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China Calls for Standardized Use of Languages for Olympics
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China has set strict standards on the use of both Chinese and English in service industry to better meet the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, according to a report issued by Ministry of Education (MOE).


The report showed that China has regulated the Chinese to English translation for such service as washing rooms, restaurants and hotels to help visitors more conveniently find their destinations.


The regulation also includes ways of translation for Chinese cuisine. And a coordination work team was also established to carry out language training programs for common people.


Statistics of the report showed that by the end of 2005, more than 4.1 million residents in Beijing had learned foreign languages, which accounted for 30 percent of the total residents.


Up to now, nearly 200,000 people in 11 businesses such as tourism have received language training to improve service for Olympics.


A number of books on the English speaking during the Olympic Games and the volunteer service training were published. The map of Beijing was also published in Chinese, English and French on the official website of the organizing committee for the Beijing Olympics. Li Yuming, an official with the Ministry of Education in charge of language administration, said that the language usage for the Olympic Games still had problems.


For example, China has two table tennis players Ma Lin and Ma Long.


If put their given names ahead of their first names, following international practice, their names will appear the same as "L. Ma" which leads to confusion.


Moreover, translation of the names of places and roads in Beijing also need to be regulated, said the official. Li stressed that standardized use of languages is of importance to the Olympic Games. Therefore, Beijing should mobilize all walks of life to learn English, especially taxi-drivers and staffs of hotel and department store service.


(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2007)

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