BEIJING, July 16-- Shanghai has taken another step
forward in the battle against Chinglish street signs.
The city has enacted new guidelines to provide
consistent renderings of Chinese into English on public thoroughfares, officials
reported on Saturday.
The new rules are the work of a panel of English
scholars and other language authorities. The principles are the last word on
translating the names of the city's thousands of roads, lanes and avenues.
The guidelines, for instance, require that the word
"road" rather than its pinyin equivalent "lu" to be used in a street's English
Adjectives indicating compass points such as East
Nanjing Road and West Nanjing Road should be translated into English and put
ahead of the road name. Numbers are to follow, as in East Zhongshan Road No. 1.
Roads named after Chinese places must be spelled out
in pinyin, such as "Middle Xizang Road," rather than "Middle Tibet Road." But
English spelling will be kept for roads named after foreign places or
personages. For instance, "Newton" will replace the pinyin "Niudun" for the name
of a road in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park.
City officials will start to correct the non-standard
names on road signs and maps this month. A new English version of the city map
is scheduled to be published in 2009.
"We are trying to make the city's English signs clear
and standardized so they won't confuse foreigners, especially the large groups
of visitors expected for the World Expo in 2010," said Pan Wenguo, professor of
East China Normal University and one of the panel's core members.
He said the group was also working on translation
guidelines for tourist spots, major public facilities and all Metro stations.
Sloppy English translation of public signs is a
prevalent phenomenon that confuses, and often amuses, foreign visitors, scholars
said at a sign translation symposium at Shanghai's Tongji University over the
For instance, an emergency exit was translated as "No
entry on peacetime." And "Mind your head" became "take care of your head."
Foreigners said the most urgent need for translation improvement was in
(Source: Shanghai Daily)