Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Do we have multi-lingual warning signs when beaches need to be closed?

by Larry Geller

Waikiki Beach was closed due to sewage in the water. Yet people were observed to be swimming in the muck. At least one foreign-language news website has noted this again this time:

Beach ClosedThe beach is located prohibiting signs from the speakers hear warning, but despite this many tourists continue to swim and go out of the water. The point here is, perhaps, the language barrier.

"English-speaking holidaymakers appear to have an understanding - said the tourist from Vancouver. - But the tourists who do not speak in English, are unsure of what is going on, and even children are in the water. "

[, Пляж Вайкики в Гонолулу: купаться запрещено!, 8/26/2015]

I didn’t go down to Waikiki Beach this time, but in the past, I’ve seen only English-language warning signs.

There have been the occasional overseas articles on the subject, picking up the news from the Star-Advertiser or the AP.

A shorter story posted by Kyodo does not indicate that Japanese tourists experienced a language problem—perhaps the hotels informed them of the beach closure.

You’d think we could do better. Back home (wherever that is), articles like this give a poor impression of Hawaii. Multi-lingual signage seems like a natural and easy thing we could and should do.


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