In a trend I first noticed in German cars years ago, small icons are replacing written descriptions all over the interior of automobiles. Now almost all automakers use icons so they can export their cars to other countries more cheaply. There's no need to write "horn" in five languages when it's universally replaced by a picture of a bugle. But why translate the word "window" with a picture of a slab of glass that is often ambiguous? Surprisingly there are 162 icons approved by the International Organization for Standardization that can be used in automobiles. This USA Today story explores the pros and cons of going with icons.

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