Photo courtesy of eychao
I’m sure the Beijing landscape has changed vastly since I left there in December, but the New York Times confirms at least one transformation that saddens me deeply. Around the corner from my first apartment in Beijing, on Dongdaqiao Lu near Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, stands a hospital that specializes in proctology. Their sign used to read, “Dongda Hospital for Anus and Intestine Disease.” Apparently, that is not the case any longer, as Beijing strives to put on its best face for the Olympics.
Mr. Tool said he spent his weekends visiting different businesses as if he were a detective in a linguistic vice squad. “I go in and I say the Olympics are coming and this sign is wrong,” Mr. Tool said. He then sends an e-mail message with a correct translation or has a printout delivered.
He is writing a book on the subject, and no wonder: regular blunders include typos on menus in which the ‘b’ in crab becomes a ‘p.’ Some translations are trickier, like describing pullet, which is a hen less than a year old but appears on some menus as Sexually Inexperienced Chicken. Mr. Tool said one prominent sign had become a regular photo op for foreigners: the Dongda Anus Hospital.
Mr. Tool intervened. It is now the Dongda Proctology Hospital. Score another gold medal for Beijing’s self-improvement campaign.