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Laos Minister Frets Over ‘Too Many Foreign Language Signs’ In Capital

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Vientiane still has many advertising hoardings written in foreign languages and authorities need to work harder to address the issue, Laos’ Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Bouangeun Xaphouvong said last week at a meeting to mark Constitution Day.

“The signs also feature Lao language underneath the foreign language, but we almost can’t see the writing as the letters are very small,” he said.

All signboards are legally required to feature Lao language predominantly, on top and in the most prominent position, with any foreign language displayed underneath in a smaller size.

A Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism’s official has said she advised district authorities to ensure the regulations were being followed, but nothing seems to be happening.

Vientiane is one of many areas in the country where foreign languages are prominently featured.

Unfortunately, signboards that do carry some Lao language often show words misspelled.

An official of the Vientiane Commerce and Industry Department, who asked not to be named, said on Friday that people could register their business signboards at the department or district’s Department of Commerce and Industry.

After registration they need to bring their advertisement designs to the Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Department to check for compliance with regulations before the signs can be erected at shops, restaurants, hotels, clinics and other businesses. She said she had even helped her brother to bring his advertising sign to be checked with the Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Department, but some officials told her that it wasn’t required.

The only requirement was that the sign had to be erected on the business’ premises and not on public land.

Because there is no need to take signs to the department to be checked, many advertising signs used foreign languages or smaller-sized Lao fonts than the foreign language these days, she added.

Based on the Vientiane Information, Culture and Tourism Department, smaller businesses such as noodle restaurants fall under the village authority’s jurisdiction.

District authorities are responsible for medium-sized businesses, while large shops and restaurants are the responsibility of the Vientiane authority.

Often shops fail to follow the advertising regulations but this is possibly due to authorities not being properly aware of the rules and the complexity of the registration process.

Source: Vientiane Times