Thursday, September 25, 2008

Office of Babel

I intentionally avoid posting about work for several reasons the main one being that I’d rather not get dooced. However, this post has more to do with languages than my job so I’ll make an exception. At the moment, about 40% of the people in my office are French with the rest of us being from various countries. All of us, except one guy (an English speaker), are fully fluent in a second language. One coworker speaks 4 languages, another one speaks 3 with knowledge of a 4th and a few others have basic to conversational knowledge of a 3rd language.

Recently, someone from one of the local offices in another country visited and it turns out that he speaks 6 languages - but then again he’s Dutch and they tend to polyglots to the extreme. In addition to realizing that we should be careful about what we say in any language, because someone might understand, I felt a bit inept, since I speak “only” 2 languages with very basic knowledge of a 3rd. Anyone started working on a universal translator implant yet?

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