JCS’s English displays fraught with mistakes
By Lee Tae-hoon
A number of translation mistakes and spelling errors have been found on English displays set up to introduce foreign visitors to the history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) at its newly-opened building in Yongsan, Seoul.
On one of the five signs located in the third-floor foyer, Gyeongmudae, the office and residence of the first President Syngman Rhee, is translated as a police building.
President Rhee’s full name was incorrectly hyphenated in the following sentence: “Joint Staff Meeting was instituted as a permanent organization under the direct control of the President as directed by President Rhee, Syng-man.”
In the next sentence, the President is referred to as a misspelled “Lee,” saying that “President Lee gave insignia to GEN. Lee.”
A military officer said it is hard not to raise their eyebrows when finding such mistakes, as “task force” being misspelled as “take force,” on a sign, reading “30 JAN 1968, Counter-Espionage Take Force established in ROK JCS.”
He said the JCS has already revised the translated text used in the display area at least three times, but there remain numerous spelling and other human errors, such as “the former main MND building” written as “the former current MND building.”
He added that the text had been revised once upon the instruction of JCS Chairman Gen. Jung Seung-jo who had noticed the awkwardness of the English expressions and grammatical errors during his inspection tour.
A JCS official acknowledged that it was unable to fix such critical mistakes in time for Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the 10-story building constructed with a budget of 187.5 billion won ($166.2 million).
“We plan to continue to make changes and improve the quality of the English writing by the end of the year,” he said.
The new building next to the defense ministry’s headquarters in Yongsan is believed to be resistant to electromagnetic pulse attacks, or EMPs, bursts of electromagnetic radiation caused by, for example, the detonation of a nuclear warhead.