Tag Archives: transit

Disasters in Grammar Translation


January 15, and Beijing on September prefix bus passengers a “card” fare introduced 4% discount for students on a student card a 2% discount travel, and now, by BUS members of the public and the suburbs of Beijing City members of the public can enjoy the same preferential treatment to the Government. It is learnt that the immediate effect, Beijing company will be added to P Plus 220 bus routes in September prefix operators can be transported more than 45 million passengers.

The first sentence is not just a complete run-on sentence, but starts with a date, goes back to September, meddles with tiny discounts, and jumps back into the present. The grammar’s totally messed up. All we know is that the public is being treated well by the government…

The second sentence is odder still. “add to P Plus 220 bus routes” — sounds like “added to 220 more bus routes”. The last one, “prefix operators can be transported more than 45 million passengers”, looks more like a telco ad.

Amazing stuff…

Politically Incorrect Chinglish Disasters

What the heck is this… independent Beijing and independent Yanqing?

Spotted at the crossing between the Litian Highway and the Airport Side Road.
Should read: Beijing City, Urban Beijing or Beijing Urban Area.

Spotted on National Highway 110 in Changping.
Should read: Yanqing County

(I remarked earlier last year that this problem was still yet to be fixed!)

Taiwanese Freeways Threatened by Chinglish

Take a look at this page from the Taiwanese freeway authorities…

“Major Service Area / Connect Road”
“Only have S.B. Entrance & N.B. Exit”
“The Lists of National Highway Interchanges Mileage”…

Both halves of the Straits are now reunited by Chinglish…

They should read:

“Major Service Area / Connections to”
“Southbound entrance and northbound exits only”
“National Highway Interchange Mileage List”…

Zhongguancun 1st Bridge versus Zhongguancun Bridge 1

Beijing is redoing all road signs. In one of its best moves, it dumped the “MS imperialist” Arial font and opted for national font neutrality — it stuck with Switzerland’s Frutiger, and his Univers font.

Along with the font change, however, also comes the re-emergence of officially approved Chinglish. Zhongguancun, in particular, is being hard hit. All bridges are being Chinglishified as 中关村一桥 becomes “Zhongguancun Bridge 1″.

That’s weird already. They should change it to “Zhongguancun 1st Bridge”. (I emailed the “guys in charge” and my email remains unanswered. What else do I expect…)

Here’s why:

Question 1: Is this the first bridge in the series in the Zhongguancun region?
Answer 1: Yes.
Next Steps: Rename it “Zhongguancun 1st Bridge”. Next sign, please…

5th Avenue, Zhonghua 1st Road… Something xth something-or-other isn’t all that weird. (And our “Taiwanese compatriots” use it for Zhonghua 1st Road in Taipei, by the way, so it’s all supposed to be “real local”.)

The upshot:

Wrong: Zhongguancun Bridge 1
Right: Zhongguancun 1st Bridge

When Cars Run Into Each Other

If you’ve been around the nation long enough, you will notice a yellow triangular sign with the picture of a car running into a truck. (I did it once and it felt downright horrible… no injuries, though…) This sign is supposed to warn you of a so-called “accident black spot”.

Except for that nobody in the western world really calls it an “accident black spot”. I was in touch with folks on the wrong end of the Pacific, and they said that they call that kind of road either a “hazardous road” or a “treacherous road”.

“Dangerous road” or “dangerous section” might also do well. Of course, that’s referring to the Chinese term 事故多发 — or “accidents happen often” (verbatim translation).

So — drive carefully!