Geekspeak: July 2, 2001

Multilingual interfaces pose muchos problemas

When I saw this sign, I wondered if overenthusiastic translation had turned the English "My Mobil" to the Spanish "Mi Mobil"—ignoring the fixed association of letters and numbers on keypads.

It turns out that punching "Mi Mobil" gets you Spanish-language service, a nice touch—but this sign points up other problems of user-interface translation. Is there any language other than English that can accurately express the invitation, "Enroll online"? (And should customers really be addressed in the informal imperative?)

Las mentes investigando desean saber. (For those who dont speak Spanish, look below for the translation.)

Translation: Inquiring minds want to know.