SHANGHAI: Shanghai is looking to get rid of poorly translated English signs as it readies to welcome 4 million foreign visitors to next year's World Expo.
Shanghai Media Group's International Channel Shanghai (ICS) earlier this week launched a campaign called "Write It Right" to help correct improperly translated English signs in the city's public areas.
High school student volunteers would take pictures of wrongly translated English signs and billboards in the Expo Park, as well as in the city's downtown areas, ICS told Xinhua. Experts will then discuss such mistakes and make recommendations.
Earlier this month, the municipal government released a new series of guidelines and more than 300 English translations based on international standards. In the coming months, these will replace existing public signs that are inadvertently humorous or insensitive.
The correction moves follow a similar action taken by Beijing prior to its hosting of the Olympic Games last year.
The efforts were good, especially coming from a place in China like Shanghai, which is interacting with the rest of the world, Musebu Sichula from Zambia, a 33-year-old doctorate student who studies at the University of Shanghai Finance and Economics, was quoted as saying by Friday's China Daily.
She remembers coming across a large rock in Shanghai with a sign below it that read "Caution, overhead hazard". She could not help but let out a laugh over what should have been translated as "Watch your head".
Mardapittas, the creative director of a Shanghai-based media marketing firm, characterized the city's attempt to correct improper English signs as a natural progression in is modernization.
"The way the city is choosing to change reflects the behavior of Chinese people," he said. "With more and more Chinese making the effort to learn English and shaping themselves toward a more international way of life, so is the city."