Corrective Plans Seoul is spell-checking signposts for English errors with free Apple Watches

The SMG opened the online campaign Thursday and invited people to submit photos of such signs. Included are those at subway stations, bus stops and tourist destinations among others.

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Signage on the Seoul metro. play

Signage on the Seoul metro.

(Christopher Rose / Flickr)
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The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has launched another campaign to remove street signs that contain English language errors.

The SMG opened the online campaign Thursday and invited people to submit photos of such signs. Included are those at subway stations, bus stops and tourist destinations among others.

Anyone residing in Seoul can send pictures of the signs to visitseoul1@seoul.go.kr until Oct. 24, and the city government will award prizes including Apple watches and gift certificates to a selected few.

"It is for the convenience of foreigners who visit the city," an SMG official said.

This campaign is the second of its kind following the first one last year when the SMG changed 86 signs.

"Through this campaign, I hope foreign visitors will feel more at ease while traveling in the city," the official said.

The most common mistakes involve Romanization, translation and spelling, according to the official.

For example, Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater in Chungmuro, central Seoul, is written as "Seoul Namsan Gukakdang" on a sign nearby. Gukakdang is a Korean word for theater for Korean classical music. "Many foreigners have no idea what gukakdang means," he said.

One sign in Gwanghwamun had an "i" missing in the word "university."

The city runs an online archive, dictionary.seoul.go.kr, where people can learn about English translations of most of the names used in Seoul. Those who submit a sign with a spelling error can check the website first.

However, despite citizens' reports, the SMG cannot change traffic signs hung near or above roads and highways on its own, as they are managed by the central government.

"Those signs are under supervision of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation. If people submit the photos of those signs to us, we will send the collected information to the ministry," the official said, adding there needs to be more coordination between the central and local governments in managing the signs.

The city will consider having a campaign for Japanese and Chinese signs as well because of the large number of visitors from the two countries.

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