The Universal Translator Can’t Translate Entitlement

, , , , | Right | March 10, 2020

(I work at the front desk of a luxury business hotel and I speak five languages. I also work with people from over seventy different countries, most of whom speak at least two languages, as well, so we pretty much cover every main language in the world. Still, people seem to think we are robots.)

Me: “Welcome to [Hotel]; how may I assist you?”

Guest: *speaking very fast in a language I don’t recognize*

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t understand you. What language is this, so I can maybe find a colleague who is able to assist you or translate for me?”

Guest: *angrily speaking in a language I don’t understand*

Me: “Okay, may I see your passport, so I can find someone who speaks your language?” *trying to mime “passport”*

Guest: *hands me his passport*

(I have a colleague from this country at the front desk and she is standing on the other end of our desk. Why did he not go to her? I don’t know. I call her over and they talk, she checks him in, and everything is fine.)

Colleague: *after the guest is gone* “He was complaining that you didn’t speak his language even though he asked you at the beginning.”

Me: “What do you mean? I didn’t understand a word he was saying.”

Colleague: “No, he said he ordered you to speak [Language] but you kept speaking English and now he’s disappointed.”

Me: “I’m… human and I don’t think I work that way.”

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