Urdu in the ER

A visit to the hospital is disconcerting for everyone, but for the non-English speaker it can be frightening. More than 110 languages and dialects are spoken in New York City and 19% of the population speaks English poorly or not at all. At one time or another, every New Yorker ends up at one of the City’s 14 municipal hospitals, where the signage has to be clear for everyone.

MERJE developed an “Interior Signage Standards Manual for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Limited English Proficiency Program.” The manual addresses signage and provides guidelines for multi-lingual printed pieces that aid in visitor navigation.

The signage has been developed to accommodate information for up to 9 languages, depending on the neighborhood of the hospital. A color-blended, encircled lower-case “i” symbol was developed to identify areas, signage, and individuals where multilingual information is available.

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