Call Center moving



#36

HP call center is moving from India to China due to American customers complaints about the fact that Indians don't speak a very good English.


#37

Whoever complained has not read HP manuals printed (and written) in China.

I don't know who is writing manuals at HP, but language use and quality are poor. The writers' native language is certainly not English. Chinese maybe. Grammar errors are frequent, and it is necessary to read twice to figure out what the author(s) is(are) trying to say. And that not to mention the lack of examples.

The good manuals HP used to provide are gone.

First were manuals, now call centers. Nonsense.


#38

I have to wonder how moving from India to China actually remedies the complaints about the help service people not speaking English well.


#39

I believe English has been used as a official language within India since colonial times, from which a strong dialect has emerged. Conversely the Chinese have to learn English elocution afresh, without established habits.

In my experience Chinese spoken English is a lot closer to International English ( other than the dropping of 'L's which seems to be a tone perception problem common to both Chinese and Japanese).

Annoyingly the Indian help desks I deal with, frequently insist on replying to e-mails by phone, causing me much listening stress while I attempt to tune into the accent.


#40

For spoken English I find the accents of some regions of the U.S.A. (and even England itself!) very difficult to understand.

Of course, here in Michigan (with notable exceptions where many Southerners have moved in), we speak perfect English. ;-)

Written English can be a different story though. Often it's easier for me to communicate in writing, but I've seen plenty of written "English" that I couldn't make any sense of.

Regards,
James


#41

During WWII, South-central Michigan was the source of the most neutral accent--the most universally intelligible accent--for voice radio operators.

Specifially not the urban areas of Detroit, Toledo &c, which have a distinctive dialect that they share with other northern cities such as Cleavelanad, and all the way to Rochester NY and Chicago Illinois.


Edited: 9 Oct 2006, 8:39 a.m.

#42

James, I take it your letter is with "Tongue-in-cheek," which explains why it sounds goobledegookish. I have lived all over the Northern Hemisphere and give you a different perspective. The Scotts speak the most difficult dialect of "English" and the Irish run a close second. The Germans, speaking English as a 2nd language claim to speak "perfect" English, but really, the first word they learn in a foreign language is, after all, "perfect." I was a wee ladd during the second world war, but I distinctly recall it being asserted that the most pure "American" dialect came from San Francisco while the nearest thing to the "King's" English in America in those days came from the well-educated in the Southeastern states. I married a girl from Michigan therefore I am precluded from speaking for or against "Midwest speak."

Ron


#43

Quote:
James, I take it your letter is with "Tongue-in-cheek,"

Well yes; that's why I included the ";-)". Of course, whichever
dialect one is most accustomed to listening to is very likely to
be the easiest to understand.

Quote:
which explains why it sounds goobledegookish.

"Goobledegookish"? I think that my post is quite clear. Although
particularly when posting on-line, knowing that English isn't the
"mother-tongue" for some of the readers, I'm usually rather
careful to try to use clear and grammatically correct "Standard
American English", which may well make my posts seem a bit
stilted.

I read somewhere or other that the goal of a writer should be to
write in a manner which not only can be understood, but won't be
misunderstood. That strikes me as a worthy goal, especially when
writing for a general readership.

Quote:
... but I distinctly recall it being asserted that the most pure
"American" dialect came from San Francisco

That could well be. I think that, as California was largely
populated by those who immigrated there from various other U.S.
regions, its language, especially in the larger cities, would've
tended to evolve to a "region-neutral" dialect.

Of course, now mass communications tends to encourage a
region-neutral dialect, although I expect that some quite
intentionally cultivate a "non-standard" dialect.

Quote:
while the nearest thing to the "King's" English in America in
those days came from the well-educated in the Southeastern states.

Of course, that means that they were educated in Michigan. ;-)

I note that "the King's English" isn't necessarily the easiest for
me to understand, and not "Standard American English".

The Southeast may well have tended to retain the dialect of the
original English settlers, while the dialects in other regions
were evolving faster because of more immigrants speaking other
dialects and languages, and, I think, faster social changes in
general.

For what it's worth, I've read that some relatively isolated
communities in the Appalachian region tended to retain some usages
long after they became archaic in other areas.

