An observation about language barriers



  •  For the English speaking guys here, you know how frustrating it is when you call some company's support line and get an offshore call center and you can barely understand their accent?  I recently saw this work in the other direction, and it was just kind of odd to me.  As many places do, our entire development staff is made up of Indian workers.  We have high standards so these people are all pretty good and nearly all of them are quite understandable to talk to.  But we have one DBA with such a thick accent that even after working here over a year I have trouble understanding a thing he says.  I recently had to call a vendor's tech support and got someone who sounded like an American citizen.  Since I'm a BA, when we had to call them again for more database details, we asked the DBA to call.  

    I didn't hear anything about the results of that call, but in a conversation between the dev lead and the manager last week the topic of calling that vendor for support came up.  The dev lead said that they weren't very helpful because the last time Sreekanth called he couldn't get any answers.  The interesting (and disturbing) part was that the manager just shrugged it off like "oh, crappy vendor support, bummer".  



  • How sad.  On my previous program it seemed like it was a requirement for DBAs that they spoke a second language (bonus points if English was the second langauge).  Luckily all of them spoke English good.


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    @jetcitywoman said:

    We have high standards so these people are all pretty good and nearly all of them are quite understandable to talk to.
    You have no idea how lucky you are.



  • @Anketam said:

    spoke English good.
     

    ...

    Could some one please tell me if that roaring sound over my head was the joke or just a meteorite?

     



  • @jetcitywoman said:

    For the English speaking guys here, you know how frustrating it is when you call some company's support line and get an offshore call center and you can barely understand their accent?
    I don't need to talk to an offshore call center to have that problem. I am a native English speaker, just not American English, (and not Indian English either). Many times I have been stymied in my endeavours when speaking to Americans because they haven't understood what I said. And at times I have actually needed my (American) wife translate English-to-English for me.



  • @Anketam said:

    How sad.  On my previous program it seemed like it was a requirement for DBAs that they spoke a second language (bonus points if English was the second langauge).  Luckily all of them spoke English good.

    And by "spoke English good well" you mean "in an accent understandable by other people sharing the same native language".

     



  • @Zecc said:

    And by "spoke English good well" you mean "in an accent understandable by other people sharing the same native language".
     

    I'd also add accuracy, literacy and conciseness as required attributes.

    Conversation becomes pointless if all I'm hearing is utter waffle in a crystal-clear accent.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @jetcitywoman said:
    For the English speaking guys here, you know how frustrating it is when you call some company's support line and get an offshore call center and you can barely understand their accent?
    I don't need to talk to an offshore call center to have that problem. I am a native English speaker, just not American English, (and not Indian English either). Many times I have been stymied in my endeavours when speaking to Americans because they haven't understood what I said. And at times I have actually needed my (American) wife translate English-to-English for me.
    In case the wife isn't available: http://www.translatebritish.com/index.php



  • Always opt for the online chat method instead of a phone call. It's a lot harder to type with an accent.



  • @Rick said:

    In case the wife isn't available: http://www.translatebritish.com/index.php
    Struth mate, ya tryin to get me aggro? I may not have been home for yonks but I ain't no flippin' pommie bastard. So shut your cakehole and use your loaf before tryin' to come the raw prawn with me again sonny jim fella me mate.

    But has bush week come early or something? Fair dinkum its the only reason I think of that a drongo like you wants to start a blue. But I ain't no mug. I've got a bonza arvo lined up - plenty of hard yakka lined up with a stubby or 2 (and if you could get some 'round here - all while wearing my stubbies) that I picked up from the local servo. And the weekend's going to be a rip snorter as well!

    So get stuffed, rack off and don't be such a yobbo (although bogan may be more descriptive for ya)



  • @taustin said:

    It's a lot harder to type with an accent.

    It seems you've never had an email conversation with a mainframe programmer...


    (You know when school teachers randomly switch between cursive and manuscript in handwritten comments? And it makes it all just a jumble of scratch marks and loops? It's like that.)



  • @Zecc said:

    @Anketam said:

    How sad.  On my previous program it seemed like it was a requirement for DBAs that they spoke a second language (bonus points if English was the second langauge).  Luckily all of them spoke English good.

    And by "spoke English good well" you mean "in an accent understandable by other people sharing the same native language".

    Nope I meant that in this case it was their trouble with grammar that hurt more than their accent.  Luckily they wrote good code.



  • @OzPeter said:

    Many times I have been stymied in my endeavours when speaking to Americans because they haven't understood what I said. And at times I have actually needed my (American) wife translate English-to-English for me.

