Kaohsiung to revise English signage

According to a CNA story in the Taipei Times, the Gaoxiong/Kaohsiung City Government has decided to “correct and update all English translations of signage at 132 scenic spots” in preparation for the city’s hosting of the World Games in 2009.

A “group of specialists” from an ESL magazine are the chief advisers to the city government, which I suppose is better than just one randomly selected foreigner. Still, I wonder what these “specialists” know about signage — or romanization, for that matter. And will anyone check to ensure the signs are made correctly?

Here’s what is probably going to happen: Gaoxiong will replace some old signs with poor English and worse romanization with signs in tiny, unreadable English (probably still with mistakes) and sloppy romanization in a system that most foreigners actively dislike.

Deputy Mayor Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文隆), who is convener of a city committee formed to develop Kaohsiung’s English living environment, said yesterday that in addition to the changes, the committee was considering standardizing the English translations of food names in the area as a way to help foreign athletes — as well as the large number of foreign visitors who are expected at the upcoming World Games — recognize Chinese and local cuisines.

The city plans to update English translations on all of the city’s key signage within one month.

source: Kaohsiung looks to improve its English signage for games, CNA, June 28, 2006

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