I expect that, in general, the more isolated a community is, the
more slowly its language evolves. On the other hand, an isolated
community, particularly if its founders spoke different dialects,
may sometimes instead quickly evolve its own unique dialect,
different from anything that came before.

The closest to my idea of "the King's English" that I've ever
heard was spoken by a Navy chief who was a native of Jamaica, who
also happened to be black, and tended to be a bit intolerant of
anyone using less than perfect grammar and enunciation.

My "French" relatives of my grandmother's generation (descended
from French-Canadians who immigrated in the early 1600s) tended to
speak with an accent and word usage that seemed a bit "strange" to
me. I occasionally still notice a little of that around Algonac,
Michigan.

I've been told that my first-generation "German"
great-grandparents and their neighbors, who immigrated in the late
1850s, insisted that their children and grandchildren speak only
proper English, although they often spoke German among themselves,
especially when they didn't want the children to understand what
they were saying.

I think that my predominantly German ancestry neighborhood still
tends to use "correct" English, and tends to avoid assuming a
"first name" familiarity for any adult who isn't a family member
or childhood friend. I still rather prefer the formality of
addressing adults as "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Miss" with their surname,
but it seems that this is generally perceived as being overly
formal and rather standoffish. Also, many "liberated" women seem
to take offense at being addressed with the traditional "Miss" or
"Mrs." instead of that (to me, horrible sounding) new "Mizz".

For me, understanding someone (not necessarily "well-educated")
from the Southeastern states, can sometimes be a bit difficult.
For example, to me, Southerners in general seem to pronounce "pen"
exactly the same as "pin". But my four years in the Navy somewhat
accustomed me to understanding various regional accents. In
particular, on the U.S.S. Coral Sea, I was assigned as the
"running mate" (to help someone find his way around the aircraft
carrier, which can be a bit difficult at first) for a new shipmate
from Lumberton, North Carolina. At first, we could hardly
understand each other (he was also a Seminole, which might've
added to the difficulty), but after a week or so, I understood him
easily enough, but then, when I spoke to anyone else, they often
asked me to "say again".

Quote:
I married a girl from Michigan therefore I am precluded from
speaking for or against "Midwest speak."

"Midwest"? I tend to think of Michigan as being the heart of the
"Great Lakes Region"! To me, people from Indiana, for example,
have a very peculiar (and rather amusing) "twang" to their accent.

But surely she wouldn't object to your saying something "for" her
manner of speaking? Or maybe you just aren't allowed to notice
that her accent isn't exactly the same as everyone else's?

Regards,
James


#44

Well, I'm Italian, so I shouldn't take part to this derived-post. But one of the things taht delights me more is the existence of foreign languages. I like foreign languages and most of all I like English. I like when I hear American and British people in the same conversation. I go mad when I watch a film (doubled in Italian) in which a particular gag, depending on the fact it's performed by an American in England or by an Englishman in America, is completely lost in the translation. I get angry when I read english books with a bad translation (sometimes I buy or borrow the original version).

So I found your post very interesting, letting me take a look to what an American thinks about his own language and to his experience in hearing other U.S. variants.

Have you ever written something about the subject?

[A.O.T. means Absolutely Off Topic, of course]

-- Antonio


#45

Is it true that there is or was a law in Italy requiring dubbing into italian?

Edited: 11 Oct 2006, 2:02 p.m.


#46

bill wrote:

Quote:
Is it true that there is or was a law in Italy requiring dubbing into italian?

No, I don't think so. It's only convenience, since for the majority of Italian people English is like Chinese. And you may ask about subtitles: well, in the land of Fellini and Zeffirelli subtitles are simply ugly.

Of course, this is not my thought. I bless the coming of DVDs with the original track and subtitles. Maybe something is moving...

-- Antonio

#47

Quote:
Well, I'm Italian, so I shouldn't take part to this derived-post.

But surely Italian also has various dialects? And Italians with
some fluency in English notice at least some of the various
English dialects.
Quote:
But one of the things taht delights me more is the existence of
foreign languages.

Me too, but the only ones that I've ever studied are Latin and
German. I very rarely have any compelling reason to actually make
use of them, but since they're "ancestral" to English (sometimes,
especially for Latin, through a different language), I think that
knowing a bit about them helps me to know English a little better.

