Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Signs in the US Only in English?

In a country that calls itself a melting pot of cultures, is it necessary for an area that celebrates a culture to have all-English signage?  Should it be a requirement of any foreign business in the US that its signs must be in English?  That is a topic up for debate in New York, where large amounts of Asian businesses flourish.  For example, Queens is rich in Asian culture and business.  More than 120 different languages are spoken in this area alone, and business owners aren't sure they want to convert to English-only signage given their customers. Some of their customers speak little to no English, so they frequent Asian businesses for comfort and convenience.

What do you think?  Even though the official language of the US is English, should all signs in the States be in English?  Or are cultural areas encompassing different regions of the world justified in keeping their original signs?


  1. I think signs being in both English and the other language of choice is totally appropriate. As a product of the US, I can understand why this would be a subject up for debate.
    But... I know that when I see a sign in a country that I am visiting, in which English is not national language, I feel much more comfortable being there and would most likely go back again.

  2. It's definitely a comfort thing, for sure. I am happy when I see things in English in Korea but I know I can't expect it to all be that way.

    If those businesses were allowed to keep their traditional signs but also had a lesser version of English signage, perhaps that could work.


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