How many times?

Communicating in a foreign language can lead to fun and also frustration. At work, we all communicate in English even though it is not our mother tongue. As part of our daily job, we maintain an application which pulls data from many other applications. We have jobs running couple of times in a week to pull data into our application. We cannot run it everyday as some of jobs take more than 48 hours to complete.

Some of the latest changes implemented has an impact on these jobs. As a result, these jobs have to run as part of the testing. So, my French friend asked "How many times will you run it?". My Indian friend was visibly irritated and answered curtly, "Once". Of course, many times has an indirect reference to the quality of the changes. If the changes are of poor quality, the jobs have to be run multiple times to test it.

The Frenchman persisted, "But how many times?". Hearing the same question repeated for the second time, my Indian friend rolled up his eyes. Sensing a meltdown, I intervened, "Did you mean the duration? How much time will it take?". The answer was given and we moved on.

Since my French friend was talking about time taken, he assumed the plural to be time"s". He was sure this was no one-minute job. So, he wanted to know how many hours and hence the question "how many times".

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  1. LOl...funny situation, but yea I can imagine how easily it can be misconstrued by another person...

  2. @Anjali - It is funny. These kind of events happen daily in my life.

  3. aah this is funny! quite a gap in communication there. if you had not intervened wonder how many times the french guy would have kept repeating his question!

  4. @Harish - Onshore-offshore model has made the modern day workplace similar to the construction of Babel tower.

    @Sujatha - :) It would have gone for a few more cycles before they figured it out themselves. The problem is loss of time.

  5. hehehe.. It happens many a times :)
    it gets irritating if it happens with you but its great fun if you see someone else getting irritated ;)

  6. Funny . Good that you were there to help.
    Have a nice weekend Nona.

  7. @Madhulika - Sometimes, the temperature rises very fast leading to shorter tempers. That is when the fun goes out...

    @Kavita - Thank you. Have a great weekend and put a post next week on your blog.

  8. hahaha.. i remember a really funny situation in which a South Indian who had no knowledge of hindi was put in the heartland of the north and in charge of sales of a popular rat killing medicine. While narrating his job, he told some one he was in charge of a choo**** killing medicine using a popular hindi abuse word instead of chooha killing medicine!

  9. @Richa - Thanks for dropping by. Your anecdote is funny. One thing I can remember about South Indian in North India is interchanging "khana" and "gaana". Though not hilarious as the exchange you mentioned, this interchange also creates comedy.


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