The Alternative Taipei MRT English Map
Full English Alternative Map
(click to enlarge):
The official Taipei MRT English map translates very few of the station, most are just romanized to the sounds of the Mandarin words. This gives no insight into the meanings of the place names unless you read Chinese. I thought it might be interesting to try to finish the job properly…
Generally I have taken a literal approach and translated what is written in Chinese to English; at least where it makes sense, and avoided getting too poetic.
Historically, many of Taipei’s local place names came from the Taiwanese language; they were then translated by sound to something auspicious sounding in Mandarin without reference to the original meaning. So for example Diawan, a simple place name, becomes ‘Daan’ (大安) or ‘Great Peace’
Some things that are easy to write in Chinese are hard to write concisely in English so things get a bit wordy at times. For example, ‘Zhongxiao Fuxing’ (忠孝復興) becomes ‘Loyalty and Fidelity Rd. and Reunification [of the Nation] Rd’
‘Qili’ (唭哩) and ‘Dunhua’ (敦化) just represent sounds and are intentionally not translated.
The MRT’s map uses a mixture of Hanyu and Tongyong Pinyin (depending if the stations are in Taipei or New Taipei City), so rather than ‘Danshui’ (淡水) we have ‘Tamsui’. The Chinese pronunciation is the same regardless. It was tempting to translate that ‘Phreshwoter’ rather than ‘Freshwater.’
If you are new to Taipei then you might find this interesting and maybe you will be able to expand your Chinese vocabulary.
This is just for fun though; if you are planning a trip to Taipei, please use the official map or you might get a bit lost!