Recently, Hangzhou has launched a campaign asking citizens from all walks of life to report incorrect translations on public signs.
Canadian English teacher Fodil who has been living in Hangzhou for over five years took the initiative to organize a field trip along with his students to look for errors. Over the course of their search, they stumbled upon several signs.
Interestingly, the Chinese word "通道" has been translated differently in two signs: "Passage(通道) to Metro Station" and "A dedicated Channel(通道) for the Disabled". Whereas neither of them is correct. According to Fodil, giving directions is the primary goal of the first sign, and therefore the translation could have been 'Way to Wulin Square'; In the second case, a "pathway" instead of a "channel"is made exclusively accessible for the disabled.
Earlier in the day, they also reported two signs. One that says (杭州剧院) "Hangzhou Show Place" and the other (武林广场) "Wulin Esplanade". "Show place" is a literal translation which could be replaced with "theatre" so as to avoid any confusion about what this place actually is. As for "Wulin Esplanade", the term "Esplanade" is derived from French and commonly used in the European countries to describe a long and open area. But here in Hangzhou, people often refer it to "square". "It's better to unify this translation once again for the avoidance of any doubt," commented Fodil.