3.21.2004

Why India worries about outsourcing SFGate.com (3/21)

"The accent is now on accents. India's much touted, English-speaking, back office soldiers who man the 24-hour call centers of multinationals round the world have been getting some flak lately. The problem is that the Indians do not speak English the way Americans or the British pronounce their words."

We thought 'Amy' sounded a bit weird...

"This can be more than just an irritant as vouchsafed by Dell Inc., the world's largest computer seller, which shifted its customer support service for corporate clients back to the United States. Earlier, Lehman Brothers also decided to take back its internal computer-help desk, which had been outsourced to Indian company Wipro, due to the dissatisfaction with the skills offered in India."

Unspoken next line: "Which were sent there because of management's dissatisfaction with having to pay people money and provide benefits that cut into their bonuses in the first place."

[snip]

"In spite of TV and e-mail, people living thousands of miles away and without local knowledge cannot always answer inquiries authoritatively. England is said to be full of jokes about operators in India who master Scots or Midland accents but falter over small physical details."

Fair enough: we have a hard enough time understanding Brad & Cameran on 'The Real World' (But kudos to the folks in question because, really, have you ever tried to master a Scots or Midland accent?)

"Kate, a doctor based in England, recently on a trip to India, told this correspondent that grappling with rail inquiries in the United Kingdom can be quite onerous. Often the information is incorrect because as the person at the other end does not seem to understand the inquires."

Just like listening to Brad on The Real World describe why he gets arrested every week... only no as much fun.

[snip]

"According to Sabira Merchant, speech-voice consultant, "Indians have excellent control over written English, yet when it comes to pronunciation, we do not always sound right."

"Excellent control" should be your first clue that Sabira doesn't know what he's talking about. Sorry, pal but you're way off here...

"As a nation we do speak good English. That is why most Indians score easily over people of other nationalities."

We don't score 'cuz the ladies don't dig the unemployed.

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