Xinbei, formerly known as Taipei County and now officially bearing the atrocious English name of “New Taipei City,” has made available an online map of its territory.
Interestingly, the map is available not just in Mandarin with traditional Chinese characters and English with Hanyu Pinyin (most of the time — but more on that soon) but also in Mandarin with simplified Chinese characters. A Japanese interface is also available.
The interface for all versions opens to a map centered on Xinbei City Hall. What struck me upon seeing this for the first time was that, in just one small section, Banqiao is spelled four different ways:
- Banqiao (Hanyu Pinyin)
- Panchiao (bastardized Wade-Giles)
- Ban-Chiau (MPS2, with an added hyphen)
- Banciao (Tongyong Pinyin)
I want to stress that these are not typos. These are the result of an inattention to detail that is all too common here.
The spelling for the city, er, district is also wrong in the interface, with Tongyong used. Since Banqiao is the seat of the Xinbei City Government and has more than half a million inhabitants,*, it’s not exactly so obscure that spelling its name correctly should be much of a challenge. Tongyong and other systems also crop up in some other names outside the interface.
It should be admitted, however, that the Xinbei map’s romanization is still better overall than the error-filled mess issued by GooGle.
*: including me