English does seem to be the modern "common language", which surely
there's a need for, and makes thing easy for me, but I hate to
read of any language falling out of use. On the other hand, if a
language is spoken by relatively few people, how can not teaching
the children a more widely used language be justified?

Quote:
I like foreign languages and most of all I like English.

I think that my favourite would have to be Yiddish, although all
that I know of it a few words and phrases that have sometimes been
used in American books.

But Italian may be the easiest language to make fun of; just add a
vowel to the end of every word, and you have what sounds to me
like a rather humorous Italian accent.

Quote:
I like when I hear American and British people in the same
conversation.

"Two nations separated by a common language" comes to mind.

Here in Southeastern Michigan, we have a fair number of
first-generation immigrants, particularly from the Middle East,
but also some from Mexico or farther south and a few from Asia. It
can be rather interesting overhearing "English as a second
language" conversations.

But I've also noticed that fairly often, "English as a second
language" is clearer than "English as the only language",
particularly when any remaining foreign accent isn't too
distracting. It seems to me that "native speakers" are often
careless with the language, while those who made a real effort to
learn it are careful with it.

Quote:
I go mad when I watch a film (doubled in Italian) in which a
particular gag, depending on the fact it's performed by an
American in England or by an Englishman in America, is completely
lost in the translation.

I note that it must be very difficult to translate a joke and
retain the humor.
Quote:
I get angry when I read english books with a bad translation
(sometimes I buy or borrow the original version).

I've often suspected that something was lost in the translation of
books that I've read translated to English, but the original
versions would be useless to me. For that matter, even Chaucer
translated to modern English tends to lose some of the nuances
that become apparent after a few readings of the original dialect.
Sometimes reading different translations of the same work can
bring out different nuances. I don't think that "exact
translations" are possible for anything except perhaps single
words and short phrases, but some translations are a lot better
than others.
Quote:
So I found your post very interesting, letting me take a look to
what an American thinks about his own language and to his
experience in hearing other U.S. variants.

Well thank you, I'm glad to read that it was appreciated. I
suppose that we may all sound pretty much alike to others, while
"native speakers" are more likely to notice relatively subtle
differences.
Quote:
Have you ever written something about the subject?

No, except perhaps a few posts here in this Forum or in the
comp.sys.hp48 newsgroup. I've never been a professional writer.
Quote:
[A.O.T. means Absolutely Off Topic, of course]

Thanks for clarifying that.

Regards,
James


#48

Quote:
Chaucer translated to modern English tends to lose some of the nuances that become apparent after a few readings of the original dialect.

Absolutely! But the other side of the coin with Chaucer is that there are many places where you think you know what the meaning is because the word looks like a modern english word, and yet the meaning has completely shifted!

One of my favorite books is Seamus Heaney's translation of Biowulf. his version is side by side with the original. It is great fun and his poem is really beautiful, too.


#49

Yes, Chaucer is best read, at least the first few times, with a
gloss to alert the reader to seemingly familiar words whose
meanings have changed from what he intended.

For that matter, I think that the same applies to Shakespeare,
although his plays were intended to be heard and seen instead of
read.

In a way, it seems rather a pity that at least part of The
Canterbury Tales
isn't introduced in high school, but
considering the subject matter of the more "interesting" tales, I
can well understand why the good Sister Servants of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary never even mentioned Chaucer. I recall that Sister
Barbara Ann had enough problems trying to convince us that the
"pound of flesh" in the Merchant of Venice didn't
have any double meaning and was nothing to laugh about. It seemed
that most of us must've had our minds in the gutter.

Regarding Beowulf, I long ago gave up on any hope of ever
understanding it in the original Old English, but I'm certainly
glad that there are some who can translate it for the rest of us.
I must have two or three different translations around here
somewhere (or maybe they're on loan to my niece), as well as an
audio tape, but I don't believe that I've ever seen the Seamus
Heaney translation; maybe one of these days....

Regards,
James


#50

Quote:
In a way, it seems rather a pity that at least part of The Canterbury Tales isn't introduced in high school...

My youngest son is a senior in high school and his English class is studying The Canterbury Tales right now.

#51

Quote:
One of my favorite books is Seamus Heaney's translation of B
iowulf. his version is side by side with the original. It is great fun and his poem is really beautiful, too.

