According to a recent investigation by the Shanghai Association for Quality Inspection, about 23% of the public information signs in Shanghai are non-standard or even misleading. That seems a remarkably small percentage and the sign placers of Shanghai should be congratulated.
The association’s Customer Evaluation Center launched a sample investigation of public information signs in the city:
Of 2,087 signs checked, 479 were non-standard. Shanghai Railway Station had the highest rate of non-standard signs, Yurenminbi Garden the lowest.The report found 26.1% of signs did not have the proper English expression or no English at all. Incoherent English was found in many places, such as Shanghai Gymnasium and Shanghai Indoor Stadium, Tibet Road S. and Xizang Road S.There were also misspellings and misleading expressions. For example, ‘guest stop’ instead of ‘staff only.’A quarter of the signs indicating toilets, no smoking or currency exchange, were found with non-standard images.
He Jiuyu, vice director of the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall Supervisory Office said, "We should regulate the signboards to make them understood by all kinds of people, especially foreigners."
Shanghai Daily reported at least one member of the public wondering what all the fuss was about. Wing Wu, who works in Plaza 66 on Nanjing Road W, said, "Most of the signs make sense to me. It is not necessary to make them all look the same." True. And it would take some of the charm from the city.
And it is wrong to think Shanghai has a some sort of a corner on this market. In Sydney there is a splendid set of signs which create great mirth and hilarity among occupants. They are both for motorists and are a meter apart. One wants you to turn right to go to Eastlake. The other says it is illegal to turn right. Go figure. Shanghai is doing fine.