In the latest campaign of standardizing public signs in Hangzhou, some experts and volunteers from Zhejiang International Studies University wandered around parks, and noticed the following: "A small step forward, a big step in civilization" sign in its public restroom for men.
Put it back into Chinese, word by word, and it might make sense. Though in English it is a completely different story. Similar mistakes have been reported in other public toilets with signs like: "Take one pace forward, civilization large jumps", "close to civilization, near to convenient".
中英文都逐字对应，看似没有问题，其英文含义却很不一样。类似的翻译还有很多，比如说"Take one pace forward, civilization large jumps"等。
This euphemistic way of asking people to get closer to the urinals in order to keep the floor clean should be translated as follow: "One small step forward is a step towards a (more) civilized world".
该标语其实是暗示人们靠近便池,以保持地面清洁。可以翻译成:"One small step forward is a step towards a (more) civilized world/society". (注意，文明被译成了"a civilized world/society" 即“一个文明的世界/社会”）
They also stumbled upon a sign that says: "Please do not paddle in water depth of 2.5 meters". "Paddle" refers to the action of navigating through the water, either in a boat using a paddle or as "swim". It also makes allusion to a water play area where little ones can splash and drizzle. Therefore the word "paddle" is a correct here.
In this case, some translation is redundant, and could have been "Caution, deep water, no paddling". The high water level could be added as emphasis.
译文中表示水深度的词较多余。正确版本可以是"Caution, deep water, no paddling"，特别强调“深水”之意。
We also urge the public to report mistranslated public signs by sending the photos to email@example.com.