Proper English to the fore as China targets those silly signs
CHINA has long been known as the land of the confused tourist, with public notices featuring phrases like “Be careful to hit your head”.
But poorly translated English – also known as Chinglish – is set to become a thing of the past following the launch of a new national standard.
Chinglish is considered a national embarrassment in China, where youngsters are often given lessons in English from a very young age.
Authorities announced this week that the national standard would be rolled out in 13 public areas.
“English translations should prioritise correct grammar and a proper register, while rare expressions and vocabulary words should be avoided,” the standard says, according to the People’s Daily newspaper.
The new rules, which will be enforced in December, will ensure that translations do “not contain content that damages the images of China or other countries”, added the newspaper, which is the official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party.
China has rapidly opened up to overseas visitors in recent years and local authorities and attractions have erected ever more signs to attract freespending foreigners.
However, many of the translations can be too literal, meaning that public notices are often the subject of ridicule, or are deemed offensive.
Among the more offensive translations were signs erected in Beijing’s Nationalities Park which referred to “Racist Park”.
China has previously targeted its badly translated signs, particularly in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.