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Hello toilet, goodbye WC for Beijing Games
Beijing's battle to standardize and correct English-language signs ahead of the 2008 Olympics has claimed another head -- "WC."
A resident walks past a toilet in Beijing. By the end of the year, all public conveniences in the city will be called "toilets" instead of the venerable, Victorian-era sounding abbreviation for "water closet." [File Photo]
By the end of the year, all public conveniences in the city will be called "toilets" instead of the venerable, Victorian-era sounding abbreviation for "water closet," the Beijing Morning Post reported on Wednesday.
"In many Western countries they don't use the term WC at all," the report said.
"Because in English, it's equivalent to what we would call in China an outhouse, and is a rather crude slang term," it added, without explaining how it had got this impression.
Also on the list are road signs. Use of the romanized form of Chinese, known as "pinyin," will be replaced by the actual English word, except for proper names, the newspaper added. Out will go Dong Changan Jie and in will come East Changan Avenue.
But a rather more vexing question has been what to do about menus to help the hundreds of thousands of tourists, athletes and reporters expected to flood the city, many of whom will not speak a word of Chinese, let alone understand Chinese characters.
An initial list had been formulated and sent to experts for approval, the Beijing News said.
All restaurants and hotels rated three star and above will have to use the standard names once they come out, it added.
Linguists are struggling about the best way to translate popular dishes like "ants climbing the tree" -- spicy fried vermicelli with finely chopped pork -- into English accurately yet preserving the original meaning, officials have said.
They are hoping to avoid confusing visitors with the mish-mash of translations now on offer. One well-known Beijing restaurant chain has dishes called "It is small to fry the chicken miscellaneous" and "mixed elbow with garlic mud."
[ Last edited by page_c at 2007-6-8 09:03 AM ]