Typical office signage includes many phrases that we’ve come to accept as standard within a work environment. Some phrases, especially those related to safety, are often translated into graphic representations to make sure they are understood by everyone regardless of any potential language barriers that may exist.
Examples might include “Fire Exit”, “High Voltage”, “No Smoking”, “Toxic Material”, “Flammable”, and “Radioactive”. We are conditioned to understand what these icons represent when we see them.
Other office signage phrases, however, don’t have a standard iconic image representation assigned to them. If the work environment plays host to multi-cultural visitors, important office signage may need to be translated into commonly used languages to ensure that the messages are heeded.
Keep in mind that if you are replacing one small sign with one that will be accommodating various translations of that phrase, the new sign will likely take up considerably more space. You may need to change the location of the existing sign to make room for the new, larger one.
One such phrase that is ubiquitous in most work environments is that of “Do Not Disturb”. The “Do Not Disturb” sign can be seen in many situations, but it generally does not have a common graphic representation. Some venues that call for a Do Not Disturb sign might include conference or meeting rooms, research labs, dark rooms, movie studios, recording studios, interview rooms, and executive offices.
If you need a multi-cultural office sign for the common phrase, “Do Not Disturb”, here are 12 translations to get you started.
English: Do not disturb
French: Ne pas déranger
Spanish: No molestar
German: Nicht stören
Dutch: Niet storen
Italian: Non disturbare
Polish: Nie przeszkadzaÄ‡
Portuguese: Não Pertube
Hungarian: Ne zavarjanak
Latin: Operor non perago
Vietnamese: Không disturb
Of course, the languages you choose for your office signs will depend heavily on the employees and visitors that frequent your site. If you aren’t sure of the most prominent languages used at your site, have all visitors and employees fill out a very short form upon arrival at the workplace for a set time period. One week is often sufficient for a poll of this sort. Once you have sufficient number of forms to analyze, you’ll be able to determine the languages into which you’ll need to translate your office signage.