As many of you know, correct signage, esp. in terms of romanization, is something of a pet crusade of mine. I've recently been e-mailing and calling various departments about a small but important detail: missing apostrophes in the names of some MRT stations
Certainly there are bigger problems with English and romanization than this; but I'm looking on this as a sort of test case to check the city gummit's sincerity in fixing demonstrable, systemic errors. After all, the correct versions aren't so different that this would lead to confusion. Also, they've got to change all the maps, etc., to include all the new stations soon to open, so why not fix some errors while they're at it? (I started writing people about this months
ago, when there really would have been time to fix things on the new signage and maps.)
When I speak with the MRT people, however, they say that have to go by what the Taipei City Government tells them. (I believe them.) But when I speak with the city's bureau of transportation, I'm told to contact the MRT. And the department of education was involved in this, too. Everyone I've spoken with has been helpful and sympathetic; but that doesn't mean anything is going to change. Basically, no one seems to have the authority to do anything about this because bad romanization is a matter of policy
, and just try getting something changed once the those in the system have a rule (or believe
they have a rule) to follow.
After talking with people in lots of different departments, here's what I've gathered. Taipei gathered a group of "experts and authorities" on the topic and they decided not to follow the rules of Pinyin
(quite likely because they didn't know them). I've tried to find out the identity of these people but couldn't get a clear answer. (Nobody asked me
to come to any meetings on this.)
Someone recently reminded me that all this was much like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark
EATON: We have top men working on it right now.
EATON: Top ... men.
INDY: We may be able to help.
EATON: We appreciate that. And we won't hesitate to call on you.
MUSGROVE: (dismissing them) Thank you all. Thank you again.
As with so much in Taiwan, it looks like a "back door" is needed to get anything done beyond a superficial level. (Anybody here have good connections inside Taipei City Hall?) I'm still on the case, though sometimes I think I really need to get another hobby.