New scheme to provide up to S$10,000 in grants to help translators upskill

New scheme to provide up to S$10,000 in grants to help translators upskill

Channel NewsAsia·2018-01-30 04:05

Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information, announced the initiative on Friday (Jan 26). (Photo: Rachelle Lee)  

SINGAPORE: Practitioners working in the field of translation and interpretation will soon get more support to upskill and develop themselves with a new Translation Talent Development Scheme announced on Friday (Jan 26).

In addition to encouraging local translators and interpreters to further their qualifications and attain mastery in their field, the scheme also aims to “groom the next generation of translation talents”. 

The Translation Talent Development Scheme is a co-sponsorship grant set up by the National Translation Committee. 

It will support successful applicants by offsetting up to 90 per cent of expenses incurred for programmes related to translation, interpretation or languages. Applicants have to bear the remaining costs.

The initiative is applicable for programmes both in and out of Singapore, and may include short courses, workshops, seminars or courses leading to a full qualification such as a diploma, Bachelor's degree, Postgraduate diploma or Master's degree.

The expenses can cover the course fees, training materials, as well as transport cost or visa fees if it is conducted overseas.

There is a cap of S$10,000 per awardee, though there is no limit to the number of programmes.

The scheme is only open to Singaporean translation and interpretation practitioners with at least three years of relevant working experience.

“We have various types of schemes to support our translation talents starting from schools, but what's important is also to reach out to existing translation professionals who are already working in the industry," said Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information. Mr Chee announced the initiative at the National Translation Committee Appreciation Dinner on Friday.  

"Some of them are working in SMEs or as freelancers and they may not have adequate resources to attend some of the courses and seminars. This scheme is intended to help this group of translation professionals who are already working, who want to upgrade their skills and knowledge and this scheme can help to defray some of their costs."

Mr A Palaniappan, a member of the National Translation Committee, said there is a shortage of qualified translators and interpreters in Singapore and that the scheme can help develop the pool of professionals. 

“This scheme is actually meant for people who have some experience, perhaps three years or so. With that three years, it is not actually enough to call yourself an accomplished translator," said Mr Palaniappan, who has been in the industry for about 30 years, and also works at the Parliament of Singapore as the head specialist for English and Tamil at the Language Services Department. 

"So this scheme, which allows the translator to go for seminars, will certainly help them to further their skills,” he said.

“There is a need not only for translating government documents or policies and programmes, but we also need to nurture some translators who can translate poems, literary works from one language to another, especially in a multiracial society like ours,” he added. 

Mr Palaniappan also said that, like any other industry, there are a lot of changes taking place, in terms of technology, with new words and new concepts that come up along the way, hence it is important for professionals to upskill themselves to keep up with the industry practice.

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