Word on Shanghai's street: No Chinglish
www.chinaview.cn 2007-07-16 08:35:27   Print

    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 name.

    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 weekend.

    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 restaurant menus.

    (Source: Shanghai Daily)

Editor: An Lu
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