Afreeway sign in Beijing points the way to a park showcasing ethnic minority heritage in China. The English below the Chinese characters reads: 'Racist Park.' It's the kind of translation-on billboards, shirts, and in newspapers - that foreigners in Beijing have been chuckling at for years. So, a few years ago, the city mounted a campaign to correct such errors, in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The scheme received money, government backing and foreign consultants, but that was just the start. It had to tackle the sometimes tricky job of finding the best translations. One challenge was selecting the right word when there's no direct translation from the Chinese. Then there's the issue of English itself: should it be British English or American English? And if a sign is grammatically wrong but makes sense to English speakers, does it really need to be changed? These are questions that David Tool, a professor at Beijing's International Studies University, has wrestled with far more times than he can count. Dr Tool, who hails from South Carolina, has a strong desire to help China's fast-changing society. So he volunteered to help improve English signs at museums and cultural sites, and the government quickly named him 'expert adviser' to its Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Programme. Since then, Dr Tool has hobnobbed with everyone from the mayor of Beijing to the translators who came up with the erroneous signs in the first place. He particularly enjoyed his assignment helping 40 museums with their translations. 'It was a fantastic opportunity for me to get to go to these 40 museums every Friday, for almost a year,' he said. At one point he had to sit down with a Hongkonger and a Sri Lankan, to sort out regional English usages. But Dr Tool, a true pragmatist, didn't push his own agenda too hard. 'If it's not seriously wrong, or a real error, if everybody understands it - we leave it alone,' he said. In the end, the group created a standardised system of English signs for everything from subways to library shelves. The book will be published and sent to city governments around China. The translations are important for Beijing, said Dr Tool. Bad signs not only disrespect visiting foreigners, but show careless presentation of China's culture and history. Actually, there's still plenty to do: Dr Tool says there are some 2,500 registered cultural sites in Beijing alone. Besides, the workers writing the signs sometimes misspell words or make grammatical mistakes. Meanwhile, Dr Tool will have his eye out for errors as he makes his way around his adopted home of Beijing. 'I can't help it,' he says. That can only be good news for the tourists coming to watch the Games in 2008.