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Should signs and other public services cater to different languages?
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27 / M / Louisville, KY
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Posted 7/6/15 , edited 7/6/15
The constitution was written in English therefore English is United States of America's official language regardless of whether or not the government wants to make it official or not it is. The government completely operates in English. I believe if you want to come to US, great, but learn English. We shouldn't have to cater to you. Just like if I went to Japan, I wouldn't expect people to cater to my English, I would have to learn Japanese.
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Posted 7/6/15 , edited 7/6/15

AiYumega wrote:

Do you think countries like America, which is a predominantly white nation, should cater to different languages, or should everything be only in English?


What? You really think all white nations speak only English? I'm sure that'll be a surprise to the Spanish, French, Italians, Norwegians, etc. etc. etc.



Khaltazar wrote:

The constitution was written in English therefore English is United States of America's official language regardless of whether or not the government wants to make it official or not it is.


I don't think you know what the definition of "official" is...
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Posted 7/6/15
Hawaii has a couple of signs and stuff in Japanese, mainly in the more tourist-heavy areas. With tourism as Hawaii's primary industry, it really helps to have multilingual guides and signs.
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25 / M / Canada
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Posted 7/6/15
Most road signs are pretty universal and thus don't really require alternate languages. But most signs in my country do have an English and French spelling due to our country being officially bilingual. So no, I don't care because my country already does it.
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M / Los Angeles, CA
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Posted 7/6/15
What a stupid question. Of course it makes sense to have multiple languages. Go travel around the world and you will see English, Japanese, Chinese, etc. signage everywhere. If you think we should only have English signs, you probably have never been anywhere else in your life and I feel kinda bad for ya lol.
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22 / M
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Posted 7/6/15
In NYC in that subway maze... not even that will prevent people to getting lost. Yeah sure I saw signs even in Japanese and Russian there. That city is like the capital of the world, yet on other minor cities on the US is not necessary.
Posted 7/6/15
No.
Not trying to be rude, but there are immigrants who can't read their own language.

Best alternative is to use effective pictures, it passes language barriers except for ppl who lack common sense
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15 / M / Canada
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Posted 7/6/15
Sure. It's not like it's going to affect me in any way, especially as I'm Canadian and already see French on a lot of things anyways.
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21 / F / Southern US
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Posted 7/6/15

GayAsianBoy wrote:

No.
Not trying to be rude, but there are immigrants who can't read their own language.

Best alternative is to use effective pictures, it passes language barriers except for ppl who lack common sense


Many things are difficult to express solely through images. On top of that, certain symbols, colors, or whatever else can have different meanings across different cultures.
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33 / M / Florida
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Posted 7/6/15
As for symbols and colors, there are universal signs and national signage rules in almost every country that allows for recognition of shape and color for those that may not read the language. Road signs are a very good example of this, in that an all red background is almost universally a signal to stop. A white rectangle with two digits in the middle is a sign informing you of the maximum legal speed. However, not all signs are so simple, such as names of roads and directions to a location. In this regard, multiple languages sound like they may be helpful. However, when drivers see a sign they must be able to comprehend it within seconds so to many languages can become confusing. As such, most countries will use 2 or 3 languages maximum for single fact signs and 2 languages maximum for multiple information signs.

As for public services, they must be understandable by those whom they are attempting to communicate with. As such, a service that deals with immigrants, tourists, or anyone that may not be familiar with a country's official language should have signs in the languages of those they are attempting to assist. For countries like the United States of America where the government does not designate a single or multiple languages for use, it is best to cater to those in the area being served as there is no requirement for them to know any single language.

That being said, do I agree with this? I do not. The costs of printing information in multiple languages can become staggering, decreasing the services offered to the public. When that becomes an issue, I think the public services should limit the languages to only the most dominant language(s) of their area and country. For road signs, I think they should be universal across a country, so whatever language is dominant should be the one used. This allows for fast recognition of signs and decreases reading time which allows the driver to focus on the task at hand, driving. Some areas such as healthcare are not able to limit languages available in many places, but those that use the service should be ready to pay for such due to the nature of the service.
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27 / M / ATL - GA
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Posted 7/6/15
I think every public school system in the US should be required to teach non-English speaking children English, but that's as far as I will go. If there happens to be a large population of non-English speaking citizens in the area, then absolutely offer them the means to figure out just wtf is going on around them. "Learn the language" isn't quite as simple as some would have you believe--especially if you're a low-income family just trying to survive day-to-day.
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33 / M / Florida
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Posted 7/6/15

Schmooples wrote:


GayAsianBoy wrote:

No.
Not trying to be rude, but there are immigrants who can't read their own language.

Best alternative is to use effective pictures, it passes language barriers except for ppl who lack common sense


Many things are difficult to express solely through images. On top of that, certain symbols, colors, or whatever else can have different meanings across different cultures.


There is an international and universal road sign convention called the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals that is used in what appears to be about 60 countries. The lights used (red, amber, green) are almost universal though, even in countries that haven't signed the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
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Posted 7/6/15
Depends on what type of signs we are talking about. Informational sure, even if there weren't residents that didn't understand English there are still tourists. On the other hand, traffic signs would be a nope for me. Multiple languages could distract and aren't really even needed as most are recognizable by either shape, color, or picture.
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21 / F / Southern US
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Posted 7/6/15

Bullbound wrote:

There is an international and universal road sign convention called the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals that is used in what appears to be about 60 countries. The lights used (red, amber, green) are almost universal though, even in countries that haven't signed the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.


And for things aside from roadsigns? There's no end to things that signs are designed to communicate. How about, "for additional information, call _____?"
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23 / M / Abyss
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Posted 7/6/15
While I don't see any signs in the South USA in a foreign language, I have seen a good few in New England and the North-west. I really like the idea as it is:
1) A great way for me to practice foreign languages
2) Good for the people who struggle with English
3) Great for Tourists!
4) Being multicultural in that sense can never really go wrong (unless translation errors - horror stories there)
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