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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
China dishes up menu translations
Man waves a flag with the Olympic Games logo in Beijing (file photo)
China is working hard to present a positive image during the Games
China is taking action on the English translations of its restaurant menus in its campaign to brush up the country's image for next year's Olympics.

The Beijing Tourism Bureau has released a list of 2,753 dishes and drinks it thinks could do with a wording rethink.

Translations such as "virgin chicken" for a young chicken dish and "burnt lion's head" for pork meatballs are confusing for foreigners, it says.

China has launched a major drive to present a good image next year.

Spitting, littering and bad driving have all been targeted in a bid to stamp out bad habits in the Chinese capital ahead of the Olympic Games.

Cultural connotations

The aim of the latest campaign is to end the "confusing, even ridiculous translations" on menus, China's state news agency Xinhua quotes the bureau as saying.

The names of many Chinese dishes have historical, cultural, regional and political connotations that would not necessarily be understood by foreigners, Xinhua reports.

But the poor English translations "either scare or embarrass foreign customers and may cause misunderstanding of China's diet habits".

The tourism bureau is seeking opinions on the translations of 2,753 dishes and drinks.

The final, approved list of translated names will then be rolled out to restaurants across the country, Xinhua says.

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