Beijing Decides Poor Translations Won't Do

A lounge at the Nanjing airport offers travelers the opportunity to "lie fallow."

A lounge at the Nanjing airport offers travelers the opportunity to "lie fallow." The first two Chinese characters in the sign mean "idle" or "leisure," but when applied to farmland, can also mean fallow. Anthony Kuhn, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Anthony Kuhn, NPR

As the 2008 Olympic Games approach, Beijing is trying to correct signs all around the city that have been badly translated into English.

For example: a theme park dedicated to China's ethnic minorities had been called "Racist Park." The effort extends to English translations of restaurant menus, and dishes such as carp.

The bad translations are being corrected — not merely for cosmetic reasons, officials say, but also because they may distract attention from Beijing's cultural treasures and cosmopolitan status.

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