Panel to check use of English

  • AseanPlus News
  • Friday, 23 Jul 2004

China Perspective

A PANEL of 26 English language experts, including overseas Chinese, interpreters, linguists and lawyers, has been set up in Shanghai and given the task of correcting wrong, awkward and confusing English expressions on public signs and billboards.  

City officials have asked the panel to begin by drawing up guidelines for translating English names, such as road and store names. 

They will also suggest rules for translating newly emerged Chinese names into English, reported Shanghai Daily on Wednesday.  

“Through the panel's work, we expect to develop Shanghai into a more international city,” Sun Xiaoguang, an official with the Language Commission here, told the newspaper. She said the language panel is expected to complete a preliminary version of the translation guidelines by September. Afterwards, the city's Construction and Management Commission will use the guidelines to correct the improper use of English in public places.  

Officials say most of the panel members are working for the commission part-time, gathering on a regular basis to discuss the proper way to translate Chinese public names into correct English.  

“First and foremost, our translation work should allow foreign visitors to understand the meaning of signs at first glance,” said Lei Wubai, a Chinese American panel member.  

Lei noted many Chinese people, even some language experts, translate Chinese names literally instead of coming up with a translation that makes sense.  

Previously, the city's language commission was only concerned with the proper use of Mandarin. – People's Daily.  

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