The Taitung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday faced ridicule after the English-language translations of several public signs were found to be riddled with “Chinglish” and direct phonetic transcriptions.
The incident originated from a message posted by netizen Shih Wei-ting (施韋廷) on a Facebook fan page titled “Love Taitung” (就是愛台東) on Saturday, in which he said an English sign outside the office that was meant to caution people about a slippery floor on rainy days read: “Please careful day rain Lu Hua.”
Lu Hua (路滑) is the pinyin phonetic transcription for slippery roads.
Following the Facebook post, two more office signs were spotted with similar problems. A sign that is supposed to guide visitors to enter the office through side doors reads: “Please by both sides turnover.”
The other is meant to remind people to keep the doors closed because the office is air-conditioned, but instead reads: “The air conditioning opens.”
Some netizens urged public servants to retake English-language classes, while others said the signs might have been intended to amuse people going into the office, as most could be defendants in lawsuits.
In response, head prosecutor Ko Yi-ju (柯怡如) said the office was embarrassed by the signs and had immediately removed them, adding that it planned to examine all the other English-language signs in its building.
“English translation of the public signs was outsourced by the office’s general affairs section to an outside company. We placed too much faith in the company’s English proficiency to remember to thoroughly review the works and verify their accuracy,” Ko said.
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