Friday, December 29, 2006

English: The Endangered Language

I'm praying for patience. Lots of it.

I was raised in a Spanish-speaking home by my grandparents who couldn't speak a lick of English. I love my culture, and I've always thought I enjoy the best of both worlds. I worked for one of Mexico City's largest daily newspapers as well as several papers in the United States. I'm glad I'm bilingual.

BUT. English should be the national language in this country. I've had a frustrating day dealing with tech support for the company that will host our new Web site, and I'm mighty exhausted. Not only should English be our national language, but it should be illegal for U.S. companies to outsource their tech support to other countries. By this time, we've all had a taste of trying to resolve a problem with someone in India or the Philippines.

We don't just bend over backwards in the United States to accomodate the speakers of other languages, we contort ourselves like pretzels trying to appease them. Who else does that? I've lived in Mexico, and I assure you that they don't. Their signs, official documents, etc. are all in Spanish, and if you have to go to court and don't speak their language, you're out of luck. They're not going to provide you with a translator as we do.

We're doing everything we can to make it easier for the immigrants while we make it more difficult for Americans. It's insane. And while I know it's not the same issue and U.S. companies are free to take their business anywhere, I would desperately like to discuss my technical problems with someone I can understand. After spending about five hours with tech support in the Philippines, I finally told the last guy I dealt with that I wanted to speak to someone in the United States. He told me the only people I could speak with in my own country would be the billing department. Oh, sure. That makes sense. The company doesn't care about the service I'm getting so they send my calls to another country. But if I want to talk about money, they're all ears. Geez.

I know I've fused two issues here, but they share a root. We keep engaging in practices that make it difficult for Americans to live and do business in our own country. So ... make English the national language and tell every company you deal with that you object to their customer support being directed to a Third World nation.

I'm glad I can speak Spanish, but I don't believe that I should have to use it to conduct business in the United States. And I don't believe that I should have to try to decipher what a customer service agent in another country is trying to tell me as he reads from a manual a litany of possible solutions to my problem.

I'm in America. Speak English.

Oh, we are working on our Web site, and I wanted to put up a simple paragraph that explains what we're doing. I finally figured out what the problem was, withouth the Philippino help. When De'on and I decided to launch a Web site for Gunz Up, I thought this hosting service would be an easy one. Yeah, sure. That's like looking at Mt. Everest and saying, "Oh, we can scale this one, no problem." The problem was that I couldn't log on to their FTP site. Each time I called tech support, I got a different solution. None of them worked. I had to figure it out on my own. I can now log on, so I shouldn't have any problem launching our Web site once it's finished next week.

It's been years since I've fiddled with HTML, but it's coming back to me. They've made advancements, of course, but they're good ones. I just have to build the site so that De'on can post without having to get a degree in HTML.

I'm sure no one cares about any of my complaints (!) but I feel better now after venting. Now back to the salt mines.

5 comments:

De'on Miller said...

You're scaring me.

I haven't recovered from destroying and rebuilding our blog.

And I savvy your complaint.

Lisa said...

Its good to get the cob webs cleaned out. I'm sure you are doing a fantastic job. I'm so behind in the tech world. I told Roy just tell me what things are worth, then if he leaves this earth before me I can at least sell it.

Steve Ramos said...

Lisa, you're a riot! That's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

You should try coping Steve with a hearing problem,talking to a computer and being told press pound on the far left side..Then to be told your call did not go thru and to try again...about all I can do is post on the blog...so I'm glad to hear ( or rather read) that someone else has problems with communication...I feel less alone...Virgie Bell

Steve Ramos said...

Virgie, wouldn't it be nice if phones were answered by people again?

I remember when the phone company had an office in town, and we all knew the operators. One time, when I was in high school, I wanted to call a friend in Lubbock, and I wanted to charge it to my home phone. The operator was our next door neighbor and before she would let me make the call she said, "Steve, I'm going to call your grandmother first to see if she knows you're making this call."

Those were the days!