Proper English to the fore as China tar­gets those silly signs

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By Neil Con­nor in Bei­jing

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.

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