Seoul offers prizes for spotting street sign errors

A promotional cartoon of a tourist with a giant magnifying glass spotting English errors Image copyright Seoul Metropolitan Government
Image caption Officials want people to hit the streets - giant magnifying glass optional

Seoul's city government is asking people for help to correct poorly translated street signs - with prizes on offer for those who spot the most errors.

It's running a two-week campaign calling on Koreans and foreigners alike to keep their eyes peeled for mistakes in English, Japanese and Chinese text, the Korea Times reports. There's a particular focus on public transport signs, maps and information signs at historic sites, as part of a drive to improve the experience of foreign tourists in the South Korean capital. Anyone spotting a confusing or incorrect translation is being asked to snap a photo and report the details via email.

As an added incentive, the government is stumping up 1.6m won ($1,430; £1,100) in gift vouchers, with the top error-spotter getting an "award of excellence" and a 200,000 won voucher ($180; £140). While the campaign's promotional poster uses fairly innocuous typos as examples, the internet is awash with more amusing - and sometimes embarrassing - errors, particularly on tourist menus. Earlier this year, South Korea's government announced plans to crack down on baffling menu translations.

While Seoul is trying to adopt more visitor-friendly signage, its own tourism campaigns have run into language troubles in the past. Last year, "I.Seoul.U" was chosen as a slogan to promote the city internationally, and was promptly mocked for making little sense in English.

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