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Multilingual Museums Staff Trained for Olympics
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Museums in Beijing are trying to train their staff in seven foreign languages to serve tourists during the 2008 Olympic Games.

Thirty museums in the capital will provide services in English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Korean, according to the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Currently, major museums in Beijing offer services in Chinese, English, French and Japanese.

"Several large museums like the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) have started the training programs," Ha Jun, an official from the administration's museum department, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

But museums of different types will have their own focus, he said. Museums like the Capital Museum might provide services in more than seven foreign languages while the Confucius Temple and the Imperial Academy, favored by East Asian tourists, will have more Korean and Japanese-speaking staff.

A total of 11,900 museum employees will receive language training.

"It will be rather tough to develop the multilingual crew in one year. Big museums will recruit volunteers and others will provide audio guides in different languages," Ha said.

Besides language training, the museums are also working to improve facilities for the disabled. The Palace Museum has installed lifts for wheelchair users
and seven museums of ancient Chinese architecture like the Zhihua Temple have equipped themselves with barrier-free facilities.

(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2007)

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