University Students Take The Lead In Shanghai
University students in Shanghai have been hard at work pinpointing and correcting Shanghai’s “Chinglish” on signs citywide. ”Chinglish” is a humourous term to describe communication using a mix of Chinese and English. It can also mean English phrases that were directly translated from Chinese without taking into consideration English grammar or word/sentence structure (and thus, are often difficult to understand).
Armed with only a notebook, pen and sometimes a digital camera, students have been scouring 28 of the main public spaces in Shanghai, eagle-eyed and alert for erroneous signs.
These errors will be submitted to the city’s language officials for the signs to be updated before the Shanghai World Expo next summer. Changes will be made just in time for the estimated 5.5 million foreign visitors flocking to the Expo.
Says one student: “Shanghai is expecting several million foreign visitors during the 2010 World Expo. For visitors, poorly translated signs can be misleading and can possibly tarnish the city’s image around the world. So I, along with my fellow classmates, have volunteered to help the city make improvements.” (Quote Source: CNN)
As identified in Starcom’s Olympics Research, the Beijing Olympics helped prompt and also showcased China-pride in youth. 2008 was a year filled with major events – From the Sichuan earthquake to the Olympics; Chinese youth have had much on their mind.
Countless articles have been written about Chinese youth as “little emperors”, spoiled by their only-child status. However, we can see that they have grown to be a responsible and altruistic bunch. They showed an outpouring of sympathy when the Sichuan earthquake struck, physically going to Sichuan to help with the relief efforts, and raising money towards donations. The number of students who wanted to help out was so great that hospitals did not even have the capacity to handle all the students lining up to give blood after the disaster. For the Beijing Olympics, over a million youth volunteered. Now, we can see that they are once again stepping up to the plate to help Shanghai before the World Expo.
While they have appeared to glamourize the West and also follow the trends of Japan and Korea, this seems to be losing a bit of its luster, as a new shift has taken place and the feeling of China-pride is strong. Chinese youth are embracing their country and they are not ashamed to show it. In fact, we have found in Starcom’s Youth Surveillance research conducted this year that a higher-than-expected 40% of youth say that they prefer products that have a Chinese name or label. Also, 86% between the ages of 16-19 say they are “proud to be Chinese”.