Friday, April 29, 2011

Language barrier

The first barrier that I had here in the Czech Republic was the language. Not too many people at stores or public institutions speak English. I had to rely on so many people just to get what I needed like getting insurance, driver's license, doctor appointments, etc. And, thanks to all my Czech friends and my hubby's colleagues who helped us throughout our journey in the Czech Republic! And, thanks to the poor quality of Google Translate. I tried so many times to convey myself with a pre-translated memo and failed 100% of the time by either getting a completely different thing or a completely puzzled look.

Now that we are leaving the Czech Republic, I once again am facing the language barrier issue. For instance, we would go to an insurance company to cancel my insurance. The receptionist spoke a little bit of English but none of the agents did. The poor agent was clearly annoyed as we kept yapping in English. She kept talking to us in Czech, and we kept yapping back in English. Boy... :(  So, we ended up calling our friend again, so that she could explain what we needed. Fundamentally, though, we have to go back there again.

Also, the other day we visited a vaccination center without knowing that we had to make an appointment first. The nurse didn't speak English but a lady in the waiting room happened to speak English and interpreted for us. Eventually the nurse gave us a card with a telephone number and told us to call for an appointment. So, we diappointedly left the facility and called them the next day, and guess what?  The lady who answered the phone cannot speak English!  So much for making an appointment. Sigh... But, thanks again to another friend of ours!!  She called them on behalf of us and made an appointment. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

We should be able to speak more Czech of course, but at the same time I was wondering why they can't at least hire someone who can speak English in the facilities like an insurance company where lots of their clients would be non-Czech people. :(

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