License to Translate

Until I moved to Virginia in the ’90s, I was blissfully unaware of just how many vanity plates or personalized license plates there were. The Commonwealth of Virginia seemed to teem with vanity plates, from the infamous H2OG8 of Gordon Liddy to this one on the left, which cleverly uses text already printed on a special license plate. In preparation for this post, I found out that Virginia indeed has the highest U.S. vanity plate penetration rate with 16.19% in 2007.

In the translator community, there are colleagues who advertise their profession or language on their license plates. I have started to collect photos of such plates, and if you have a personalized plate that fits this collection or know of someone who does, please contact the webmaster so that we can expand this gallery.

Below is the first round of license plates. Note that states may have different rules about selecting numbers and characters. My thanks to the owners who made the photos available. You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger version of the photo.