Say Goodbye to Chinglish: China’s New Standards for English Translations

By Sam Schenerman

For all fans of Chinese superstore Name pants City, bad news. China is introducing national standards for English translations. This is an attempt to combat Chinglish. These hilarious mistranslations of English, if the Chinese government’s effort succeeds, will soon disappear from the land.

Say Goodbye!

Soon, you may have to say goodbye to signs like this:

And this.

As China increases its international business ties and tourism, English is inevitably becoming more common there. So it has become imperative that Chinese businesses learn how to speak and write standard English. However, for many small businesses and governments, learning English is hard and expensive. So they hire translators. Many of these “translators” don’t know much more English than those who hire them. Therefore, in order to save face, these translators use online software to translate for them. But these online translators don’t always do so well.

Imposing New Standards

Recognizing that this could be embarrassing and confusing, the Chinese government is trying to standardize the Chinese-English translation companies use. On December 1, 2017, “hand grenades” this this one will be much harder to find in China. China will issue translation guidelines covering 13 areas, including entertainment, transportation, and medicine. In addition, more than 3,500 commonly used words and phrases will have standardized translations. Which is quite unfortunate when signs explaining China’s environmental policy will be dismantled. Enjoy these signs while they last.

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