Translation errors force Osaka metro websites offline

Osaka metroImage copyright: GETTY IMAGES
Image caption: Passengers were told to take the ‘Sakai muscle’ line

Osaka’s metro network has shut down its foreign language sites after users noticed some odd translations.

Among the errors on its English page was the literal translation of Sakaisuji line as “Sakai muscle”.

Many Japanese businesses are trying to make themselves accessible for foreign visitors, ahead of the rugby world cup this year and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Officials say they used the same Microsoft translation programme for all of the metro’s non-Japanese pages.

As well as being told to take the “muscle line”, passengers were advised to alight at stations called “Before the Zoo” (Dobutsuen-mae), “Powerhouse Town” (Daikokucho), “Prince Bridge Now City” (Taishibashi-Imaichi) and “World Teahouse” (Tengachaya).

“Third carriage”, meanwhile, rather unsettlingly became “three eyes”.

Members of the public noticed the odd names and posted photos on social media, causing the Japanese hashtags for “Sakai Muscle” and “Osaka Metro” to trend.

As well as English, the website had been translated into Chinese, Korean and Thai. It’s not known whether those sites contained errors as well, but they have all been taken down as a precaution.

The metro did not say when the pages would be back online. For now, visitors to the English language page are automatically redirected to the main Japanese site.

Meanwhile, Microsoft told the BBC that it would “take appropriate steps to support our customer”.

Osaka’s metro is hardly alone – in fact, errors translating between Japanese and English are pretty common.

Earlier this year the singer Ariana Grande tried to get a Japanese tattoo on her wrist saying “seven rings”, the name of her latest single. When she posted a photo online, fans pointed out that it actually said “barbecue grill”.

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