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“Vietnamese English” keeps travelers guessing

Vietnamese people have been trying to better serve foreign travelers by giving English names to their cafés, restaurants and hotels.

Associate Professor Dr Pham Van Tinh wrote on Saigon Tiep Thi that it is really difficult nowadays to find a hotel with Vietnamese name.

The professor was once asked to find a hotel near the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi for his Russian colleagues who came to Vietnam in a business trip. The professor tried to search information on Google, and it was a surprise to him that nearly all the hotels in Hoan Kiem district bear English names.

A lot of English names were shown on the website for Tinh’s choice, including Moonshine Palace on Bat Dan street, Golden Plaza (Hang Trong), Golden Lake (Hang Manh), Luxury (Phu Doan), Mike’s Amazing (Hang Phen), Sunshine 1 and Sunshine 3 (Ma May), Triumphal, Rising Dragon 2 (Hang Ga), Prince II (Hang Giay), Astoria (Hang Bong), Lucky Star (Bat Dan), Asia Palace (Hang Tre),

When traveling to an unfamiliar locality, the first thing that all travelers have to do is to find a hotel, or guest house to stay. This needs to be a readily convenient and safe place. The things that foreign travelers first meet when accustoming themselves to Vietnam are the hotels, restaurants, markets and specialties.

Foreign travelers may feel astonished when realizing that Vietnamese hotels do not bear Vietnamese names. Meanwhile, in neighboring countries, including China, Thailand or Indonesia, the names of goods and brands must be in the vernacular language (if manufacturers only one language). The goods can have auxiliary names in foreign languages, but the names must be written in smaller letters and put after the names in the vernacular language.

Tinh has pointed out that it is a growing tendency of giving English names to Vietnamese goods and brands. Even a national tourism complex, which usually serves as the place for organizing beauty contests, also bears an English name: Vinpearl Land. He has called on the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the Vietnam Hotel Association to set up strict regulations about the naming.

The Russian guests were so astonished when hearing that Vietnamese people like giving English names to their hotels. They said that the “English worshiping” was once very popular in Russia. However, naming in English has become no more in vogue, partially because the State requested to follow the laws in naming. Meanwhile, businesses themselves felt ashamed of their aggressive worshiping of English.

A lot of mistakes in the signboards of hotels and restaurants, in the menus and instructions, have been discovered by foreign travelers.

A funny story has been related that when a Vietnamese person led a foreign girl to a special food restaurant, the foreigner got frightened when reading the signboard. “Why do you want to lead me to the place?” the foreigner said.

The problem lied in the English name of the restaurant “My Dung restaurant”. In English, “my dung” has a quite different meaning from the Vietnamese name “My Dung” which has been regularly given to girls.

Therefore, in order to avoid misunderstanding, the names “Dung” have been translated into English as “Dzung.”

The Communist Party’s Politburo has called on Vietnamese people to buy and use Vietnamese goods. However, it seems that the Vietnamese language is not considered the Vietnamese goods. Meanwhile, language shows cultural characteristics of a country, and it is the pride of the nation.

Under the 2005 Enterprise Law, the names of enterprises need to be written in Vietnamese language which could be associated with numerals and they must be vocalized. In 2010, the government issued the Decree No. 43 on business registration, recognizing the enterprise naming in Latin foreign languages.

Source: SGTT

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