Ever since google changed the gmail interface, the labels on the buttons have changed from English text to some crappy symbols which have no apparent meaning. We are talking about the "Archive" "Refresh" "Delete" buttons..
They have made excuses to people like, the position has not changed or the labels have the meaning when you hover over them with the mouse, but should we have to swallow this BS just so illiterates can use their email without feeling violated?
Anyway, google has succumbed to public pressure and made a option for uses to go back the having text on buttons in the gmail online interface. The switch is easy:
In the gmail interface, click the gears icon. Then click settings.
In the General tab, you will see "Button Labels", change this to text.
Relax, and enjoy your new freedom.