I love Heaney's Beowulf also. In fact, I love Old English in general. My signature file that is appended to all my email and USENET postings contains this:

Þæs ofereode, ðisses swa mæg.  ("That passed away, this also can.")
"Deor," from the Exeter Book (folios 100r-100v)


#52

:-)


#53

:-)

#54

Quote:

Quote: [A.O.T. means Absolutely Off Topic, of course]

Thanks for clarifying that


Maybe A.O.T. has a special offensive meaning in current American?

-- Antonio


#55

Quote:
Maybe A.O.T. has a special offensive meaning in current American?

Very unlikely. Otherwise it would be listed here:

http://www.stands4.com/bs.asp?st=AOT&SE=1

Gerson

#56

Hi James.

You said:

Quote:
Although particularly when posting on-line, knowing that English isn't the "mother-tongue" for some of the readers, I'm usually rather careful to try to use clear and grammatically correct "Standard American English", which may well make my posts seem a bit stilted.

I read somewhere or other that the goal of a writer should be to write in a manner which not only can be understood, but won't be misunderstood. That strikes me as a worthy goal, especially when writing for a general readership.


and I thank you very much for that care you take - I always like


posts written with an eye to non-mother tongue people, for a couple of (simple?) reasons:

1) that shows the attitude towards spreading knowledge

2) the same ease my understanding of - sometimes - hard subjects.

Thanks again.

All the best.

Giancarlo

#57

You're welcome.

On my part, I'm impressed by how well those who often post in this
Forum who don't have English as their native language manage to
write in it.

Yes, part of the reason for my efforts to write carefully is to
give an example of what I consider to be a good try at clear usage
of English.

Of course, careful use of English isn't only for the benefit of
those who don't have it as the first language; I really don't want
anyone to misunderstand what I've written, and it's usually rather
inconvenient for a reader to request clarification when writing
isn't easy to understand.

I'm particularly annoyed when someone who apparently learned
English as his first language is very careless in its use,
especially in writing. Writing conventions such as capitalization,
punctuation, paragraphs, and spelling, as well as the conventions
from spoken language, weren't invented only to give school
teachers something to do; the writing conventions make reading a
lot easier. Everyone makes mistakes; I don't ask that anyone write
or speak perfectly, and I'll certainly forgive an occasional
mistake, and I can very easily forgive when someone who has
English as a second language doesn't use it quite fluently. But
sometimes it seems as if a writer hasn't given any consideration
at all to whether his writing is easy to read and understand. I've
decided that if it's too much trouble for someone to try to write
clearly, then it's too much trouble for me to try to understand
what he's written, or to answer any question he may be trying to
ask.

Regards,
James


#58

What you have said is all so true. Punctuation, capitalization, amoung other things are so important. Not to observe these rules is sloppy lazyness.

tm

#59

I have no arguments with most you have to say. With regard to my remark about Michigan wife - my tongue in cheek of course - nobody in same room with someone from Michigan allowed to speak.

Seems to me that the purpose of language is to communicate. That pretty well depends on where one is at the moment and what it is that one is attempting to communicate. Any stilted "perfect" grammer in a room full of blue collar workers will usually fail to communicate the correct message for example. This opens the subject of "body language" and credibilty.

Too many English teachers are servants of the language rather than masters. Grammer is important as are all the basics of communication. A failure to communicate is just what it is, an open loop. Some way to close the loop must be a part of the whole thing (or we lack "closure," as the cocktail circle is prone to say). "Pontificate" is not a synonym for "communicate." "Respect" is a better word to use when describing a good user of the language. " Prose writers and Poets have great respect for language. They engage the reader's emotions and all of their senses.

Ron

#60

I like Indian english in all its singsongy variations. Chinese english is awkward. Though some of my grad school friends made the transition and became very good speakers, while retaining color.

#61

If the manual for the 33s is a representative sample, the China printed manuals seem very good to me...concise, coherent English, and no glaring grammatical gaffs that I can see.

For any fellow cyclists out there, recall the English section of the documentation that comes with a new Italian bicycle component...now that's some stilted English (excellent components though!!). Certainly no offence intended to the Italians...I'm sure English sentence structure translated directly to Italian is equally hilarious.:)

Best regards, Hal


#62

Hal posted,

Quote:
If the manual for the 33s is a representative sample, the China printed manuals seem very good to me...concise, coherent English, and no glaring grammatical gaffes that I can see.

