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Citizen translators and a new web portal help improve public communications at S’pore

SINGAPORE – A growing group of citizen translators is helping to raise the standards of public communications translation in the Republic.

And to further support translation accuracy, the government will officially launch the SG Translate Together web portal at the end of next month, Minister of State for Communications and Information Tan Kiat How said on his Facebook page on Thursday. May 5.

Mr. Tan, Chairman of the National Translation Committee, added that a key feature of the upcoming web portal will allow users to generate locally appropriate translations using the government’s customized machine translation engine.

The Citizen Translators Project was launched in January last year as part of the government’s efforts to raise general translation and language standards in Singapore. As of April 14 – approximately 14 months after launch – there were over 1,180 translators, including 1,037 Chinese, 77 Malay and 73 Tamil.

More than 360 of them received electronic certificates of participation for their contributions. This is the first group of translators under the recognition and training framework launched in November last year to have participated in at least three translation activities during the year.

This includes providing feedback to refine translations in public communications, pointing out translation errors, or attending dialogues or engagement sessions.

Citizen translators who participate in at least five activities during the year can receive e-vouchers. They can also apply for training grants to take translation courses or obtain translation-related certification.

One of the citizen translators is Dr. Yahaya Sanusi, who has lived abroad since 1980, mainly in Germany. His translation work is a way to stay connected to his roots, language and culture, he told the Straits Times.

The 62-year-old naval architect and offshore engineer provided feedback for English-Malay translations in the Singpass digital IC brochure and Singpass app, among others.

“There is a Malay saying, ‘Seperti sirih pulang ke gagang’ (the betel leaf returns to the stem), which describes a person returning to his or her origin,” he said.

Dr Yahaya added that one of the biggest challenges was finding the correct translation for the new terms. The use of foreign words can also affect the spelling and pronunciation of terms.

“For example, the Malay language is heavily influenced by Arabic culture. People are used to Arabic spelling but may not realize that they are wrong in Malay,” he said, adding that a good knowledge of the culture is important to get the right spelling. Message through.