Apple’s iTunes Store Is Lost In Translation After Landing In Hong Kong

Apple’s iTunes Store Is Lost In Translation After Landing In Hong Kong

Apple’s system is converting song titles to Mandarin pinyin as opposed to Cantonese.

After finally bringing the iTunes Store to Hong Kong back in June, it seems Apple is having trouble translating its content into Cantonese. Customers are reportedly irritated that song titles by the city’s pop stars are being translated in Mandarin pinyin, rather than Cantonese.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

On accessing the iTunes store for the first time, some Hong Kong users were irritated to find that the store was listing a number of song titles by the city’s popstars in Mandarin pinyin, a system that transcribes Chinese characters into phonetic Latin script, instead of displaying titles transliterated for the Cantonese language, which is spoken by the majority of the population.

For example, the popular Cantonese pop song titled “Autumn Wind, Autumn Rain” would be written and pronounced as qiu feng qiu yu using Mandarin pinyin. Though there is no broadly accepted official system for rendering Cantonese using the Roman alphabet, a transliteration for Cantonese speakers would be closer to cou feng cou yu.

“Those are CANTO pop [songs],” wrote one Hong Kong-based user on Twitter. “Use cantonese [sic] phonetics.”

The iTunes Store hasn’t gotten off to a great start in Hong Kong, then. However, it is expected that this is one issue Apple will iron out over the next few days.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , |