Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office launched a WeChat mini program “广州英语标识纠错” on November 5th, aiming to improve the quality of public signs in Guangzhou by providing more accurate translations.
You can win a mini iPad, headphone and various prizes through the program by uploading photos of inaccurate signs captured in the city’s public areas and providing more appropriate versions.
The Foreign Affairs Office has put several measures in place to improve English language signage in public areas. On November 5th, they also invited a panel of experts from Beijing and Shenzhen to discuss public sign translation strategy.
Experts are invited to check the translation in Guangzhou’s CBD.
Chen Mingming, former Chinese ambassador to Sweden said the discussed terms had been selected from locations such as the airport, metro, hospitals and museums. “Our goal is to enable foreigners to travel freely by following these signs alone,” he said.
“We had a few arguments during the seminar,” said Gu Jufan from Beijing Chinese-Foreign Translation & Information Service, “for example, whether we should use Pinyin or translation when it comes to street names. Translation would perhaps be easier for foreigners to understand while Pinyin would be more convenient to communicate with locals.”
Gu added that they would formulate a guideline on translation in public areas and launch it on November 19th in Beijing. “Translation of public signs will change as the city develops. We believe Guangzhou’s experience will be of great value nationwide.”
Reported by Jasmine Yin
Edited by Wing Zhang, Simon Haywood