Bilingual Road Signs Not Possible - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Bilingual Road Signs Not Possible

Published September 23, 2013

The controversy surrounding what language may be used on Icelandic road signs has run into another snag: bilingual signs are beyond the capabilities of the Icelandic Road Administration.
As reported, numerous tourists have ended up stranded, sometimes in grave danger, due to an inability to read signs announcing road closings and extreme weather. This more often than not results in rescue operations which can cost millions of krónur.
To remedy this, the Icelandic Road Administration (Vegagerðin) decided to make these signs in English only, as opposed to Icelandic only or both English and Icelandic. This brought objections from the Icelandic Language Committee, who contended that English-only signs violate language laws.
While many Grapevine readers have pointed that the signs could simply be bilingual, RÚV reports that this is not a possibility. Vegagerðin told reporters that bilingual signs – specifically, the signs with warning messages spelt out in light bulbs – are not an option “for technical reasons”, and that English-only signs were just a temporary solution.
Vegagerðin did say, however, that they are in contact with foreign manufacturers to be able to make bilingual road signs.


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