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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Respect the Queen's Language - #Uganda


I keep running into many Ugandans who tell me that it is a foreign language and they should not write it properly. Then when I ask them to tell me what Pi times 2 squared in their mother language, they do not tell me the answer.  I frankly cannot even say that in my mother tongue Lumusaba / Lugisu.
Sure, you might hate writing proper English but for a country which relies on donors and funders, what do you lose by not using English.
My first experience of how English rules the world was when I was in France and my sister in law's computer broke down.  I frankly could not diagnose the problem in French.  I switched to the lower level and all the code was in English.  Fixed that thing quickly.
Then my next experience when my manager at a company I used to work for told me that I had to have all the forms, prompts and reports in French.  Piece of cake.  But that is when I thanked Dr. Franklin for having been tough on me when I was taking translation courses for my bachelors degree.  That company had a translation department and all the work had to be sent to them to be translated.  My French translation / English, English /French translation skills kicked in.
Many Ugandans do not know that in Canada, everything has to be in French and English.  But get this one, all the computer coding was in English.  I only had to translate what the users of the system would see on the screen.  All underlying work (algorithm) was in English.
Fast forward, at my first attendance at the Boston Seafood Show, the government of New Brunswick Canada had arranged meetings for all the sellers (remember I used to own half of a seafood company).
The Chinese buyers showed up with a PhD student who was specializing in English.
Japanese ones did the same.
Russians did the same.
France, Belgium (and these ones were using our French too) but had people to translate into English.
When Ugandans tell me that Chinese (wapi, it is Mandarin or Cantonese) rule, they make a mistake.
Others tell me Japanese rules and they also make a mistake.
I would like Ugandans to come here and tell us when each of those countries ever showed up in Uganda for Bilateral discussions and used their language?  Linguistics are paid very well.  They translate into the language the person uses and most especially into English.
My former business partner used to work for a company that generates everything into the language the person selects.  I thought it was interesting till I noticed that for English, it translates into British or American English.
To this day, I have never seen a translation engine or system that converts from Unglish to an International language.  Sure they try but words like "heya swiri" do not exist in any translation program.
Finally, I have to tell Ugandans that not once in all my working life has any manager demanded anything of me.  They have always said "Please Martha, could you handle this issue".  And they always said Thank you after the project.  If they had any issues, they always said sorry and think, these people pay me.  For the life of me, I do not understand why Ugandans think that saying Please, Thank you and Sorry is beneath them!
Let them enjoy their 95% unemployment rate among University graduates.  Please do so.  Thank you.
Information you might not like but since when does your opinion of me pay my bills?
Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton, Canada
mlnangalama@gmail.com
Whatsapp +15068716371
I learned all my manners from Bududa!  That hospital is a real Death Trap though.


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