Thanks to some unskilled translators, a recent outreach effort by the city in Chinatown did not go over smoothly.
The Mayor's Office of Housing hosted a public outreach meeting on February 19 along with the the Planning Department and Office of Economic and Workforce Development at the Chinatown YMCA. As the Examiner reports, many of the 200 or so attendees left the meeting "just plain mad" after a poor live translation of the event, and an even more poorly translated printed Chinese language survey.
Chinatown SRO resident Coco Huang told the Ex that the survey was so dumbly translated, she would have rather have completed it in English.
Among the gaffes on the written survey:
∙ The Sunset District was called "Inside the Setting Sun"
∙ The Tenderloin was translated as "a beef filet."
∙ The Mission District was translated as “quest” or “purpose”
∙ And the area around USF was referred to as South Florida University.
A spokesperson for the Mayor's Office of Housing told the Ex that they had contracted with a translation company called LanguageLine, and after receiving many complaints about the Feb. 19 meeting, that company has been replaced. The spokesperson further said the city "continually strive[s] to enhance our community engagement strategies."
The outreach meeting was meant to seek public input on a five-year plan for affordable housing, and Chinese language newspaper Sing Tao Daily has already expressed concern that the city did not adequately accommodate Cantonese speakers.