‘Woodpeckers’ In Action In Wuhan

Improving Wuhan's language environment, one step at a time


On September 22, more than 19 foreigners hailing from different countries teamed up to pick the Chinese-English translation flaws occurring on the signposts at the tourist site of Qingliangzhai, Huangpi District of Wuhan.

This activity, named Woodpecker Action, was launched by the Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhan Municipal Government as a branch event of Home in Wuhan Project. It aims to promote people-to-people exchanges, give the foreigners living in Wuhan direct access to Chinese culture and local customs, enhance their sense of identity and belonging to Wuhan as well as improve the overall international language environment and promote the city’s internationalization construction.

1. The loss of some letters in the word

On some signposts, some letters are erased, which probably confused visitors at first glance.

2. Positional confusion

For example, the signpost for the site 九龙飞瀑 is used to introduce 好汉坡 by mistake.

3. Translation in a “Chinglish” way

This category of translation error represents most of the incorrect translations that we see around us. The Chinese introduction are usually translated word for word without considering the meaning of the English words in the context. These kinds of mistakes probably led to comprehension difficulties for the foreigners.

After this activity, the mistakes will be sent to the Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhan Municipal Government for further check. Through this activity, all the foreign participators said they were very pleased to make many new friends and also felt very honor to have opportunities to help Wuhan become a more wonderful city.

With the international construction of Wuhan, more and more signs in public places were translated into foreign languages such as English, French, Korean, etc. Sometimes, the signposts are translated improperly. All the people living in Wuhan are expected to join hands to pick these flaws so that build Wuhan a more livable and comfortable city for all the visitors around the world.