Exactly what is “Bin Park Nakagawa China?”
Incredibly, it is the English translation for Taipei City’s Hua Zhong Riverside Park (華中河濱公園) and it is printed on new bus signs at Pojen General Hospital on Guangfu North Road.
The route map for bus 204 also displays the English name “Memorial Hall August 228,” when the proper translation should read “228 Memorial Hall” (二二八國家紀念館).
Leading reporters to Pojen General Hospital’s bus station yesterday morning, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chou Wei-you (周威佑) said the English translation of the park was something that would “make somebody laugh his head off.”
“It is not the only bus sign that has ridiculous English translation,” he said.
Chou said that you would need to understand Japanese to understand the English for Songshan Station as displayed at the Taiwan Television bus station, because the name was translated as “Matsuyama station.”
Another confusing translation is “Armed Forces Songshan Hospital,” he said, as the correct translation should have been “National Defense Medical Center.”
At Taiwan Adventist Hospital’s bus station, the English translation for MRT Ximen station was inconsistent, on some routes it is spelled “Simon,” and on others “Ximen,” he said.
DPP candidate for councilor in the Taipei City municipality elections, Liang Wen-Chieh (梁文傑), said he suspected the city had hired a Japanese with poor English to do the translation.
He demanded that the city correct the errors as quickly as possible and reprimand whoever was in charge of the translation project.
“Errors happen, but what usually happens is nobody gets punished for the mistakes they make. However, taxpayers must foot the bill to clean up this mess,” Liang said.
A passerby, who asked to be identified just by his surname Lo, said he studied in the US and scored nearly 600 in the TOFEL exam, but he could not figure out what “Bin Park Nakagawa China” meant. The name “Memorial Hall August 228” also baffled him, he said, adding that it was strange to add “August” before 228.
“I think foreigners will find them confusing too,” Lo said.
Walker Frost, an American out walking with two female friends near the bus station, said he found the bus signs a little confusing, but since he has been living in China for a while, he was used to these kinds of names.
“I think for a native English speaker, there is a difference in the way places are named,” he said.
Frost said although it was unusual, he did not think it was necessarily a bad thing.
“I think if somebody is interested to learn a little bit more about where they are, then it can actually have a lot of interesting significance,” he said.
The company contracted by the city to design the bus signs and provide the English translations said they only learned of the errors yesterday and would take immediate action to replace about 60 signs along the route of bus 204.
“We will work overtime tonight and we will not stop working until we accomplish the task,” said Lin Jing-yi (林靜宜), deputy manager of the company.
Lin said the translation was handled by an employee in his 20s, adding that the student had “studied in college and thought his English was good [enough].”
Lin said the young man was unaware of what had happened and that the company did not intend to tell him because he quit his job on Saturday after working at the firm for six months.