Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eiffel Tower's Official Site

For a country which has its own government agency to ensure linguistic purity & accuracy, one would think France would have same standard for other languages as well.

Apparently not so, as seen here at the official website for Eiffel Tower.

The button for Japanese [日本語] is missing first character.

(Thanks Ulas for the tip)


  1. I'm not sure, my Japanese isn't that great, but the Japanese welcome message strikes me as ... odd too. At the very least, I couldn't imagine the Japanese _not_ using タワー for it, heck they do so for their own 3 m taller knock-off (eat that France XD).

  2. Anon-
    The worst thing about the welcome message is the awful blocky font. As far as I know, the Eiffel Tower has always been known as エッフェル塔 in Japanese. FWIW, the formal Japanese name of "Tokyo Tower" is 日本電波塔 [Nippon Denpatō = Japan Radio Tower], the same name as the company that built and operates the tower. I think 東京タワー [Tokyo Tawā] is something of a nickname.

  3. What caught my attention afterwards was, although all the other languages just say "Welcome", the Japanese text says "Welcome to Eiffel Tower". Do they wanna cover up the first fault they made (the missing character) with this extra or what? :)

  4. The font probably comes from making an image of a shitty missing Meiryo ClearType font error. Most old TrueType hanzi fonts don't scale sensibly to irregular sizes, including those sizes that are popular.

    But yeah, the whole construction seems really, really out of place next to everything else. Maybe they're afraid Japanese would see ようこそ and think 「日本にようこそ」?

  5. On the contrary, English errors like this occur everywhere in Japan: clothings, advertisements, even on very large, very public road signs. You could also assume they would have someone to check for linguistic purity and accuracy too, no? I don't see why a small error on a website, albeit for the Eiffel Tower, is such a huge deal.

  6. No surprise to me. I saw this sign posted on the Eiffel Tower in July 2010:

    I don't know French but unless they were using radioactive materials...?

  7. Well I am french, and I don't see what's wrong with the sign posted by Anonymous on July 25 ?
    Maybe it is "works" that doesn't fit in context?

    It was only supposed to say sorry for the inconvenience caused by the fact that the tower was getting cleaned and restored...

    The "本語" is the biggest mistake... I imagine a japanese tourist would find it stupid. I would if I saw a button labeled "Ench" instead of french on a touristic website.

    The eiffel tower is never mentioned as エッフェルタワー by japanese.
    The Tokyo Tower is now commonly reffered as "tower" because it became such a popular attraction for foreign tourist...

  8. @Anonymous, December 8, 2010:
    The problem is that it is complete gibberish in English. Firstly, "gets modernised" doesn't make much sense; it should be "is being modernised".
    Secondly, "the direction" doesn't mean the same thing in English as it does in French is more like the sort of direction you mean when you say "left" or "right". In English "la direction" would be "the management".
    Thirdly, and what Anon @ July was referring to, "gene" in English means "gène" in the biological form, i.e. DNA/ADN

    A direct translation from the English back to French would result in something like "La tour Eiffel est modernisée par qqch. La direction [à gauche/droite] presente ses excuses pour gène [biologique] occasionné par ces travaux."

    I guess the problem is that whoever wrote the sign wrote "gène" instead of "gêne" and so it came out completely garbled when they put it into google translate :)

  9. I don't know who reads this post after 2 years have passed....but I entered the site once again, and I saw it updated, and the Japanese button fixed.