Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Defending and Offending Cultures

Nuray Aykin
AT&T Labs


1
Introduction

Two French Language associations file suit against Georgia Institute of Technology for presenting information only in English about the Georgia Tech's educational programs in France. The organizations claimed that this violated a 1994 French law which outlawed the use of "foreign words in any advertisement for goods and services if an approved French word could be used instead." The suit was dropped, but the Web site now has the information in French and English ( Petrovich, 1998). -- Are we still insisting on English being the only language for displaying information on the Internet?

The Office de la Langue Francaise (OLF) informed the operator in a computer store in Montreal that his Web site violates the Canadian language laws requiring the use of French. The law dictates that even the corporate logos cannot be displayed unless French translations were also displayed, with the French letters at least twice the size of the English ones ( Petrovich, 1998). -- Although the majority of the Web content is in English, is it necessary to publish multiple language Web sites for certain locales'?

Reebok names their new sneaker line 'Incubus' which means an evil spirit that lies on persons in their sleep. -- Are we naming our products properly? Are we offending some cultures?

The gesture for "O.K.!" in the United States has many meanings in different cultures. For example, in Tunisia it is a threat of murder; in Japan and Korea it can mean "money"; in Germany it is a sign for "Great!"; and in Argentina, Belgium, France, Italy, Greece it means "nothing." ( Transimage, 1998) -- How can we know all the cultural issues that can have a big impact on our design? How do we internationalize our work?

German police arrested the head of the German division of CompuServe on charges that CompuServe was trafficking in child pornography and neo-Nazi

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