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Locals Pitch in to Clean up Chinglish
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"Welcome to come," instead of "Welcome." "Receives the silver" rather than "Cashier" these are just two examples of the more than 1,000 mistakes turned up by a recent campaign to clean up incorrect English usage in Beijing.

Campaign organizers asked residents to look out for erroneous English in their local areas and send in examples.

In one month about 400 residents spotted errors and submitted them to the campaign organized by a local newspaper and Olympic worldwide partner Kodak.

"The activity was a good opportunity for locals to contribute to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games," said Beijing resident Liu Jian, who pointed out 101 mistakes to the organizing committee.

"At the same time, it also encouraged us to learn more and raise our English level. I hope through our efforts Beijing will be a real metropolis to receive visitors from the world during the 2008 Olympic Games."

The event also aroused the interest of foreigners living and working in Beijing.

"There are many signs with English expressions all around the city, which show the city's warm welcome to people all over the world," said Josh Gordon, an American in Beijing.

According to the organizers, the errors found during the campaign will be sorted and submitted to the government departments concerned, which have been considering standardizing Chinese-English translations in the city.

"We have gathered a group of experts from home and abroad to work on standardizing English expressions in almost all fields, including tourism, transportation and business," said Liu Yang, director of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme Office.

"More than 40 experts have worked for about half a year to do that and the final version will come up next month."

As early as August 2003, the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme Office issued the standard translation for the city's transportation signs.

But as construction and development in the city has taken off, there's more to be improved.

Besides English expressions on road signs, broadcast announcements in taxis and the subway will also be improved and standardized.

The standard of Beijing taxi drivers' oral English is also being tackled. There are currently four rounds of English-learning programmes on the radio every day for taxi drivers to learn simple English and training courses are also being held.

"The standard signs and announcements will be issued as a regulation from the government so that all relevant departments, organizations and companies will have to obey," said Liu.

"After the approval of the regulations from the upper government, they will be announced to the public around October or November."

(China Daily August 25, 2006)

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