Poor Translation is Running Rampant in Beijing, China:

When you’re traveling in a country other than your own, you will more than likely come across at least a few poorly translated and humorous signs, menus or advertisements. “Beware of safety,” “Please wait outside a noodle,” and “Enjoy the fresh air after you finish civilized urinating,” are all signs that can currently be found in Beijing, China. As funny as they are, the Chinese government is not taking kindly to the signs that litter the city with misleading, embarrassing and poorly translated information. Laura Zhao, a tour guide in Beijing for 10 years claims to see misspelled or poorly translated signs about every 20 minutes throughout the city. Maybe you’re interested in ordering “Grandma hand bamboo shoots”, or “spicy beauty shoes.”  Zhao states, “To be honest I think it’s because lots of people are lazy, when I say this “lazy” it’s because they directly put it online and translate it and the designer may not really know English at all.” For example, there is a shoe store called, “Old Beijing Shoes,” which according to Zhao means they sell traditional style shoes, not old shoes.

The Chinese government is making efforts to correct the abundance of street signs throughout Beijing that are lost in translation. They’ve issued a ten-part guide displaying hundreds of correct translations, such as how to write anything from “sunbathing,” “ski resort,” “closing time,” and “under construction.” The Chinese government is doing their best to rid the city of what they feel are embarrassing translation errors. Not only are the signs confusing, but some are offensive and insensitive. Under the new guidelines, signs guiding you to the handicap stall in the bathroom that used to read “Deformed men’s toilet,” will now say “Accessible Toilet,” and places like, “Racist Park,” have become, “Chinese Ethnic Culture Park.” Ultimately poor translations can be misleading and even dangerous, it’s important to combat the effect caused by poor translation, by hiring a language service company to meet the task head on.

The Art of Translation, Requires a Professional Translator:

Translation requires much more than just converting words from one language into another. In order to translate content accurately, nuances of language, cultural influences, historical and regional references and the conversion of ideas all need to be considered. In most cases, there’s not a direct translation, hence the shoe store in Beijing that sells traditional shoes being called “Old Beijing Shoes.” It takes a professional translator with the linguistic and cultural understanding of both target and source language, to make the connections needed to produce an accurate translation. Often times, translation projects are put on the back burner and end up being left in the not so capable hands of machine translation software. Machine translations are notoriously known for their inaccuracies and according to Zhao, it’s the main reason for the poor translation that is generously scattered throughout Beijing. The combination of machine translation software and the lack of knowledge needed to proofread and edit, leads messages astray. Exposing machine translated content to your audience can not only be embarrassing and misleading it can also be dangerous. In 2004, in Epinal, France, four patients suffering from prostate cancer were accidentally given an extremely high dosage of radiation treatment, which led to their death. The software they use to figure out the correct dosage was in English and the hospital tried to translate the information themselves instead of having a professional translator step in.

Don’t Compromise on Translation Services, You Get What You Pay for:

When you’re in need of translation services, skimping on cost and professionalism can almost guarantee a less than satisfactory outcome. If you want to ensure you receive a translation that transcends language and cultural boundaries, hiring a language service company is a must. When working with professionals, you can rest easy in the fact you will be delivered with an end result that conveys the original meaning. Niki’s Int’l Ltd., a language service company with a 20-year presence in the language service industry has access to translators in over 350 different languages and dialects. Their work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so you can be confident your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. There is an easy solution to combat poor translation, hire Niki’s Int’l Ltd. for all your translation needs.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at

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