Following the incident of “uncommon word” errors in the Chinese version of a Kallang Community Club notice, a photo showing a typo error on the Chinese placard of a Singapore Minister has been circulating on social media recently.
Earlier this week on Monday (23 November), Minister for Manpower and the Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo attended the opening ceremony of 2020 China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative Financial Summit (CCI-FS 2020) and delivered a speech through video conference.
The summit, which took place online and offline, focused on financial cooperation between Singapore and China based on the theme of Enhancing Financial Connectivity, Contributing to and Sharing Benefits of the CCI-New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (CCI-ILSTC).
Chinese state media reported that nearly 200 financial elites from China, Singapore, and ASEAN countries were invited to join this summit.
Netizens, however, spotted a typographical error on the placard which bore Ms Teo’s title in Chinese.
The title of Ms Teo – Minister for Manpower and the Second Minister for Home Affairs – is supposed to be written as “人力部长兼内政部第二部长” in Chinese.
However, it was displayed as “人力部长‘坚’内政部第二部长”.
The typo was found between the word “兼” and “坚”.
Meanwhile, as seen in a video uploaded by a Chinese media website, it seemed that the organisers noticed the typo on the placard and helped to cover up the error with an on-screen title for Ms Teo.
In fact, this was not the first time that the Chinese version of Government agencies-related statements contained typo errors.
It was earlier reported that the Kallang Community Club (CC) apologised after a software upgrading resulted in 27 errors–all of which are uncommon and rarely used Chinese characters–in the Chinese version of its notice on the current unavailability of TraceTogether Tokens.
For example, the phrase “community club” — supposed to be written as “俱乐部” in Chinese — was changed to “俱乐愯（sǒng）”. “愯” means frightened.
“TraceTogether” is supposed to be written as “合力追踪”, but it was changed to “合力忼（kāng）踪”.
To this, the Kallang CC explained that there was a software upgrade and the system was inconsistent during the printing process, which resulted in the errors.
Noting it was the first time they had encountered such an issue, they said that they had checked the text on the notice before printing, but they did not detect the errors after printing.
If that’s not all, earlier in September, the lantern decorations put up in Chinatown for a traditional street light-up ceremony as part of Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations were been criticised by the public as the lanterns carried inappropriate Chinese greeting messages that did not suit the Festival.
Case in point, some of the seemingly inappropriate messages spotted were “亮亮堂堂”, which translates into “bright and majestic” and “国家欢乐” which translates into “joy for the nation”.
It is said that these messages are not common greetings used for the Festival.
The organiser committee claimed that they had requested the contractors to remove the inappropriate greetings before began the production but had later noticed that the changes were not made.
One wonders if the repeated instances of typo errors in Chinese as illustrated above are a possible reflection of a poor level of Mandarin in Singapore.