Seoul Gov’t to make street signs more foreigner-friendly

Look for English-language street signs to begin changing, at least in Seoul:

The road sign for “Hangangdaegyo,” which literally means the “grand bridge on the Han river,” will be changed to “Hangangdaegyo (Bridge),” according to Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), Thursday.

This and other planned changes are intended to help foreign residents and tourists better understand road signs by translating the Korean words.

“We’ve had complaints that signs written in foreign languages are improper and confusing, and foreigners can’t understand them,” a city official said.

Personally, I’d just like to see the official English names to be rendered in a more logical way, like “Han River Bridge” and “Gyeongbok Palace.”

  • Kuiwon

    I would like to see the same too. For Gyeongbok Palace, I would like to see “Palace of Heavenly Blessing” or something to that effect.

  • mithridates

    It’s a tough decision to make. Han River Bridge gets the point across but that doesn’t help a short-term visitor get there in a taxi. Then again, Hangangdaegyo would probably be pronounced hang-angh-die-gyo by the short-term visitor as well and that doesn’t help too much.

  • que337

    It might be easier to learn reading Hangeul. It takes half a day.

  • Bob Bobbs

    Ajushi, gai tuh obuh lai jing be ne bo len suh, bbali gaseyo!

  • Kuiwon

    The Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic alphabet take half a day to learn.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Screw the signs, more bike lanes please and ticket/tow the assholes who park in them. Or make it legal to key/scratch/shatter the windows of cars parked in bike lanes.

  • que337

    It would take entire life for people to learn approx. 50,000 Chinese letters.

  • Sanshinseon

    Yes Robert, perhaps “Han River Great Bridge” would be even better at conveying meaning. And the romanization should be done as “Han-gang Daegyo” to be far more readable and comprehensible.

    que337, the romanization and translation are for the many shorter-term visitors to our global-level burg, including those in the US military — and in the provinces too — and no, they are not going to learn Han-geul as we do…

  • Brendon Carr

    Except “Great Bridge” has zero meaning in English. A bridge is a bridge is a bridge, in English. If you’re going to label in English, forget what the literal Korean says.

  • R. Elgin

    Forget how you spell it. Signs that had accurate directions and did not contradict each other would be all that is needed.

  • PekingMan

    And simplified Chinese instead of traditional full-form…No more 可樂市場 more like 可乐市场

  • Kuiwon

    It would take an entire lifetime for people to learn all 500,000+ words in the Korean language. You could memorize the most frequently appearing 2,000 Chinese characters, which occur approximately 90% of the time, well before puberty — as previous generations did.

  • Sanshinseon

    I had thought of that, but think “Great Bridge” would quickly be understood (“big bridge” being too simple, and Robert’s “Grand Bridge” might be better, tho i like to reserve grand for Tae). For Daero we do have “Highway” and “Boulevard”, but it is strange that we have no English term to differentiate the Golden Gate Bridge from your local stream-crosser — its a lack (deficiency) in the English language, that we just have to work around somehow. I’m doing a lot of editing of Korean Buddhist texts these days, and am freshly made aware of how often it is “there is no proper term in English for that, we just have to do the best we can”… Must be the same in the Laws, no?

  • will.i.aint

    If you only knew how often Americans get lost because English lacks specific descriptions for the various types of bridges. And it makes giving directions that include crossing a bridge damn near impossible. It’s truly a travesty.

  • will.i.aint

    Be careful what you ask for . . . back in the late ’80s when car ownership became possible for hundreds of thousands of Koreans who previously had never owned a car . . . car keying was a really big problem in Seoul. I suspect the culprits were mostly those who still couldn’t afford a car and were pissed off at those who could.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    That was a bit of a joke about keying. Keying, or breaking the windows of cars should only really be done to assholes who drive dangerously and pose a danger to others. But I was serious about the towing/ticketing.