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TA et Technologies linguistiques

'Hello work' or job centre? language experts spell trouble for Japan's mangled English (The Guardian)


Last Updated: 20 Nov 2020

in TokyoIt is feared that official miscommunications could have a negative impact on tourism. Photograph: Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH/Alamy

Group of language experts is taking local governments and organisations to task for their over-reliance on machine translation.

Encountering mangled English is a frequent source of mirth for many residents of Japan, but for one group of language professionals, the proliferation of inappropriate words and phrases is becoming a national embarrassment.

Their recently formed group, loosely translated as the association for the consideration of Japan’s English, is taking local governments and other bodies to task for their over-reliance on machine translation on official websites and public signage.

While many English-speakers in Japan will have encountered hilarious – and often nonsensical – slogans on bags and T-shirts, the group is most concerned about the negative impact that official miscommunications could have on tourism and Japan’s growing foreign community in the case of an earthquake or a medical emergency.

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