Organizers of the National Day Parade (NDP) campaign in Singapore accidentally released promotional materials that had several language errors.
The mistakes included the incorrect translation of the theme, #OneNationTogether, in some pamphlets into the Tamil language. Aside from this, organizers apologized for the use of a wrong Chinese character on a rostrum sign.
In July, NDP organizers mistakenly distributed the brochures to Primary 5 students of 162 schools in Singapore. The words “Let's come together as one nation” had a different meaning when these were translated in Tamil, due to jumbled and missing letters.
If your campaign requires the use of translation to reach more diverse demographic, it’s best to consult professional translation services. This is especially true if you intend to include digital channels in the campaign. For instance, software desktop publishing like Lingua Technologies International helps in ensuring the accuracy of written content for brochures and other promotional items.
While organizers committed the mistake by accident, it’s not the first time that campaigns had such errors in language translation.
Other informational and promotional campaigns in Singapore occurred in March, including a promotional video by the Speak Mandarin Campaign and the National University of Singapore Chinese Drama. Animal posters at the Hillion Mall's KidsZone in Bukit Panjang also contained the wrong English grammar.
To combat this, the Speak Good English Movement recently handed out 10,000 copies of a free guidebook that focused on fixing common mistakes in using English. Local authorities and civilian groups have since rectified the errors in the use of English and Mandarin, which have become a cause for concern.
Language translation can be a tricky subject for any promotional effort since one wrong word can greatly affect the meaning of the entire campaign. Public and private sector groups should consider professional help in making sure that converting words and phrases in different forms will remain accurate.