Translation Frustration

, , , , , | Right | October 29, 2018

(I work nights at a local bank’s call center. During the day we have Spanish-speaking agents available. At night we use a translator service line for any non-English speaking customers. To use it, we place the customer on hold and call over to a translator. I know a few words in Spanish but not much. This call came at around 10 pm.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Bank]. How may I help you?”

Customer: *speaks rapidly in Spanish then pauses*

Me: “Si! Lo siento; no hablo español. Un momento, por favor!” *Yes, I am sorry; I don’t speak Spanish. One moment, please.*

Customer: *speaks rapidly in Spanish again*

Me: “Uhh…” *in a hopeful tone* “No habla español? Hablo ingles?”

Customer: *sighs and speaks slower in Spanish as if to a kid*

Me: “I still don’t speak Spanish, sir.”

Customer: *confused sounding Spanish*

Me: “Can I put you on hold?”

Customer: “Qué?”

Me: “Un momento?”

Customer: “Ohhh… Okay.”

(I put the customer on hold and get a translator. It takes around 30 seconds. The rest of the conversation goes through the translator.)

Me: “How can I help you?”

Customer: “Why don’t you speak Spanish? I pressed the Spanish number.”

Me: “We don’t have Spanish agents at night because few people call in.”

Customer: “Well, that is stupid. Fine, just give me my balance.”

Me: “Okay, can I get your account or card number?”

Customer: “I already gave you this information three times.”

(The customer says a string of words the translator won’t translate, then hangs up.)

Translator: “Wow, that was…  Need me for anything else?”

Me: “Nope. Have a good night.”

Translator: “Good luck!”

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