Foreigners may not easily get lost in Beijing in the future as the city is planning to standardize the English names of all its public signs before the 2008 Olympics.
Draft translations of the city's public signs have been put online for public suggestion, Thursday's Beijing Morning Post reported.
People are invited to offer their advice by phone, e-mail or mail on the translations, which were available on the websites of www.bjenglish.com.cn, www.bjfao.gov.cn and www.bjtsb.gov.cn.
The draft, titled "English Translation of Public Signs", covers five categories, including road sings, tourist attractions, commercial services, stadium and gymnasium as well as health and medicine.
In the travel category, the draft lists the translations of the city's museums, memorials, ancient palaces, mountains and islands. Some well-acknowledged English names, like "Summer Palace", remain unchanged.
The move aims to offer a better language environment for foreign visitors during the 2008 Beijing Olympic and make a good international image of the city as well, said the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program, the plan's organizer.
"Chinglish", or English with Chinese characteristics, is prevalent in the Chinese capital. English speakers in Beijing have in the past been invited to visit "Racist Park" -- more accurately translated as the Park of Ethnic Minorities -- and warned to take care on wet roads as "the slippery are very crafty".
In addition to public signs, the organization has also planned to standardize the English names of all dishes and drinks in Beijing.
The city's 4,000 unrated hotels are also required to translate their names, service hours, room rates, menus and notices for guests into accurate English in order to offer better service to foreign visitors during the Games.
(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2006)