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Public Signs in Shanghai to Get Better English Translation

The English translation of directions on guideposts and billboards in Shanghai will be standardized to provide foreign visitors with clearer information.

According to the Shanghai Municipal Language Work Committee (SMLWC), a group of experts will be in charge of correcting mistakes in English translations of directions on guideposts, billboards, and names of institutions and enterprises.


Mistakes to be corrected include misspelling, unreasonable use of acronyms, inappropriate and nonstandard translations.


Standards regulating translations of the above directions will be launched this year. The standard will decide on issues such as whether to call a road "East Road" or "Dong Lu", which means the same as "east road" in Chinese pinyin.


In addition, a local youth center was named as "Oriental Green Boat". According to the new standard, the words "youth center" will also be included on the center's guidepost, reducing misunderstanding.


At present, SMLWC is selecting experts from local tourist institutions, universities and foreign affairs departments to help correct such mistakes and standardize the translation of the directions.


Twenty-two experts have been short-listed for the post, including two Chinese language experts and 20 English language experts. Four native speakers of English language are also competing for the post.


(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2004)

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