Beijing has launched a campaign to correct its "Chinglish", or Chinese-style English, on bilingual signs as part of its make-over for the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau has issued a regulation requiring correct English signs as one of the most important criteria for unrated hotels to qualify as official accommodation providers.
The city has around 4,000 unrated hotels, which are competing for the right to join star-rated hotels offering services for the Games.
The regulation requires hotels to translate their names, service hours, room rates, and notices for guests into accurate English. They should also provide signs and menus in correct English.
"Chinglish" was once prevalent in the city's signs. For example, some hotels misuse "scatter" for "evacuate" in their emergency information. Tobacco shops still advertise the sale of "smoke" instead of cigarettes and the Park of Ethnic Minorities is identified as the "Racist Park". Drivers are warned of the hazards of a wet road with a sign that reads: "The slippery are very crafty."
Foreigners are often confused or misled by these signs.
In a bid to improve the city's bilingual signs and teach the public basic English, the Beijing Speaks to the World Committee, a non-governmental linguistic organization established in 2002, is identifying and correcting translation mistakes in shopping centers, hotels, parks, buses, subways and even the airport.
Zhou Chen, information officer with the committee, said the organization this year released a set of standards on Chinese-English translation for public signs, such as traffic and road name signs.
"The committee will cooperate with Beijing Traffic Management Bureau to review and improve bilingual road signs according to the Chinese to English translation standards," Zhou said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2006)