Monday, May 3, 2010

Shanghai's War On "Chinglish"

In the run-up to last Friday's opening of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the Shanghai Commission For the Management of Language has enlisted 600 volunteers to scour the city identifying the myriad of unintentionally funny mis-translations into English of Chinese street signs, restaurant menus and the like.  You can read the entire New York Times article about this today by clicking HERE

As a result, over 10,000 such signs have now been changed.  ATM machines across the city are no longer described as "cash recycling." Toilets are no longer termed, "urine district." And extra-large clothes sizes are no longer called "fatso."  Even the unintelligible signs have been fixed, like one in a public park warning, “Because if the tourist does not obey the staff to manage or contrary holds, Does, all consequences are proud.” Much of this mis-translation can apparently be traced to one source: some widely used, but badly flawed, Chinese translation software called Jingshan Ciba.  I also thought it was interesting that one of the experts quoted in the article is apparently pursuing a doctoral degree in "Chinglish" from the University of Heidelberg. 

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