23. That’s the number of languages in the instruction manual that came along with my toaster and hairdryer. 4 of the 43 pages were intelligible to me – 2 in German and another 2 in English. And I am probably never going to reread those 2 pages on how my toaster works.
We live in multilingual world. But surely there’s no need for a product I bought in Germany to have a manual written in Chinese and Arabic – someone living here speaks/understands either German or English. Maybe companies don’t want to have to deal with having different manuals printed for different regions. Would it take a big effort for the companies to change this? Probably. Is worth the effort? Definitely. And in the end, they’ll stand to gain from it – by saving costs on paper, printing as well as by shipping lighter weights.
So, is it laziness on the part of corporations or regulatory bureaucracy that is resulting in wastage of paper, printing and shipping energy? I am not sure. What I am sure of, though, is that it needs to be changed.