Podcast | Multi-Lingual Solutions

Podcast Wayne Hunt + John Bosio


What you will learn

Symbols, multiple languages, interpretation, and print graphics all have their place in making environments that are accessible to multiple language groups. This course focuses on solutions that have worked to combine human resources, kiosks, printed materials, signs, and environments. Strategies range from single language solutions responsive to a universal audience to solutions that respond to niche demographics.

In this podcast Wayne Huntand John Bosio discuss multilingual wayfinding solutions: what works and what doesn’t, what is one around the world, how to improve, and what makes up a complete multilingual program with a focus on integrating technical support, print graphics, and signs. This talk asks and answers the question: what should we as designers focus on and what is the strategic role of the designer in the process of finding multilingual solutions?

Wayne and John talk about some of the “rules of thumb” and best practices for incorporating multiple languages into wayfinding signage including considerations about number of languages, typography, symbols, position on signage and print.


  • Multilingual solutions in healthcare, transportation, and museum facilities
  • Research surrounding multilingual solutions
  • Accessibility
  • Complications with adding more than two languages to wayfinding signage
  • Best practices for typography
  • Symbols
  • Predictability of information
  • Print graphic environment
  • Using maps to supplement multilingual information that may not work on signs
  • Consistency in communication across signage, print materials and staff scripts


Questions Answered

  • Is selecting just two languages a controversial topic? How should the selection be made?
  • Where would you see a situation where three languages on a sign becomes a necessity?
  • In terms of using four or more languages on one sign, what would be a situation in which this would make sense?
  • When developing this program, was one of the main priorities error minimization as well as consistency?
  • Are the facilities with successful maps simple or complex in layout, and how have they been successful?
  • How has the ticket system worked out?
  • What has the field response been to the ticket system?
  • Could this lead to a more real-time printing of custom tickets?
  • Is there a resource available for multilingual translation? Is there a company that specializes in this kind of field?
  • Do you think designers should be responsible for developing staff instructions about how the wayfinding system works and what language to use when guiding visitors in order to remain consistent with the wayfinding scheme? 


Course Materials

  • This course contains 1 podcast, with 1 accompanying PDF presentation.



  • Approximately 76 minutes




Presented September 14, 2006

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