Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Netherlands is (not) great for foreigners

The Netherlands is often considered to be a nice place for foreigners. Most of the Dutch people are able to converse at an acceptable level of English. This is great. If they need help, they can ask for it without much trouble at all.

But then there is this problem of written communication. It's in Dutch and it's a pain in the ass if you can't read it. At work, I'm one of the few in the group that's Dutch and colleagues often come to me when they need a translation. It ranges from letters from the Dutch Railways (NS) to error text messages from mobile network operators.

This made me wonder. If these companies managed to help my colleagues in (spoken) English in the past, why can't they continue to service them in English? Oh, wait. Right. Probably has something to do with software and automated messages...

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