Escalator smarts

« previous post | next post »

From my files (sorry that the photograph is not in perfect focus):

qǐng wù nìxiàng xíngzǒu 请勿逆向行走
(“please don’t walk in the opposite direction”)

The Chinese on the sign is clear, but neither the English nor the illustration makes much sense.  The English, though ungrammatical and unidiomatic, is slightly more intelligible than the prohibition sign, which seems to be telling people that it’s not all right to go in the direction of the escalator.

See also:

Sandwiched in an escalator” (LL, 2/9/15)

Mind your head” (LL, 8/28/15) (see esp. the 1st, 2nd, and 4th comments)

In China, where there are lots of accidents involving escalators, many of them fatal, such warnings are essential.

Last year was a particularly tragic one for escalators in China.

After Three Grim Accidents in a Week, Is It Even Safe to Ride on a Chinese Escalator?” (Time, 8/3/15)



5 Comments

  1. John from Cincinnati said,

    February 3, 2016 @ 11:27 pm

    The photo does not reveal the location of the sign. If it is at the foot of an escalator that descends to this floor, it fairly unambiguously means “prohibited to go up this escalator.” I did a Google search and found essentially the photographed icon, identified as “no up stairs prohibit sign”, at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-237120844/stock-vector-no-up-stairs-sign-prohibit-sign.html.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    February 4, 2016 @ 12:41 am

    @John from Cincinnati

    You’ve convinced me.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    February 4, 2016 @ 7:32 am

    Up the Downstair” (studio album)

    Up the Down Staircase” (novel)

    Up the Down Staircase” (film)

    Up the Down Escalator” (song)

  4. Guy said,

    February 4, 2016 @ 3:49 pm

    “In China, where there are lots of accidents involving escalators, many of them fatal, such warnings are essential.”

    Looking through the reports, it seems like most of these accidents are due to the escalators failing under ordinary use, not a rash of people going the wrong direction on them. It’s difficult to imagine how these warning signs address that issue (especially since it seems unlikely that a sign would make the intended direction of travel more clear than simply looking at the escalator itself would).

  5. William Berry said,

    February 7, 2016 @ 1:23 pm

    I thought it meant you couldn’t do the splits in an oblique fashion.

RSS feed for comments on this post