parliament's head specialist of languages, English/Tamil: "For a country that is multi-lingual and which has a bilingual education policy , the setting up of a committee of such a nature is long overdue."
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