The Tamil translation meant "sani", and is a curse word in Tamil. Photo from Straits Times

An 11-member review panel has been created by the Singapore government to reduce translation mistakes of the Tamil language. The committee aim to increase checks by third parties before any signage are published. In recent years, there have been a number of translation mistakes in official signage, including one of the new Tan Kah Kee MRT station, which was literally read as “pa an kah kee” in Tamil. A more embarrassing case in 2014 was in the Tamil translation of popular eatery, Lau Pat Sa, where the last word is “sa ni” in Tamil, which is a curse word.

Speaking at the Indian Heritage Centre in Little India, Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said the first step is to “tighten vetting procedures”.

“We will require all government agencies to adopt a more rigorous process to vet and check their translated materials before they are made public. This could be done in-house or outsourced, with the review panel providing a list of experienced vetters for those who cannot do it themselves.”

The review also recommended a second suggestion requiring government agencies to work with only approved Tamil translation software that are compatible with the language. Contractors of government tenders will have to abide by the terms in their contracts.