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