Avoiding employers or companies who cannot speak foreign languages

18 posts in this topic

I am fluent in two foreign languages. One of them is English; other one is German. Not saying this to brag about it and I do not think it is something brag about.

I worked in two different companies, where majority of my colleagues did not speak a foreign language very well. I did not have a good experience in both of them. I found rather not well-informed individuals on average and I am under the impression that their professional knowledge is subpar. I am not sure if this should teach me a lesson to avoid this sort of companies.

 

I'd also love to hear from your experiences. Is it a good idea to avoid companies where your boss or the majority of colleagues will be this sort of people?

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Just now, International Student said:

I am fluent in two foreign languages. One of them is English..

 

Being able to communicate fluently is all well and good, but I would recommend that you continue to work on your language skills.How you speak, what intonation you use (or do not use!), and facial expression can make a huge difference to how somebody hears/understands what you are saying.

 

Since your user name is International Student - are you a student doing a student job, as well as studying? If so, maybe "this sort of people" have seem loads of students come and go over the years, and are a bit fed-up having new colleagues, who they know from the out-set, will not hang around long...

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Maybe I am missing something here, but why do you find it problematic that your co-workers are not bi- or multilingual? You speak German so you can communicate with them. Depending on their positions, they may only need to know German anyway. 

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On 7/11/2018, 6:50:29, generalmartok said:

This vastly depends on what field of work you are in. If you are working for a building contractor, it is a bit much to expect your coworkers to speak foreign languages unless they are not German. If you are in IT and technology, then it is usually a given that most of them can speak at least English since often the work involves people at different locations and documentation and such not being in just German.

 

Also, it might just be me, or the fact that it is 6:30 am and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet, but your post comes off a bit condescending to me. So:

"where a/the majority"

" I found them to be rather not (all that) well-informed individuals "

"I am not sure if this should teach me to avoid these sort of companies"

"will be these sort of people"

 

Thank you for correcting my English. When I ask native speakers to correct my English or German, they ignore it. I wish they'd do it more often.

I do not want to be a condescending person. I criticize my bosses because in my eyes they aren't very good bosses overall and their lack of language skills is a sign for me that there is going to be a compatibility problem between them and me. I really don't know how to think about it. 

 

 

You also posted another thread complaining about getting a positive Arbeitszeugnis. Is there any point to your questions?

 

What do you mean?

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On 11.7.2018, 01:15:39, International Student said:

 

I worked in two different companies, where majority of my colleagues did not speak a foreign language very well. I did not have a good experience in both of them. I found rather not well-informed individuals on average and I am under the impression that their professional knowledge is subpar

 

7 hours ago, International Student said:

 

 I criticize my bosses because in my eyes they aren't very good bosses overall and their lack of language skills is a sign for me that there is going to be a compatibility problem between them and me.

What do you mean?

 

 

I would not like to work in the same department with guys that have such an attitude.

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8 hours ago, International Student said:

their lack of language skills is a sign for me that there is going to be a compatibility problem between them and me

Would you mind telling us what line of work you are in? Also may I ask what country you are from?

I am originally Indian and my bosses are Bulgarian and a Slovak. We all speak German with accents and we get along splendidly. I reject your premise that differing language skills cause a compatibility issue.

 

8 hours ago, International Student said:

What do you mean?

I was asking if you have a point to your questions.

 

 

 

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On 7/11/2018, 1:15:39, International Student said:

I am fluent in two foreign languages. One of them is English; other one is German. Not saying this to brag about it and I do not think it is something brag about.

I worked in two different companies, where majority of my colleagues did not speak a foreign language very well. I did not have a good experience in both of them. I found rather not well-informed individuals on average and I am under the impression that their professional knowledge is subpar. I am not sure if this should teach me a lesson to avoid this sort of companies.

 

I'd also love to hear from your experiences. Is it a good idea to avoid companies where your boss or the majority of colleagues will be this sort of people?

can you big more specific?

 

it is normal that in Germany some ( ok, a lot ) companies Germans do not speak well German. 

I am not native English too, but i spoke and wrote better than my German colleagues in  all my previous companies. 

But i guess this can happen in A LOT OF countries. 

 

Now in my CASE, what it irritated me is that sometimes they used really wrong words and stick to them, and if i told them it is not correct they would not accept it. 

can you imagine how irritating it was that i had almost to be forced to use the wrong words in meetings or they would not understand? 