    I seem to recall that the Chasers did a sketch about that...

    @Xyro said:

    You know when school teachers randomly switch between cursive and manuscript in handwritten comments?

    Can you translate that into English (en-gb)? I understand the en-us word "cursive" to mean "handwriting", and etymologically "manuscript" is to do with writing by hand, but you appear to be drawing some kind of distinction.



  • @pjt33 said:

    @Xyro said:
    You know when school teachers randomly switch between cursive and manuscript in handwritten comments?
    Can you translate that into English (en-gb)? I understand the en-us word "cursive" to mean "handwriting", and etymologically "manuscript" is to do with writing by hand, but you appear to be drawing some kind of distinction.

    Not sure of the terms you would use for them, but cursive would be the style of writing where letters connect to one another where as manuscript (more commonly called "print") is the style that kids first learn where each letter is written as it's own distinct symbol (not connected to other letters in the same word).



  • @OzPeter said:

    Struth mate, ya tryin to get me aggro?
     

    whoaaa it's like I just ended up in a Streets rap song.



  • @locallunatic said:

    Not sure of the terms you would use for them, but cursive would be the style of writing where letters connect to one another where as manuscript (more commonly called "print") is the style that kids first learn where each letter is written as it's own distinct symbol (not connected to other letters in the same word).


    Thanks. The terms I would use are "joined-up" and, probably, some cognate of "print". (I'm not sure that I've ever wanted to use a standalone adjective to describe non-joined-up handwriting, but the verb for writing like that is definitely "print").



  • @pjt33 said:

    Thanks. The terms I would use are "joined-up" and, probably, some cognate of "print". (I'm not sure that I've ever wanted to use a standalone adjective to describe non-joined-up handwriting, but the verb for writing like that is definitely "print").

    Internally I name them "loopy" and "scratchy".

    According to my Google search, [url=https://www.google.com/search?q=define:cursive]cursive[/url] is "Written with the characters joined," as well as "adj., sort of cursing, i.e., 'Oh, fiddlesticks,' or 'H-E-double toothpicks.'" I was unaware of the latter.



  • @Xyro said:

    or 'H-E-double toothpicks.'

    Here in Canada, we say H-E-double hockeysticks...

    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/VMC0Y.png[/IMG]



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @Xyro said:

    or 'H-E-double toothpicks.'

    Here in Canada, we say H-E-double hockeysticks...


    Well, yeah.  Everything in Canada has to do with hockey, even after you die.

    You know how to spell Canada, right?  It's "C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?"

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    You know how to spell Canada, right?  It's "C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?"

    Ladies and Gentleman! Da Doctah brings to you... the World's Oldest Joke!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @da Doctah said:
    You know how to spell Canada, right?  It's "C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?"

    Ladies and Gentleman! Da Doctah brings to you... the World's Oldest Joke!

    I hadn't heard it before. I guess I'm not old enough.



  • Agreed. For me, however, the worst accent I've ever had to deal with was English - specifically Lancashire. :-)



  • @OzPeter said:

    Struth mate, ya tryin to get me aggro? I may not have been home for yonks but I ain't no flippin' pommie bastard. So shut your cakehole and use your loaf before tryin' to come the raw prawn with me again sonny jim fella me mate.

    But has bush week come early or something? Fair dinkum its the only reason I think of that a drongo like you wants to start a blue. But I ain't no mug. I've got a bonza arvo lined up - plenty of hard yakka lined up with a stubby or 2 (and if you could get some 'round here - all while wearing my stubbies) that I picked up from the local servo. And the weekend's going to be a rip snorter as well!

    So get stuffed, rack off and don't be such a yobbo (although bogan may be more descriptive for ya)
    Oh, bugger, we've got ourselves another bushwacker. Now we're stuffed.



  • @Zecc said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @da Doctah said:
    You know how to spell Canada, right?  It's "C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?"

    Ladies and Gentleman! Da Doctah brings to you... the World's Oldest Joke!

    I hadn't heard it before. I guess I'm not old enough.

    The person I heard it from was Miss Canada.  Which, given that the Miss Canada pageant hasn't been held since 1992, means that the joke is probably older than at least a quarter of the people reading this forum.

     



  •  We had a colleague for a while who was a former Miss Maltese Islands. The woman was not exactly ugly.



  • @Severity One said:

    Oh, bugger, we've got ourselves another bushwacker. Now we're stuffed.
     

    I don't know about you, but I'm chuffed to bits!



  • @Severity One said:

    We had a colleague for a while who was a former Miss Maltese Islands. The woman was not exactly ugly.

