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Hello! Bonjour! 你好!

October 8, 2012

Foreign language signageAccording to the Linguistics Society of America, the world’s population speaks an estimated 6,800 different languages. That’s a lot of different ways to say “hello”! For those of us who make a living communicating important information via signage, multiple languages are always a challenge. Being based in Canada many of our clients face some unique signage challenges. In our home province of Ontario, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and a number of different Chinese languages are all spoken. Of course there is also Quebec, where French speakers out number English 6 to 1. So as you might expect there are a myriad of signs that must be in multiple languages. While this might seem like a daunting task, EMC has found a way to get the job done.

We’ve mentioned in previous blogs that the key to a good sign is clarity. It needs to say what you want it to say and people have to be able to read it quickly, easily, and accurately.  One of the main problems of multiple languages is that certain phrases don’t translate well from one language to another. There are a number of humorous sites across the web that show examples of how sign translation can go horribly if not often hilariously wrong.  While it might be funny to see on the web, it’s no joke when it comes to your business. One misplaced word or phrase can be both confusing and offensive. At EMC we do our very best to never let any signage leave our factory without first doing a thorough check for errors  and that the sign produced matches the translation we have been provided with.

Because in the end the quality and accuracy of your signage is a direct reflection on  the level of commitment you are making to your company and your customers.  At EMC we want to ensure that that reflection is a positive one.

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