a wandering woman writes

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The English Tester

Serving as the token native English speaker in a promotion office that does most of its promoting in English brings with it certain official duties. Some, like correcting documents and responding to a constant barrage of didactic pop-ups (Select or sellect? How do I say " Estamos de fiestas" in English? Could you translate the paragraph below (already in English) into American?) have grown old.

But others I truly enjoy. Seems I am now the official English Tester for all new hires, for example. Every interview includes a few thrilling moments with yours truly, in English. And secretly, I'll confess, I enjoy it for the sweet if short shot at revenge
- OK, now let's go to MY language and see how your consonants are working today. What's the matter? Am I talking too fast? Mwuah hahahahhaha...


I've met several former English teachers who couldn't hold a conversation, nor understand a fifth of what I said. (That would be scary if I hadn't also studied alongside experienced American Spanish teachers in my beginner's immersion Spanish course.) I've tried, in vein, to convince the powers that be not to send me the Nords (Swedes, Norwegians...) because they speak better English than I do. Honestly. They may test my grammar and lose me my job. (With that last sentence, for example.)

But I think I do it well, if only because, as I describe the biggest challenge for our Client Services reps - talking on the phone with natives - I feel their pain. Intensely.

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My favorite English consult:

This frantic IM cry for help:

What does Catch 22 mean? Bego has a client in a Catch 22!

Seems a conversational young American about to confirm his reservation (I work in educational travel) but not confirming and paying up (as he fought logistic and airfare issues) had sent an email: Either way, I'm in a Catch 22. It looks like I won't be able to go.

Their guesses ranged from a quarantine for disease, to legal trouble, to some kind of a show "which must go on", to profound depression.

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2 Comments:

  • Hehe. My Greek husband speaks better English than I do. I really think I'm getting so confused, hearing and seeing Greek all the time, watching Israeli, Turkish, Romanian, and Dutch commercials, that all language has created a hodge podge in my head.

    By Blogger melusina, at 8:40 PM  

  • You crack me up - you and your evil laugh - keep rolling those rrrr's.

    By Anonymous Terri, at 11:41 PM  

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