Park Street redux

As some of you may recall, last October I wrote about finding official signs for a Taipei street that used English rather than romanization (Street names in English translation: trend or error?).

Some of the signs for what is written in Hanzi “園區街” (Yuánqū Jiē) read, in Taipei’s standard but stupid InTerCaPiTaLiZaTion, “YuanQu St.” while others read “Park St.” (which, by the way, is a misleading translation). I called the Taipei City Government about this and was informed that Park was an error and that the signs would be fixed to read Yuanqu.

Nearly a year has gone by since then. Have any of the street signs been changed?

The answer is yes. The signs, including some new ones, are indeed consistent. All of them now read — have you guessed it yet? — “Park St.”

That’s right: They eliminated the signs that were correct and put up new signs that are wrong. I’m trying to relax, so I won’t write out all of the many maledictions I have been muttering about Taipei City Government and its bureaucracy.

Here’s one of the street signs in October 2007:
YuanQu St.

Here’s the same sign in August 2008:
Park St.

A close-up, showing how “Park” was pasted over “YuanQu”.
closeup of the sign, showing how 'Park' was pasted over 'YuanQu'

7 thoughts on “Park Street redux

  1. Is it only the Taipei city government? I often find ROC government websites incredibly unprofessional – especially when you compare it to the efficient and neat propaganda of the PRC …

  2. @Kaminoge: D’oh!

    @Jens: The city and national governments are probably equally frustrating to deal with — though in different ways.

    As for ROC gummit websites, a few years ago the government asked me to prepare a report on these. I worked for months on this and eventually presented detailed, point-by-point guidelines and provided other information on what foreigners find valuable in a website and what they don’t. Everyone said they agreed with my ideas. But of course nothing ever changed. At least, though, I got paid for that particular act in futility.

  3. What is the official “English translation” held by the post office, if I mailed at letter to “Park St.” would it ever arrive?

  4. @Mark: There is no official “English translation” for Yuanqu Jie, unless the Taipei City Government has passed some new rule about this, which I doubt (because that would involve work on their part).

    Taipei has only one street I can recall that has a real English translation: Civic Boulevard (Shìmín Dàdào). “Roosevelt Road,” on the other hand, is an English name with a Mandarin translation.

    I tried to locate “Park Street” in the postal system’s zip code finder, which offers both “Romanized Phonetic System (Tongyong Pin Yin)” and “The United National Mandarin Phonetic System (Han Yu Pin Yin).” No luck. But Yuanqu/Yuancyu Street is there.

    Yours is a good idea: to test whether something addressed to someone on Park Street would arrive. Since I work in a building there, I’m going to give that a try.

    The people working for the Chunghwa Taiwan Chunghwa Post have a lot of practice dealing with confusing addresses, since Taiwan’s SNAFU romanization situation has not yet resolved itself at the level of people’s Rolodexes, business cards, etc. So my letter to myself might have a chance of getting through, even without a postal code or other such useful information. I’ll let everyone know what happens.

  5. Right then some poor foreigner might be trying to find “Yuanqu St.”, or “Yuancyu St.” or “Park St.”, or anything else. If they have no knowledge of Chinese how are they to know they are all the same ????
    When I?first arrived in Taipei, I took the bus to Xindian, imagine my confusion when I arrived in Sindian, I though I must have taken the wrong bus.

    Did the letter arrive?

  6. Pingback: Pinyin news » new Taipei MRT stations and wordy names

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