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Pinyin jumps aboard nation's trains (2)

By ZHENG XIN  (China Daily)

08:16, September 19, 2012

However, Yang also said it made more sense for foreigners if the English translation is also added along with pinyin.

Li Jinzhao, from Beijing Foreign Studies University, also said standardizing the railway station names with pinyin might be better for practical reasons.

"A taxi driver might not understand where Beijing South Railway Station is, but he definitely could drive you to the Beijingnan Railway Station," she said.

However, pinyin will not replace English spelling of subway stations in the capital, according to the Beijing Subway.

According to Sun Lijie, a publicity officer with the Beijing Subway, the name of a subway station, "Beijing South Railway Station" will not be changed.

Despite the railway's intention to provide more convenient services to foreign friends, those alien to the country's culture, especially characters and pinyin, don't really find the changes useful.

"Many people in the country speak simple English and it's not a big problem to find your way," said Abilio Santos, a 19-year-old student from the University of International Business and Economics, who came from Spain to China two weeks ago to study the Chinese language.

"For people like me, pinyin can better help foreign students with their Chinese language study."

He said translating all stations in the city with pinyin would not necessarily help foreigners.

"It's stupid if you refer to the Olympic Park as 'Aolinpikegongyuan', its pinyin translation," he said.

The public also questions if the changes are necessary.

"It doesn't fit an international city to translate its railway stations with local characters that hardly make sense to foreign tourists," said Gong Yu, a 26-year-old editor in the capital. "And I can't see why they decided to implement the changes at this time."

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