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Language skills for different jobs
Thread poster: Ruxi

German to Romanian
+ ...
Jan 5, 2005

I really don't know the title I should put for my question.
These days I heard in radio that in our country drivers have problems with the toll collect tools, because they are only set-up in a few languages.
I was wondering:
1. Do people study foreign languages in schools?
2. For some jobs which involve international travels and communication shouldn't people have at least basic skills when getting a job, or be trained at the beginning?
I mean here: the crew for international trains, buses, good transporters, drivers, pilots, people working in touristic areas, hotels, restaurants a.s.o.
At least English should be a must for everybody.
What is your opinion?
In my country there was a Training Centre for Railways personal and drivers which trained this kind of personal in some fields, including foreign languages, depending on the countries they were supposed to work.
On the other hand I was admiring (on TV) old people in China trying to learn English to be able to work in the times of the Olympic Games with foreigners.


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BrigitteHilgner  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
German to English
+ ...
Theory and practice Jan 10, 2005

In Germany and Austria, many people are bound to tell you that they speak English - quite frankly, it's a lie. What most (even business) people speak is bad English. The personnel on trains has learnt the necessary English words about the next station, changing trains, etc. like parrots - and most of the time the accent is so bad that a foreigner is unable to understand anything. Years ago I sent a proposal to Austrian Railway: I would record the necessary comments for them on tape if they allowed me to put leaflets about my services into train carriages - (fool that I am, I did not even ask for money) but they ignored my suggestion. So you still get heavily accented comments which the people who utter them don't understand themselves ...
As I see it, most people just do not understand how important foreign languages are and that you cannot manage any language well after a couple of hours of training. Learning a language properly costs time and money - who is to pay for this?
My suggestion: when you travel abroad, get at least a smattering of the language - don't wait for the natives to do anything about communication.

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they learn, but don't remember Jun 1, 2005

Most people, I think do learn a language in school- but if they don't get an opportunity to use it often, they tend to forget most of it.

It really is unfortunate that more people can not speak more languages- both of you talked about people in service industry- such as taxi drivers and toll collectors. But I think about health care professionals- we have the same problem. They are given little classes in the US on how to "Speak Spanish" but all they can then do is ask- do you have pain. It creates a problem when the patient replies in a more complicated way and the nurse has no clue as to what was said... and of course at times the accent is so strange that the spanish person is unaware of the attempt to speak their language...

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