Mia: Shaken Not Stirred


The true life stories of a NYC female.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Inglés sin Barreras


Despite the fact that we’re on the the national do not call list we still get at least three telemarketing calls per day and countless of calls from marketing/survey firms. However because we have a Spanish surname we’re now getting Spanish speaking telemarketers calling us as well.

While my dad has no patience with telemarketers my mom is the opposite, “no need to be rude they are only trying to make a living.” My mom worked briefly as a telemarketer after high school and has never gotten over the experience and it is for that reason that she is the one in charge of dealing with the telemarketers when they call our house. My mother was busy when the phone rang wanting to keep her hands free she hit the speaker button.

Mom: Hello

VOP: Hola puedo hablar con el señor William Suarez?

Mom: I’m sorry Mr. Suarez is not available at the moment would you care to leave a message?

the woman on the other side sighed.

VOP: Do ju espeekay espaneech?

From the sound of struggle in her voice and accent it was obvious that English was not the caller's native language.

Mom: Si, yo hablo español. How may I help you?

VOP: Qué?

Mom: Perdon se me safo el ingles. ¿Cómo puedo asistirte? (I’m sorry my English slipped out. How may I help you?)

VOP: ¿Con quién hablo por favor?

Mom: Habla la señora Suárez. (Mrs. Suarez speaking)

VOP: Ah muy bien señora habla Inez. ¿Cómo estás Señora Suárez? ( Very well this is Inez. How are you Mrs. Suarez?)


Mom: Estoy muy bien Inez, encanta de la vida y usted? ( I am fine Inez, enchanted with life and you?)

VOP: Igual Señora Suárez. (the same Mrs. Suarez)

Mom: Bueno me allegro de oír eso Inez.Ahora cariño dirme por favor de que se trata esta llamada? (I’m happy to hear that Inez. Now sweetheart can you tell me what this call is about?)

Inez quickly launched into her scripted sales pitch. She was calling on behalf of Inglés Sin Barreras (English Without Barriers) a home learning course that’s been teaching Latinos and Hispanics (yes,there’s a difference we’ll discuss that at another time) how to speak American English since 1988.

My dad walked in on the tail end of the pitch and started laughing and said that Inez sounded like she needed to purchase the package for herself. My dad by the way barely speaks Spanish a result of his family assimulating a wee too much in the United States.Mom who is totally bilingual rolled her eyes at him and gave him the middle finger.

Mom: Inez do I sound like I need to learn English?

VOP: Que?

My mom shook her head and laughed she hadn’t realized she had spoken to Inez in English again…

Mom: Perdon (sorry) pero ven aquí Inez alcaso yo sueno como que necesitó apprender hablar el inglés?

Literally translated it means ven aquí means “come here” but in the context my mother was using it she meant “let’s be for real”. I now return you to the story in progress...

VOP: No señora Suárez no es el caso. Pero quizás alquien en su familia?(no that is not the case but perhaps someone in your family?)

Mom: No todos en nuestra familia hablan ingles.Pero gracias por su llamada Inez le deseo muchisama suerte. Que pase un buen dia. Adios Inez. (No, everyone in our family speaks English but thank you for your call Inez I wish you lots of luck.

VOP: De nada Señora Suárez le deseo igualmente. Hacido muy amable. Adios.( you’re welcome Mrs. Suarez I wish you the same. You’ve been very kind. Good-bye)

My dad continued to laugh as mom hung up the phone. “So babe do you want me to get you the Inglés Sin Barreras package?” “Shut up William so help me God if they call selling a Español Sin Barreras package I am so buying it for you.” She replied.

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