Apart from the messages educating railway commuters, what the Western Railway (WR) lost in translation was also its face. Attracting the ire of many as being “insensitive”, errors in grammar and translation of messages translated from English to Marathi on stickers pasted on steps of foot overbridges at railway stations were widely shared on social media Tuesday.
The posters advise commuters to maintain discipline while climbing foot overbridges at railway stations. Commuters complained about them being incomprehensible and further insulting the local language.
The posters were stuck on the staircases of the FOBs after the stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway station on September 29, which claimed 23 lives. Officials said the posters were stuck to educate commuters on taking care while using the stairs and discouraging them from rushing while catching a train.
However, certain lines on the posters, which appear to be direct translations done from a web search engine, fail to convey the message. For example, one of the lines at the Santacruz railway station reads: ‘Krupaya lahan chendu gheu naka’, which translates to “Please do not take short-cuts” on the search engine. However, the line would actually mean ‘please do not take small balls’ in Marathi.
“It is insensitive. Indian Railways always takes Marathi language for granted. Not only must it be rectified within 24 hours, an inquiry must be initiated against the erroneous contractor who did the same,” said Amit Bhadricha, a regular commuter.
Errors in the use of grammar were also pointed out by commuters. One of the lines on a sticker at the Mira Road station reads: “Please keep on either side”, which essentially wanted to mean that commuters must keep a single file to climb the staircase from one side and climbing down from the other. Commuters also raised doubts over the quality of the stickers being pasted as many were seen being worn off. They insisted on putting up anti-skid stickers or permanently ingrain them on the stairs.
“Experts must be appointed to decide upon what way it must be done. The steps are not really a nice plan to put up excessive text,” said Alok Patel, a regular commuter on the Western Railway.
Such posters were put up at 16 railway stations on the Western Railway and two on the Central Railway. “The job of sticking posters were assigned to a contractor by the railways. We have called for removal of the posters from the staircases of the foot overbridges on an immediate basis. We will proof-read each poster henceforth,” said Ravindra Bhaker, Chief Public Relations Officer, Western Railway.