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August 25, 2009

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Clear signs of change emerge for area

BEWARE, Chinglish, your days may be numbered.

The city's "Guidelines for English Translations in Public Places," which was officially released yesterday, will be extended to the entire Yangtze River Delta region to improve the language environment in the lead-up to the 2010 World Expo.

Meanwhile, a book containing about 1,000 typical translation mistakes and Chinglish signs will be published next month as a reference for local Expo volunteers, residents and industries, according to officials.

About 3.5 million foreign visitors are expected to come to the city during the Expo next year and many will drop by the delta provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang for sightseeing and business trips.

"Many Chinglish and non-uniform translated signs in different cities puzzle expats," said Zhang Minxuan, vice director of the Shanghai Education Commission.

"There's no national standard for the usage of the English language, but the internationalization of the Yangtze River Delta urgently needs a uniformed standard."

Linguists from city universities and other experts compiled the standards.

After talking with experts in the other two provinces, they drafted the general guidelines which introduce basic translation skills.

Authorities plan to draw up plans to better carry out the implementation of the guidelines and extend the initiative beyond the Expo.

"The standard will be upgraded every few years," Zhang said.

Inspections will be carried out in all industries by government officials and volunteers to wipe out Chinglish signs.

One Chinglish example is "No entering of see-off guests," which should be replaced by "Passengers only."


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