Denise Goldberg's blog

Friday, February 24, 2006

Language mismatch?

I received an email from United Airlines earlier this week that I couldn't read. The title?

The from address was in English, and embedded in what to me was unreadable text was the url so I knew where the email originated.

Spam? Not this time... I did supply my email address to the airline for use in their mileage program. So instead of the annoyance I feel with spam that makes it through filters and floats across my inbox, this message was a curiosity and brought a smile to my face - especially when I received an apology email from United.

The email address I use for this type of correspondence is actually forwarded to two places - my primary email account, and my Gmail account (so I can check email from the road if I happen to be wandering on my bike). I found it interesting that the ads displayed in Gmail were also in Japanese. Interesting, but practical. I'm so used to looking at the English language in my normal character set that I never thought about the use of language as part of the targeting of ads.
Can't read the Japanese characters included above? They look like a series of empty boxes? Don't worry, you may not have the supporting character set installed on your computer.

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