    Just approximately ugly?



  • @boomzilla said:

    @Severity One said:
    We had a colleague for a while who was a former Miss Maltese Islands. The woman was not exactly ugly.

    Just approximately ugly?

     

    It's hard to aim for ugly precisely; there's wind, hand steadiness, and you have to lead the target.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Severity One said:

    Oh, bugger, we've got ourselves another bushwacker. Now we're stuffed.
     

    I don't know about you, but I'm chuffed to bits!

    We seeing as you could probably see England from your house, being chuffed is just probably an empathetic response to your neighbors. Maybe you should have said you were "chuffed to brits" instead?



  • @Severity One said:

    Oh, bugger, we've got ourselves another bushwacker. Now we're stuffed.
    Hmm .. which one of these do you think I am?

    Bushwackers Drum and bugle corp

    Bushwackers WWF wrestlers (thank god they're bloody Kiwis!!)

    Bushwackers band</a.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @jetcitywoman said:
    For the English speaking guys here, you know how frustrating it is when you call some company's support line and get an offshore call center and you can barely understand their accent?
    I don't need to talk to an offshore call center to have that problem. I am a native English speaker, just not American English, (and not Indian English either). Many times I have been stymied in my endeavours when speaking to Americans because they haven't understood what I said. And at times I have actually needed my (American) wife translate English-to-English for me.

    Scottish? A Scotsman with a thick accent is impossible for me to understand; and I like to think my English is near-native...



  • @toon said:

    Scottish? A Scotsman with a thick accent is impossible for me to understand; and I like to think my English is near-native...

    No true Scotsman is intelligible.



  • @toon said:

    Scottish?

    Yeah, toon. A guy called OzPeter is obviously Scottish; duh. Sorry...



  • @OzPeter said:

    We seeing as you could probably see England from your house,
     

    Your sense of scale feels a little lacking.



  • @dhromed said:

    @OzPeter said:

    We seeing as you could probably see England from your house,
     

    Your sense of scale feels a little lacking.

    It was a riff on Mrs Palin of American politics fame



  • @OzPeter said:

    @dhromed said:
    @OzPeter said:
    We seeing as you could probably see England from your house,

    Your sense of scale feels a little lacking.

    It was a riff on a Saturday Night Live skit about Mrs Palin of American politics fame

    FTFY



  • @dhromed said:

    @OzPeter said:
    We seeing as you could probably see England from your house,
    Your sense of scale feels a little lacking.

    Just means he owns a TV.



  • @Xyro said:

    @taustin said:
    It's a lot harder to type with an accent.

    It seems you've never had an email conversation with a mainframe programmer...

    You do have to have a common language, and being of the same species helps.



  •  I worked in an environment with developers from northern India, southern India, Pakistan, Ukraine, China, the Philippines, Brooklyn, Georgia, and Central Pennsylvania.  (Yes, two of us grew up in rural PA and have a PA Dutch dialect.)  While there were minor language barriers, I was amazed at how well everyone communicated.  With all of the different accents, we still had a good understanding of what everyone wanted.  The only person whom everyone had trouble understanding?  The one who spoke Ebonics.  She absolutely refused to speak the same version of English that everyone else had tacitly agreed upon because it was discriminatory against her.

     

    Just for the record, she's the only person who happens to be black that I've ever had trouble with in the programming world.  Then again, she was black, female, and a Jehovah's Witness; any time that anyone disagreed with her, she claimed it was discrimination due to one of the aforementioned causes...

     


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election



  • @Jayman said:

     I worked in an environment with developers from northern India, southern India, Pakistan, Ukraine, China, the Philippines, Brooklyn, Georgia, and Central Pennsylvania.  (Yes, two of us grew up in rural PA and have a PA Dutch dialect.)  While there were minor language barriers, I was amazed at how well everyone communicated.  With all of the different accents, we still had a good understanding of what everyone wanted.  The only person whom everyone had trouble understanding?  The one who spoke Ebonics.  She absolutely refused to speak the same version of English that everyone else had tacitly agreed upon because it was discriminatory against her.

    Just for the record, she's the only person who happens to be black that I've ever had trouble with in the programming world.  Then again, she was black, female, and a Jehovah's Witness; any time that anyone disagreed with her, she claimed it was discrimination due to one of the aforementioned causes...

