Sri Lanka probes ‘dog’ translation slur on public signs

COLOMBO, February 14, 2014 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government said Friday it is probing incorrect and insulting translations of signs into the minority Tamil language, including one that says seats “reserved for pregnant dogs” instead of women.

The government said they have received 218 complaints of misleading, wrong or offensive public notices that were correctly written in the Sinhala language of Sri Lanka’s majority but wrongly translated into Tamil.

“We have probed 91 out of the 218 complaints and ordered corrections,” a ministry of national languages and integration ministry spokesman told AFP.

“Offenders have been given two weeks to correct or face legal action,” spokesman Mahendra Harishchandra said.

Harishchandra said one of the signs, highlighted by local media, on public buses around the country was meant to say seats “reserved for pregnant women” but instead used the Tamil word for “dogs”.

“We investigated this and found it was a genuine mistake by the artist who painted the sign. He did not know the language properly,” he added.

He added that some of the Tamil notices in the Tamil-majority north of the island had been mis-translated into Sinhalese.

Sri Lanka ended a decades-long war in 2009 betwe