Shenzhen Asks Internet For Help With Its "Chinglish"

Officials in the Chinese city have put out an appeal to help them correct signs containing clumsy English translations. It's part of a greater initiative designed to entice more foreigners to move to the area.

What's the Latest Development?


Last week, the Foreign Affairs Office in the Chinese city of Shenzhen announced a campaign inviting citizens to help improve the English portion of its public signage. The two-month initiative asks people to submit, via e-mail and social media, information about poorly-translated signs including their location and, if possible, a better translation. Participants "will be awarded with certificates, a Chinese-English dictionary and free English training classes."

What's the Big Idea?

According to one blogger, "Chinglish" is the result of direct translation from Chinese to English. For English speakers, public signs written in Chinglish can range from hilarious to dangerously misleading. While the problem is well-known in many major cities, past campaigns to wipe it out -- most notably in Beijing and Shanghai ahead of major international events -- have been largely unsuccessful. Shenzhen has experienced an influx of foreigners in recent years, about 20,000 of whom have settled in the city. To attract more, officials are offering tax exemptions and improved working and living conditions in addition to clearer signage.

Photo Credit: Wright/Wikimedia Commons

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