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Shanghai Targets Non-Standard Language Use on Street Signs

source:未知 Editor:supermanTime:2015-05-30 12:31

The Shanghai government has stepped up its efforts to standardize and improve foreign-language translations of street signs. After enacting the first government regulation in the country for appropriate use of foreign languages in public on January 1, authorities opened a hotline and an online service to encourage residents to report non-standard translations. Translated signs are often comical but confusing for foreign visitors to Shanghai. Since the build-up to the Shanghai World Expo, however, Shanghai's government has been paying close attention to the informal use of foreign languages on signs and advertisements in public. According to experts at the Shanghai Commission for the Management of Language Use, the main mistakes on public signs include incorrect grammar, misspellings, and inappropriate wording. The government's regulation stipulates that all shop signs, cautionary signs, and billboards be in Chinese in addition to a foreign language. In accordance with national guidelines on translation, the meaning of words in a foreign language should be the same as the Chinese words. Foreign translations on public signs should follow international custom without ambiguity to foreigners. Using foreign signs indiscriminately may lead to a fine or penalty from the industrial and commercial administration. In recent months, Pudong's district government has waged a campaign in the main shopping districts and streets to correct poor usage of foreign language in public. Officials also plan to set up an assessment system on the standardization of language on the street. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Municipal Committee has formed a Municipal Expert Committee on Translation Service to provide a standard translation for guidance. Residents can read the online guidelines for English translation on public signs and report poor translations to the website. "The international image of a country always lies in the details. In order to improve the level of translations on the street, we must strengthen the guidance and enable more citizens to join the fight against bad usage of language," says Ling Xiaofeng, deputy of the Shanghai Commission for the Management of Language Use. 

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