“No outside food” and “CDC vouchers” – new web portal only translates Singaporean terms

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SINGAPORE – Singaporean-only terms such as Community Development Council (CDC) coupons and Central Provident Fund can now be easily translated from English to Chinese, Malay and Tamil and vice versa using a new SG Translate Together (SGTT) web portal.

The portal has been launched Monday, June 27 by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

Developed in conjunction with the Government Agency for Technology (GovTech), the SGTT web portal offers localized translations and acts as a single repository of translation resources.

Members of the public can contribute their translations and take on translation tasks on the web portal by registering with their Singpass.

Suggested improvements or modifications to existing translations will be used to refine the translations by SG Translate, the engine that powers SGTT.

The SG Translate engine was rolled out for use by government agencies in 2019 and has since generated over 300,000 translations.

When documents such as Gov.sg WhatsApp messages need to be translated, the content is placed into the engine to generate a first translation draft.

The drafts are then reviewed by human translators. This shortens translation time, ensuring that information is disseminated in a timely manner.

Mr. Tan Kiat How, Minister of State for Communications and Information and Chairman of the National Translation Committee, hopes the web portal will not only provide accurate translations, but also create a community of passionate people who are interested in language and translation.

He added that the translation bridges communication gaps between people who speak different languages ​​and enhances mutual understanding in Singapore’s multiracial and multilingual society. He said it was important, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There was an urgent need for information such as guidelines on safe management measures and advice on vaccination to be quickly shared with everyone in Singapore, especially the elderly,” he said.

“We had to translate them into our native languages ​​accurately and in a way Singaporeans could understand. This required an understanding of the local cultural context and nuances in language use.”

Even Singlish or colloquial terms here, such as “No outside food” signs seen in restaurants and food centers, can be translated, Mr Tan said.

While Google translate is useful, it is “built for the world”, while SGTT is a made-in-Singapore tool for Singaporeans, he added.

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