Tuesday, August 15, 2006

foreigners in jobs who can't speak clear English


A while back I blogged about telemarketer who rang me at tea time to try to get some money out of me. She sounded like she was ringing from a call centre in Beijing but assured me - in very broken English - it was somewhere in Auckland.

I got another such a call last night - from a hospital. She wanted to speak to my partner about a relative in hospital - let's just say she's called Susan Bloggs. The call went like this.

" Heylo is Mrs Suzzzin there" (never mind she should be asking for Mrs Bloggs, and the name is Susan). I explained we didnt have a Mrs Suzzzin, and asked if she had the right number. She wasn't sure, she thought she did. I asked her where she was ringing from she said "from hospital". I had no idea which hospital or who she was. She asked a number of intelligible questions rather quickly and then I asked her to repeat the question so I could understand her. She said " Yoo no like my Inglish"? I put phone down get someone".

She put the receiver down - on the phone! Just as well it wasn't a life-threatening call, as I later found out.

With people like this employed in such positions, no wonder our employment participation rate is up. Is the increase in the workplace participation rate fuelled by immigrants who should be getting basic English tutoring prior to getting employment in customer service?

1 comment:

Nizam Bashir said...

Its either that or stop the brain drain out from New Zealand. At least that was the impression I got when I heard Bernard Banks (Partner at Kiely Thompson Caisley) who was relating the 'New Zealand experience' on the issue of migrant workers in a a recent conference I attended.