Mr Palaniappan, Head of the Tamil Resource Panel,
National Translation Committee,
Members of the National Translation Committee and Tamil Resource Panel,
Friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen

       Va-nak-kam. A very good morning to everyone. It is my pleasure to be here today to join all of you in celebrating the launch of the Glossary of English to Tamil Terms, which is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of members of the National Translation Committee and its Tamil Resource Panel.

2     Last year, we were gathered here at this beautiful building to announce the recommendations of the Review Panel on Government Tamil Translation. These were grouped under 3 broad categories: enhancing the vetting process, addressing font errors and strengthening capability development.

Enhancing the Vetting Process

3     I am glad to report that all the Review Panel’s recommendations have been implemented, except for two which are in the process of implementation. The first is a translation workshop for public officers to be held in May 2018, which we are conducting together with the Civil Service College and the Singapore University of Social Sciences. The other is to build an e-network of Tamil literate officers within the public sector, which the NTC secretariat is working with our Resource Panel members to get started. We are making good progress, but my request to the team for the implementation of the e-network recommendation is: cepat cepat, or to say in Tamil see-ki-rem, see-ki-rem.

4     On enhancing the vetting process, we have provided a list of experienced translators and vetters to Government agencies to help them improve their gatekeeping and vetting of Tamil translations. This is a simple but important step to spot translation errors and rectify them before the materials are published. To be frank, there is some unevenness in the adoption by government agencies. Some have implemented it well, others I suspect, pay lip service and just go through motion. I had to knock some heads over the past year, something which I did not particularly enjoy doing, but until we see consistent improvement across the public sector, we have no choice but to continue enforcing the standards to hold agencies accountable for the quality of their translations.

Addressing font errors

5     To address the problem of gibberish Tamil characters in the final product due to software and printing errors, we have conducted two briefings for agencies and printing companies on using the correct encoding and compatible computer operating systems. MCI also provided guidance to government agencies who required assistance in this area.

Strengthening capability development

6     Lastly, on capability development. I mentioned earlier that we are conducting a translation workshop for public officers in May this year. The workshop will equip our officers with the skills to act as “gatekeepers” and “quality control managers” in their respective agencies to help minimise translation errors and gibberish text. The e-network of Tamil-literate public officers is another initiative which is being implemented, allowing the officers to build up a learning community to exchange views and share best practices.

7     The Tamil Resource Panel has been working hard to complete this English to Tamil glossary. It contains terms which are widely used by the broadcast and print media. This effort has come to fruition, and we hope that with the glossary, the use of such terms and their Tamil translations can be standardised in Singapore for more effective communication. The Resource Panel will continue to update the glossary to keep it relevant and to add more terms over time.

8     We also have a partnership with the Tamil Language Council, and I understand they will be using the glossary for their activities for the Tamil Language Festival in April this year. Selected words from the glossary will be featured in Tamil Murasu throughout the month. Oli, our Tamil radio station, will highlight selected words from the glossary in its skits. With good teamwork, we can leverage on one another’s strengths for greater impact.

9     It is now my pleasure to launch the inaugural edition of the English-Tamil glossary. Congratulations to the Tamil Resource Panel for this achievement!

        Let me end my speech with a few words in Tamil:

Ithu / o-ru / nal-le / kai-yay-du. [this is a good guide]
Pa-yan / pa-du-thi / pa-yan / pey-roong-gal. [Use it to your benefit]
Nan-dri. [thank you]