    And to avoid any stereotyping of black female Jehovah's Witnesses, I can say that I had one as a coworker and she was a wonderful coworker, even had a few fun discussions on matters of faith.  The ebonics thing remind me of something I once said to a fellow student (we were good friends) in geometry/trig class.  I was explaining to him some complex trig thing and he said: "Boy! I dont understand what the hell you are saying."  I then in a slightly frustrated voice explained: "I am sorry, but I cannot translate this into ebonics."  At which point (fortunately) him, and two other students close by started laughing.



  • @Jayman said:

    (Yes, two of us grew up in rural PA and have a PA Dutch dialect.)

    Brother! Leave us throw the both over here a harvest party once!



  • @Anketam said:

    @Jayman said:

     I worked in an environment with developers from northern India, southern India, Pakistan, Ukraine, China, the Philippines, Brooklyn, Georgia, and Central Pennsylvania.  (Yes, two of us grew up in rural PA and have a PA Dutch dialect.)  While there were minor language barriers, I was amazed at how well everyone communicated.  With all of the different accents, we still had a good understanding of what everyone wanted.  The only person whom everyone had trouble understanding?  The one who spoke Ebonics.  She absolutely refused to speak the same version of English that everyone else had tacitly agreed upon because it was discriminatory against her.

    Just for the record, she's the only person who happens to be black that I've ever had trouble with in the programming world.  Then again, she was black, female, and a Jehovah's Witness; any time that anyone disagreed with her, she claimed it was discrimination due to one of the aforementioned causes...

    And to avoid any stereotyping of black female Jehovah's Witnesses, I can say that I had one as a coworker and she was a wonderful coworker, even had a few fun discussions on matters of faith.  The ebonics thing remind me of something I once said to a fellow student (we were good friends) in geometry/trig class.  I was explaining to him some complex trig thing and he said: "Boy! I dont understand what the hell you are saying."  I then in a slightly frustrated voice explained: "I am sorry, but I cannot translate this into ebonics."  At which point (fortunately) him, and two other students close by started laughing.

     

    Agreed.  It just happened that the person with a victim complex fell into all three of those categories in this one particular instance.

    @Xyro said:

    @Jayman said:
    (Yes, two of us grew up in rural PA and have a PA Dutch dialect.)
    Brother! Leave us throw the both over here a harvest party once!
     

    Now that's language I can understand!  I've managed to train myself out of most of the dialect when in the business world, but I still get funny looks when I say that something is all.  (For those of you not in the know, "the soap is all" means that there is no soap left.)  I also cannot get the hang of the "to be" language form.  (i.e. the car needs washed, the lawn needs mowed, etc.)  Outside of that, I have mostly eliminated my dialect just to make sure that I am clearly understood when working with people who are not from my area.   Just professional courtesy.

    One note - I'm on the "awhile" side, not the "once" side.

     



  • @Jayman said:

    I also cannot get the hang of the "to be" language form.  (i.e. the car needs washed, the lawn needs mowed, etc.)

    It wonders me how that's even wrong!! Everyone else just needs educated.



  • @Xyro said:

    @Jayman said:
    I also cannot get the hang of the "to be" language form.  (i.e. the car needs washed, the lawn needs mowed, etc.)

    It wonders me how that's even wrong!! Everyone else just needs educated.

    Duh...clearly he meant, "the car needs washing," "the lawn needs mowing," etc.


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    @Xyro said:

    Filed under: s/\bto be\b//g

    or not, that is the question.



  • @Jayman said:

    Then again, she was black, female, and a Jehovah's Witness; any time that anyone disagreed with her, she claimed it was discrimination due to one of the aforementioned causes...
    That's discrimination against persecutory-delusioned people!



  • @Jayman said:

    she was black, female, and a Jehovah's Witness

    This reminds me of a recent Mark Steyn quote:
    @Mark Steyn said:
    If I understand correctly the cumulative vision of [Obama's speech before the UN], the future will belong to gay feminist ecumenical Muslims.



  • @Jayman said:

    Now that's language I can understand!  I've managed to train myself out of most of the dialect when in the business world, but I still get funny looks when I say that something is all.  (For those of you not in the know, "the soap is all" means that there is no soap left.)

    That's interesting. Some German dialects do the same. "Die Seife ist alle!" instead of "Die Seife ist leer!".



  • @Juifeng said:

    @Jayman said:
    Now that's language I can understand!  I've managed to train myself out of most of the dialect when in the business world, but I still get funny looks when I say that something is all.  (For those of you not in the know, "the soap is all" means that there is no soap left.)

    That's interesting. Some German dialects do the same. "Die Seife ist alle!" instead of "Die Seife ist leer!".

    That's interesting (and not surprising) since Pennsylvania Dutch is actually German.


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