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lilbluefoxie

Canal St Station sign question

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rogakcanalstreet.jpg

 

what does the Chinese writing say? and how come they have two different typefaces on the sign?

 

 

It's supposed to say Canal St, but it doesn't.

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I showed my mom this photo, and she said it's "Canal St, Chinatown"..

 

 

so the blocky Chinese text is "Canal St" and the script Chinese text is "Chinatown"?

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Let's look at the text literally. There are 5 characters on the sign: 堅尼街 華埠. It can be broken down into these 3 parts:

 

All but the first part is native Chinese. The first part is just the Chinese corruption of canal (read by most Americans as kəˈnæl), and the choice of characters shows the history of the area: Cantonese speakers settled there first before any Mandarin speakers did. 堅尼 is pronounced (using the official Jyutping romanization system) gin1 nei4. An average American would probably approximate it as gheen nay. In Mandarin, the same characters are read as jian1 ni2 (gee-Anne knee) a lot farther from the actual pronunciation.

 

The second part is straightforward. or gaai1 just means "street" in Chinese.

 

The third part can be broken down into: (waa4), referring to Chinese (to the exclusion of all other Asians and possibly Chinese who have become whitewashed/blackwashed); and (fau6), meaning town, harbor, or city. Pronounced together, the characters sound like waffle.

Edited by CenSin
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how come the last two characters are in a script style and the rest use a block style?

 

I have no idea. The random use of fonts offends me as well. (I'm a graphics designer/programmer with O.C.D.)

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Is it possible that those two characters can't be used with that font? I've seen that happen before.

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Is it possible that those two characters can't be used with that font? I've seen that happen before.

 

 

The 5 Chinese characters can be display in both fonts, at the time when they installed in the 80s. Its just the presentation to make it look "cool" in Chinatown.

 

There were other signs in Canal St Station like "Off-Hour Waiting Area" yellow signs with poorly translated Chinese characters. MTA did not realized for decades that it was improperly translated. Not sure if it still hanging in that station since the renovation on BMT side.

Edited by w8Hou

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I have no idea. The random use of fonts offends me as well. (I'm a graphics designer/programmer with O.C.D.)

 

 

I couldn't stop laughing reading the bold parts. My department at Verizon couldn't stop laughing as well.

 

Also the dual fonts, I'm sure one font was used for the street name and the other font was used to label the specific location of the area. Or at least that's what my grandmother thinks.

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I think this should be also done in Flushing too. :D

Or in the rest of the system.

 

 

I dont think the Canal St station signs have the Chinese translation anymore, I dont remember seeing it the last time I was there. If they did remove it, it was probably because other groups complained that they want their signs translated too.

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I believe the sings were removed (if they were removed) because the translation company the MTA hired, essentially put them through a machine, and got incorrect translations.

http://www.nyctransi...lations-report/

 

They have like a million Chinese people using their system and they couldn't find one to translate the signs properly?

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I couldn't stop laughing reading the bold parts. My department at Verizon couldn't stop laughing as well.

Funnily enough, my boss's boss thinks I'm not O.C.D. enough. He notices details that even I don't and gets annoyed at the slightest incongruences.

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