Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Example of the Wet Floor Sign

Wet Floor!
The Spanish text on a janitorial sign, "Cuidado piso mojado," rhymes elegantly. However, the English version "Caution: Wet Floor" preserves neither the rhyme nor the rhythm. Why should one linguistic cohort enjoy tightly crafted service messages, while English-speakers have to make do with flat, literal admonitions?

Editor Matthew Kelsey suggests as an alternative: "Caution, we're washin'."

The moral of the story: don't be afraid to ask if it could be done better.

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