Not featured in Lonely Planet:
Via the Hao Hao Report and Cox Washington is a upgrade on the Chinglish battle going on in Beijing: “Visitors to China’s capital can stroll through “Racist Park,” enjoy a plate of “Crap in the Grass” and stop by a Starbuck’s franchise for a cup for “Christmas Bland” coffee.
Now the Beijing government is trying to clean up such mistranslations and sloppy editing (including the inversion of ‘a’ and ‘r’ in carp on menus) before an expected 500,000 foreigners arrive for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The campaign includes teaching 300 English phrases to 48,000 taxi drivers, helping private restaurants edit menus and standardizing public signs.
The English translations on signage range from charming mistakes to baffling renditions that spread anger and confusion.
In Shanghai, which will host several Olympic soccer games, at least one public toilet equipped for handicapped use is emblazoned with the malapropism, “Deformed Man Toilet.”
There is such a plethora of entertaining “Chinglish” – the unusual and sometimes incomprehensible phrases that result when Chinese meets English — that several online communities are devoted entirely to sharing entertaining snippets.
A collection of photographs posted on the photo-sharing Web site flicker.com includes of a Chinese sign marking a loading zone but bearing the English message: “VEHICLE-TAKING SPOT.”
Many of the funniest examples are found on packaging, such as instructions on a Chinese-made candle warning owners to “keep this candle out of children.”
The fact that hundreds of thousands of English speakers will descend on China for the Olympics prompted a government-led campaign reminiscent of mass mobilizations of the 1960s and ’70s.
In Beijing, several district governments offer citizens free English classes with the goal of boosting the number of foreign-language speakers from today’s 3.2 million to 5 million by 2008, when they will be called on to help the city “host a most excellent ever Olympic Games,” according to a poorly edited English version of Beijing’s “Plan of Action for the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program.”
One response so far