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Thread: Another sign question- signs in other languages?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    Another sign question- signs in other languages?

    I'm sure this sounds strange, but I'm curious. Do you have a policy, formal or informal, for dealing with signs in languages other than English? I can translate a good amount of Spanish, my boss speaks fluent French, but we're seeing an increase in Asian-owned business and related signage. I have no plans or goals to not allow them, but what if you have no idea what they say? Do you permit them on faith? Ask them to translate and sign their application on that basis?

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Seems like a content issue and everywhere I've ever worked has stayed well clear of regulating content. I suppose there could be questions asked if there was profanity on the sign, but I guess I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Seems like a content issue and everywhere I've ever worked has stayed well clear of regulating content. I suppose there could be questions asked if there was profanity on the sign, but I guess I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.
    Seconded. If there's anything of concern about the business being different than what they've represented on applications (some type of business not allowed in the zone, for example) then I think you have to just figure that out with site visits. It's content regardless.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  4. #4
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    I say you're well within your right in requesting a translation at the very least. Plus you get to kill two birds with one stone by learning a language at the same time!
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    This is the United States and English is the official language. Anything else should be banned. Well, at least that's what they would say in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and a few other states....

    I agree with the others that most content-based wording, regardless of language, cannot be prohibited. You are entitled to a translation to ensure that there is nothing inappropriate. Makes me think it is something to put into the ordinance.
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  6. #6
    Still. be careful. Requiring a translation might seem innocuous and in some places it will pass unnoticed. But in others, it may spark a controversy. And you better ask for a translation for every non-English sign. That means Italian restaurants and hair salons with French names. Or else you will rightly be accused of discrimination.

    As I thought about this more:

    Don't do it. Maybe in Arizona and a few other places you would be fine. In a lot of jurisdictions, this would cause controversy. In some places, there would be protests and you and your boss would lose their jobs. I would join these protests. Some only English speaker is complaining about non-English signs so you are going after the Asian and Spanish signs? Looks good in the paper, doesn't it?
    Last edited by Gotta Speakup; 26 Apr 2011 at 8:15 AM.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Don't do it. Maybe in Arizona and a few other places you would be fine. In a lot of jurisdictions, this would cause controversy. In some places, there would be protests and you and your boss would lose their jobs. I would join these protests. Some only English speaker is complaining about non-English signs so you are going after the Asian and Spanish signs? Looks good in the paper, doesn't it?
    I have to respectfully disagree. Honestly, how hard is it for someone to translate a sign? The only controversy I could imagine would occur if the sign wasn't approved, and the only way this would happen would be if the sign said something inappropriate.

    Note: I don't mean to say the sign itself must include a translation, rather a translation could be asked as part of the application.
    Last edited by HomerJ; 26 Apr 2011 at 10:40 AM.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  8. #8
    Of course its not difficult to translate.

    But there are discrimination issues. Are you going to ask it for every language? Or just some. You will have to keep records that you asked everyone, or you can be sued for discrimination. There are laws against discriminating against people of different national origins. What happens if you end up asking for translations of people's last names if they are Chinese, but not in Italian?

    There are practical issues. Will you make Chipolte Grill translate chipolte? Sony? How about Spanish place names such as San Francisco?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
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    I hear what you're saying, and that's a perfectly reasonable argument. But I would still want to know what the sign is going to say rather than just leave it to good faith. With Chipotle, Sony, etc. that's a company name and I'm not sure if that applies to the sign Pink Planner is dealing with. I think the distinction between what type of sign might be a factor in how concerned I would be over wanting a translation. Perhaps it is something that doesn't need to be recorded on an application, but it is something I would want to clarify even if only verbally.
    Last edited by HomerJ; 26 Apr 2011 at 11:46 AM.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

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