Friday, February 19, 2010

I did it, I made the call!

Like I wasn't hesitant enough to make the call then the receptionist at the doctor's office thought it would be a good time to give me a Dutch lesson and when I couldn't understand what she was telling me, even the third time asking, she wouldn't translate to English for me (not the whole thing, just one part of it, the rest I understood) or even say the sentence in a different way using different terminology.

Eventually I figured out what she meant (I hope!) and I can pick up my referral Monday morning but at the time I wanted to reach through the phone and give her a knuckle sandwich for breakfast.

And just a little advice for everybody: If and when you ever encounter somebody who isn't speaking their native language but they're still trying to communicate with you, and they're asking you to please repeat or saying that they don't understand, don't just keep repeating the same exact same sentence or phrase over and over. It's not that I'm (or they are) deaf, it's that I don't know the meaning of the word or I'm not understanding the phrasing. Say it in a different way or in a simpler way, so instead of calling the "technical form for referrals" the "technical form for referrals" fifteen times over, try saying "the letter (or paper) for the dietician".

And keep it in mind that speaking your non-native language is a humbling experience in itself, you don't need to make the person feel worse than they already do (and trust me, more than likey they wish they could speak more fluently as well!).

That's what I have to say on that.


Salsera Gringuita said...

OMG Sarah you are preaching to the choir on the language stuff! I'm a volunteer with a high school exchange program, and it continually amazes me to see people's inability to communicate with someone who is not a native speaker. Doctor's offices seem to be the worst, too - I've had to accompany several foreign students and colleagues, and each time, I finally end up saying to them the exact same thing you just wrote: "Hey, you know if someone doesn't understand you, it would be wise to try and find different words to help them out. Deafness is not the issue." *Sigh*

Sorry lady, you touched a nerve. :) Kudos to you for makingn that call, and I'll be excited to read how it goes!

Metroknow said...

I had to laugh (in sympathy) when I read your language comments...the old stereotype of people just saying the same thing - but LOUDER - really is true in my experience.

Very good look to you, and good for you for persisting despite a challenge most of us never have to face!