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
The city has around 4,000 unrated hotels, which are competing
for the right to join star-rated hotels offering services for the
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
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)