Language Selection Screens - Respect


Last weekend I had an interesting experience with accidentally calling someone based on an ancestry they did not want to be called. It was not pleasant.

Today that got me thinking though. Many many games use country flags for language selection screens. After last weekend's experience I wonder if that is being disrespectful.

For example, to choose the French language you might be asked to pick the French flag. But what if you live in Quebec? Why should you have to pick France? If you are Taiwanese or Chinese Malaysian or a host of other countries why should you have to pick the Chinese flag for the Chinese language? If you are from Australia or a New Zealand why should you have to pick the American or United Kingdom Flag?

The #1 reason we do it is because it requires no words (nothing to translate), the #2 is because a screen of flags is prettier than a screen of text. Still, I know it's probably a small issue but maybe companies shouldn't be using flags for language selection since it is arguably a form of disrespect for people that don't live in those countries yet speak the language.

Automatically cutting out images in Photoshop
Designing Games for Localization