It started when I made several calls with a tech support department regarding an issue I had with some hardware.  It’s a fairly complex issue and these phone calls have been spanned over a few weeks.  The wait times are always long and I make these calls in hopes that more progress will be made and any miscommunications can be corrected.

One thing I noticed is these people are more likely to misinterpret what I am saying.  It started off with “You’re breaking up.  Can you repeat that?”  I thought nothing of it and simply spoke at a more steady rate.

Another time, the person on the phone misheard my name.  I used phonetic alphabets to spell my name: “A as in Alpha, N as in November, T as in Tango…”  They replied, “Well, you were definitely in the army”, which is not true by the way.

When I called them again, the other person also had a hard time hearing me and blurted out “I don’t understand you; it might be a cultural thing.”  Again, this was an issue spelling my name.  I remember saying “S U A R E Zed”.  They replied, “What’s E-Zed?”  I paused for a moment and said “S U A R E Zee”.  Yes, the letter Z is pronounced in 2 different ways depending on the region.

I don’t know for certain where this department is and I assume it is somewhere in USA.

Out of all of the phone calls I have made in my life, I don’t think I’ve had a single department had a hard time understanding me multiple times with different people.  Don’t get me wrong; I was born and raised in Canada and English my first and only language.  Even when I speak to departments outsourced to other countries (e.g. India, England, China, etc.), I may have a hard time hearing them and I’ve never struggled like the people above have with me.

Everyone has accents, slang phrases, expressions, etc.  We all speak differently.  I was just surprised with the phone calls I’ve been making to this place.  Since we’re on the subject of speech, King of the Hill is a popular cartoon where the characters speak with different accents from other cartoons; to others, it may sound common to others and it stands out to me because I live in Canada.  Despite this, I still understand what they’re saying.

I’ve never thought of the way we speak so much until now.  I don’t know if it’s something I should keep in mind whenever I call someone who may be outside of Canada.  I’m not holding a grudge towards anyone.

Hopefully, these technical issues will be resolved soon and I’ll find a way through this communication barrier.  Wish me luck!