Sunday, February 04, 2007

Zimbabwe's Language Worries

It seems that the tourist industry in Zimbabwe, in line with its plan to attract more Chinese visitors to the country (click here for outbound tourism numbers for China), endeavored to write some messages of welcome for the good people from the east. However, things became unraveled when:



...it became apparent at a media briefing that the Chinese were not
impressed by being greeted in the language of their great rivals, the
Koreans.

"We arrived at the Harare International Airport and felt embarrassed to see
messages meant for the Chinese written in Korean," said a member of the
delegation.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), in a bid to save face, said the
organisation now would hire Chinese translators to correct the error and avoid
similar ones in future.



Oops.

On another note, I'm not exactly sure what the author meant by the title of this piece because the surnames Zhing and Zhong aren't readily found in Korea (click here or here for info on South Korean surnames). It is arguable, however, that we shouldn't be asking both the tourism industry AND the press corps to do their homework before dealing with foreign languages and peoples, so I'll stop being mean.


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