No word for "Community Room"?

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At the Valencia Police Station in San Francisco, CA, there is a sign reading "Community Room" in English and Spanish. There is also Chinese on the sign; however, apparently a word or two is not considered adequate to communicate this concept in Chinese.

The Chinese says:

Rúguǒ nín xūyào rènhé xiézhù huò shǐyòng fúwù, qǐng tōngzhī gōngzuò rényuán

如果您需要任何協助或使用服務, 請通知工作人員

"If you need any assistance or to use the services, please inform the staff."

Are we all clear about what a "community room" is?

I did a search on "community room"+ police, and it turns out that many American police departments maintain them.  So far as I know, that is not the case in China or Taiwan.

[Thanks to Charles Belov]


  1. Lai Ka Yau said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 2:47 am

    I find it interesting that in the complement of 需要, an NP and a VP were coordinated: 需要[[NP 任何協助]或[VP 使用服務]]. While I would judge it as grammatical, it does strike me as slightly odd…

  2. Victor Mair said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 7:13 am

    @Lai Ka Yau

    Thanks for pointing that out. I had the same feeling as I was preparing the post.

  3. KWillets said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 12:11 pm

    These stations usually have a community meeting room right next to the walkup desk. The sign may have gotten the captions mixed up between them.

    And it's Mission Station; Valencia refers to the address.

  4. astrange said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 3:18 pm

    Police stations have also started providing safe meeting spots for things like, for instance, selling your expensive camera to someone on Craigslist. Better that than meeting in Starbucks.

    This sign reads like the translator wanted to be helpful, but had to write around not actually knowing what the room was for.

  5. ella said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 10:11 pm

    Is that what a 'community room' is? I would be very puzzled without that gloss. The Chinese translation is actually a bit more informative, if long-winded.

  6. KWillets said,

    May 14, 2017 @ 10:33 pm

    As far as what an SFPD community room is, it's a neutral space for public meetings between community members and police. After the 1960's or so, district stations were built like bunkers, with no windows and secure interior office areas. The lobby typically has only a desk officer behind bulletproof glass, a bathroom, and a door to a room like this.

  7. Chas Belov said,

    May 16, 2017 @ 2:00 am

    @KWillets: Thank you for the correction re "Mission Station," which I had forgotten. I don't recall seeing an equivalent sign in English by the walkup window, so I'm thinking it's *not* a mix-up. That said, I'll check for other signs the next time I visit Mission Station.

    As a side note, the community rooms are also available for public use not involving the police, as a community service that the SFPD provides. I know of a gay playwrights' group that met in such a room at, I think, Northern Station.

  8. Chas Belov said,

    May 16, 2017 @ 11:31 am

    As a side note, Central Station is more northern than Northern Station, and Northern Station is more central than Central Station.

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