Street names in English translation: trend or error?

Taipei street sign reading '??? Park St.'Ah, Park Street: Taipei’s lovely tree-lined boulevard next to a wonderful oasis of well-manicured nature.

Nope.

Here, “park” refers to Nangang Software Park (Náng?ng Ru?nt? Yuánq?, ??????), an area in eastern Taipei of new buildings housing mainly software-development and biomedical companies. The software park itself is a pretty nice place and looks fine; its surrounding area, however, is anything but green and leafy, comprising mainly dreary brick buildings and vacant lots.

But what’s odder than the name itself is that it appears in English rather than in the mix of Hanyu Pinyin (with StuPid, StuPid InTerCapITaLiZaTion) and English (e.g., St., Rd.) that has become standard in Taipei. Also odd is that at one end of the street the signs read “Park St,” but at the other end “YuanQu St.” This is a fairly new street name, as the software park is only a few years old.

Taipei street sign reading '??? YuanQu St.'

The flash on my camera helps reveal that the part of the sign reading “YuanQu St.” is pasted on top of something else — quite possibly “Park St.”

I spent about 15 minutes today getting my phone call to the Taipei City Government transferred from one desk to another before I was able to speak with someone who knew what she was doing. She stated that the Park Street version is in error and would be corrected to Yuanqu Street.

I really wish I’d asked for her extension number, because I’m certain to be making similar calls in the future.

6 thoughts on “Street names in English translation: trend or error?

  1. Pingback: David on Formosa » Links 8 October 2007

  2. What is the best way to get to Yuanqu St from Tamkang University Tamsui campus?
    That’s not the sort of thing I normally cover on this Web site. But OK, since it will give me a chance to revisit this topic and note that the signs that say “Park St.” have still not been changed. Typical. Also, I get to note that the spellings of “Tamsui” and “Tamkang” are not for the Mandarin names, which are, respectively, Dànshu? and Dànji?ng but rather for the Taiwanese ones (I’m guessing).

    OK, for your directions:

    1. Walk from the university to the Danshui MRT station (or maybe the school has a shuttle bus).

    2. Take the MRT to Taipei Main Station, then transfer to the Banqiao-Nangang (“Ban-Nan”) line, taking that all the way to the terminal station of Kunyang.

    3. Walk across the street to the south side and take a bus (no. 22 or 817) to Yuanqu Street. If you take a cab from Kunyang station it will cost about NT$100.

    Total time: approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes.

  3. Pingback: Pinyin news » Park Street redux

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