Print Story A Day in the Life

$GiantFirm is angry.

You say you are responding to all tickets within 24 hours. Why did you take five days to answer ours?!?!

Well, Dieter, perhaps it's because no one understood your fucking ticket. If you'd submitted it in English, some monkey somewhere in the world could've picked it up. Instead it sat waiting for some schmuck (yours truly, natch) to translate it.

x-posted to bog spot

And after I'd translated it none of the other monkeys picked it up because they figured even if they responded in English you'd come back to them in your own language and turn what started out as a PITA ticket into a full-blown nightmare with melting landscapes, tall buildings and hungry clowns. We've had it happen many times before.

Every couple of weeks we get a ticket submitted in French, German, Portuguese. We've also had them in Dutch, Swedish, and other less-popular languages. About five years ago we got one in Czech. That was fun.

We make it clear to every customer that support is done in English. This often means mangled English, and I don't mean screwing up they're/there/their or lose/loose like so many supposed native speakers do. We get quite a lot of Googlefish translations (popular in France and Germany) which we'll often have to reverse-translate to understand and then get a colleague to properly translate for us.

We also occasionally get the word-for-word dictionary translations so that the entire content is incorrect English words in using some other language's grammar. This can be amusing for some but for most it's just frustrating and annoying.

This means that we have to write the answers in such a way that when the customer heads back to Googlefish to translate our answers, they remain clear, something rather hard to judge if you don't know the language yourself.

Once in a while we get a ticket from a guy who's either on so many drug he makes Keith Richards look like a sober schoolgirl or he's been up for four days straight and the full hallucinations have kicked in, something like this:

In giving to you the question of the manage to be system, where comes flowering and that it is seen as otherwise. Given to send, she waits rather and our doing is none.
Pure poetry.

I more than understand language barriers and am often on the other side, but the requirement for communications through our support system is the use of English or something at least closely resembling it. If you can't be bothered to get one of your English-speaking colleagues (for example, that colleague of yours we actually trained... in English), you can wait a week for someone who speaks that language to get around to it.

You fuckwit.

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A Day in the Life | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)
racist (nt) by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:52:28 AM EST

Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
Don't go stealing TPS12's shtick by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:02:57 AM EST
The complaint came in today from a Kraut who's at least as white as me. I ended up taking the damned ticket. Turns out it was a Root Cause 17 for reasons having nothing to do with the language used.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
Are you sure that's not spam? by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:19:01 AM EST

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

My favourite support ticket: by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:27:09 AM EST
"In approaching the database, to be is it necessary before to salute with API, then make work, then dismiss with API?"

We sent him the source code to a sample project.

That's easy by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:22:03 AM EST
"When connecting to the DB, is it necessary to access through the API, then run the command(s), then close via the API?"

Looks like a Portuguese-speaking customer. I do a lot of this.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
Oh yes. by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:05:43 AM EST
It was just the strange beauty of the English language on the torture rack.

[ Parent ]
He's quite right by komet (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:33:47 AM EST
you should have immediately closed his ticket stating "all tickets must be submitted in English". Anyone who doesn't show their customers some tough love gets what they deserve.

<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
generally SLA still guarantees support by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Jun 23, 2006 at 03:57:18 AM EST
But, as always, depends on the contract and how 'happy' you want the customers.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
love reverse-translation exercises and such by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:36:55 AM EST

submitted by a student:
      Ich spiele gern Stange Tresor.

We're fortunate by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:47:56 AM EST
most of our reps in furrin lands speak or write English, so all the problem statements coming in have already been translated.

I do have beefs with those furriners though, I recall one weekend day on the hotline when a customer in Germany called me, he needed driver help, but the local reps were all off (by law or something silly) until Monday.

Don't make me break out my by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:58:45 AM EST
Training Tales from Saudi Arabia!

And then I'd have to hand out all the Islam: The One True Religion books I received to all y'all heathens too.

Heh by hulver (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:04:17 AM EST
So you had to grow facial hair before they'd listen to you right?
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
I never said they listened. by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:13:25 AM EST
The facial hair was for street cred. You know, kind of like talking with that funny accent when in England...

My favorite question (which I got many, many times) about halfway through a two hour interactive, hands on the system class: Somebody would raise their hand and say. "This laptop. Is good yes? How much cost? I take one for home yes?"

[ Parent ]
I know this one by The Fool (4.00 / 5) #12 Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:13:02 AM EST

In response to:

In giving to you the question of the manage to be system, where comes flowering and that it is seen as otherwise. Given to send, she waits rather and our doing is none.

I offer the solution:

With happiness she proceeds when deflowered the wall of fire may be.

"Keyless bitter lemon juice" by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:20:13 AM EST
We never did figure out what that section heading was meant to mean.  I'll always wonder.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
A Day in the Life | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)