Another party makes Tamil translation error on its poster

TODAY reports: A member of the public pointed out that the Tamil translation of the NSP's posters in Tampines GRC was meaningless. 

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SINGAPORE : Another political party has made a gaffe in its Tamil translation, this time on campaign posters displayed on lamp posts in the constituencies it is contesting in.

A reader had alerted TODAY late on Wednesday night (Sept 2) that the Tamil translation of the National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) posters in Tampines GRC was meaningless. The words were supposed to have read “Singaporeans Deserve Better” — the party’s slogan for this General Election.

The NSP has acknowledged the error, with one of its candidates for Sembawang GRC, Ms Kevryn Lim, attributing the error to a software problem at the printer that the party had engaged. “The (Tamil) translation is correct, but for Tamil fonts we’ve always been experiencing the same problem — once we upload (them) into the (design) programme the letters are mixed up, and I think our printer may not understand (Tamil) as well as how the letters and wordings go accordingly.

“This is a printing error, but the translation is actually correct,” Ms Lim said yesterday (Sept 3), on the sidelines of a walkabout.

NSP president Sebastian Teo said as it takes 10 days to print posters, there is no time to change them. The party will cover the mistake in a backdrop to be used during rallies with the correct translation.

Mr Teo added that the party uses professional translators, but in the case of Tamil, ensuring the correct script is printed is more challenging technically.

Last week, Singaporeans First (SingFirst) also made a blunder in its Tamil translation on a banner used as a backdrop at a press conference to introduce its candidates.

The Tamil version of the party’s slogan “Restore Our Nation” ended up as a string of nonexistent characters, which the party also attributed to a mistake at the printers.

The party rectified the error for the press conference it held the next day.

Commenting on the errors, Ms Kayalvizhe Radhakreshnen, vice-president of the National University of Singapore Tamil Language Society, said she has come across such errors herself, such as when she was relief-teaching at a childcare centre two years ago.

“There are over 50 Tamil/Indian organisation in Singapore, (politicians) could have asked for help from these organisations. They could have even approached the people working for Tamil Murasu. Making such mistakes, clearly shows that these people are including the Tamil translation just for the sake of it,” she said.

Adding that Tamil is one of the official languages in Singapore, she said it “deserves equal respect and concern as all the other languages.” 

Read the original TODAY report here.

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