Recently, this blog commented on a mistake in a parking sign at a Welsh supermarket. Another incident shows a similar situation in Wales, with a Starbucks location in Aberystwyth making a failed attempt to communicate with locals in the native tongue. It's not just the style and presentation of a sign that counts: They need to have content that has been checked for accuracy and isn't off-putting.
Even if mis-translated language in a store isn't considered offensive, it can still affect sales and public perception. According to Wales Online, signs and displays in-store feature phrases in Welsh that don't actually make sense. One local woman called them gobbledygook and the English versions of the phrases reveals awkward, unfinished sentences like "taste our coffee to most easy to drink."
This has led to a minor PR crisis in the area, with Starbucks having to mention the problem in a professional statement. The communications director of the European division of Starbucks, Simon Redfern, said that the situation will be addressed and that the company wants to keep Welsh language in its stores.
"We try to create a warm welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy and this works best when we reflect the local culture and language in our store designs," Redfern said. "We are really proud of our first dual-language menu board in Welsh and English in our Aberystwyth store."
No matter what materials you put your signs on, the imagery and language needs to be displayed correctly so customers know they can trust your business, especially if you are targeting a specific demographic of customers. Your company should invest in vinyl signs for any space that could help locals feel more at home.