The HP-33S manual was largely copied from the HP-32SII manual that was developed and prepared in the US. That being acknowledged, I'd say that the typesetting and appearance of the HP-33S manual is better than its predecessor.

-- KS

#63

Quote:
Certainly no offence intended to the Italians...I'm sure English sentence structure translated directly to Italian is equally hilarious.:)

You bet! And, believe me, we have to deal with a lot of them when trying to figure out how to set up some new electronic component. I always prefer to read the original in english if available.

Greetings,
Massimo


#64

Before their was babelfish, there were those european instruction manuals (e.g. campagnolo derailleurs etc) with all the eurolanguages.

#65

Juan posted,


"The good manuals HP used to provide are gone."

Yes, the quality and adequacy of the manuals has certainly nosedived since the halcyon days of the late 1970's and early 1980's.

Perhaps the "zenith" of the manuals were those of the Spice series (introduced 1978-79), HP-41 (1979-1983), Voyager series (1981-1982), and HP-71B (1983). They contained excellent and thorough technical writing, quality paper stock, nice illustrations and examples with one or two colors other than black -- and few if any errors.

On the basis of a manual's content and physical quality to the capability of its calculator, the HP-34C manual from 1979 might be the best-ever -- three colors, full detail about the new SOLVE and INTEG functions, and spiral-bound. The HP-15C manual from 1982 is also of excellent quality, and was well-translated and published in German, French, and Portugese, to name several languages. The optional Advanced Functions Handbook supplemented the HP-15C manual significantly with sophisticated mathematical material and its application to the HP-15C.

Cost-cutting measures were imposed as the prices of the calculators dropped, which reduced the revenue available for the "supporting" components of the product. For example, the newly-published HP-41CX and HP-71B manuals of 1983 were flat-bound instead of spiral-bound. The HP-11C and HP-15C manuals went flat-bound around 1986.

The manuals for the Pioneer-series models in 1988 took a step backward, as the calculators became ever-more capable and affordable. Dumbed-down writing, less adequate detail and examples, and lower-quality lithography were evident. The HP-48 and HP-49 manuals released a few years later did not meet generally-accepted standards of adequacy, especially given that the calculators were more complex than ever before.

The basic lesson of this? "You don't get what you don't pay for."

-- KS


Edited: 9 Oct 2006, 3:45 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


#66

With the power of calculators going up while prices are going down, it is understandable why today's manuals don't compare in completeness and physical quality to those of the past. My suggestion: the manufacturer can include a basic manual with the calculator, then make quality higher-level manuals available on CD and/or online for free, or printed advanced manuals for sale.


#67

John posted,

Quote:
With the power of calculators going up while prices are going down, it is understandable why today's manuals don't compare in completeness and physical quality to those of the past. My suggestion: the manufacturer can include a basic manual with the calculator, then make quality higher-level manuals available on CD and/or online for free, or printed advanced manuals for sale.

From the standpoint of the "economic dilemma", this is not an unreasonable suggestion. In fact, HP did just that with the Advanced User's Guide for the HP-48, which is also quite applicable to the HP-49. I ought to obtain it sometime, except I know that I will not put forth the time and effort to become proficient with the RPL-based models.

It still bothers me, though, that the package received for the purchase price of a high-end calculator does not always include an adequate user's manual. If the manufacturer can't afford to develop, produce, and provide such a manual at the point of sale, maybe the calculator is too complicated, or the price is too low.

-- KS

#68

Almost all Indians are taught English and handle it rather well. The same is not true for China. The Chinese languages are much further from English than the Indian languages. Anybody that says or beleives the switch was due to language proficency is just plain wrong.


#69

I agree with Donald.

From my own experience, the common Indian "English" is quite a challenge in pronounciation and wording as well. This is my purely personal view after 5 years of English (not American) in school, working for US-American companies, and traveling a lot in business and private, also to India (Punjab).

#70

The calculator group has been and continues to be based in the USA. It is Dean's first post here and look at the responses. Please don't feed the trolls. :(

Edited: 8 Oct 2006, 6:38 p.m.


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