Only when a native English person or another German (superior to them) correct them, they would accept.  is this your situation?

Are you in a middle sized typical German company? 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, esqualidus said:

 i had almost to be forced to use the wrong words in meetings or they would not understand? 

This reminds me of my time in Japan.

The more I learnt Japanese, the better I could communicate with them in English

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On 7/13/2018, 10:30:29, esqualidus said:

can you big more specific?

 

 

The company atmosphere is horrible. They insult each other (not openly though). They put in question each others ' skills. They talk behind each other. Some of the employees are arrogant. Of course arrogant is a subjective word but you guys should have seen it. I swear I can't find any other lighter word to explain it.

 

On 7/13/2018, 10:30:29, esqualidus said:

Are you in a middle sized typical German company? 

 

Yes the companies were middle sized.

 

On 7/13/2018, 10:30:29, esqualidus said:

Now in my CASE, what it irritated me is that sometimes they used really wrong words and stick to them, and if i told them it is not correct they would not accept it. 

 

 

I experiences this as well. Exactly the same happened to me a number of times.

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Welcome to the Germanic office environment. Birds of a feather flock together and all that. More than languages being an indicator as to how you will fit in - or not - I would be looking at the age people left school. If you are a graduate and working with people who left school at 16, you will find they operate differently from you. It can be tough to handle. They will resent you just because. Best advice I ever got from an elderly gent was that if the party hasn't warmed up after 20 minutes, leave cos it ain't going to.

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Hello International student,

 

Optimista gives you some great advice in the above post.

 

Your experience of co-workers resenting you because you are fully bilingual is what I experienced my first three years here working in the early childhood sector. That being said I never would have thought to openly criticize bosses or colleagues for the lacking language skills nor did I try to act superior.

 

The continuing to use poor grammar or wrong words seems to be a very stuborn cultural trait and of course it is irritating but you know you're right so let it slide like water off a duck's back.

 

Like others have mentioned certain sectors are better than others for finding like minded professionals: IT and the higher levels of Education (think Gymnasium+) come to mind. My husband is an IT administrator for example and did nearly all of this university education in English---it's expected that he can speak and conduct his work in English.

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On 7/13/2018, 11:30:29, esqualidus said:

can you big more specific?

 

it is normal that in Germany some ( ok, a lot ) companies Germans do not speak well German. 

I am not native English too, but i spoke and wrote better than my German colleagues in  all my previous companies. 

But i guess this can happen in A LOT OF countries. 

 

Now in my CASE, what it irritated me is that sometimes they used really wrong words and stick to them, and if i told them it is not correct they would not accept it. 

can you imagine how irritating it was that i had almost to be forced to use the wrong words in meetings or they would not understand? 

Only when a native English person or another German (superior to them) correct them, they would accept.  is this your situation?

Are you in a middle sized typical German company? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You're lucky. I’m a native English speaker who writes professionally. I’ve had Germans straight up tell me my English (well, Merriam-Webster’s) is wrong. I stopped fighting that battle a long time ago. People here just don’t care. They learn an alternate universe version of English and never go to an actual English-speaking country. Pick another hill to die on. Don’t correct unless you’re being paid to AND specifically asked to.

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16 hours ago, sos-the-rope said:

 

I’ve had Germans straight up tell me my English is wrong.

 

Have that T-shirt. Eventually I came to chuckle inwardly at their stubborn ignorance -some are so convinced of their own talent - and learnt to leave them to it.

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Ref. optimista's last comment:

 

Let's have a "design a T-shirt slogan" competition on this subject!

 

PS:

I seem to recall that not too long ago, we also had a thread on how/why Germans don't like to admit they're wrong. :D

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7 hours ago, optimista said:

 

Have that T-shirt. Eventually I came to chuckle inwardly at their stubborn ignorance -some are so convinced of their own talent - and learnt to leave them to it.

 

It’s not only Germans - one day I’ll dig out the pages long email from an educated Italian who thought I was totally unable to write in English. His apparent authority was his vaguely remembered EFL teacher and his reading of MS Windows manuals (?!).

 

The whole of Continental Europe appears to have this issue.

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2 hours ago, onemark said:

Ref. optimista's last comment:

 

Let's have a "design a T-shirt slogan" competition on this subject!

 

PS:

I seem to recall that not too long ago, we also had a thread on how/why Germans don't like to admit they're wrong. :D

 

Definitely need some TT tees with obscurely cynical expat wisdom.

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