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Eric asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 2 months ago

How to deal with people having conversations in a foreign language in an office?

Here's the thing. Kind of a long read.

Office policy does state that English is to be used, when in the room there is at least 1 person who wouldn't understand the language that'd be spoken which is other than English.

However not all team leaders and managers enforce this rule, and even the ones that do, have better things to do most of the time than to filter out who said what in what language.

Currently we are a fairly small team, however since it is a warehouse, the office is where people more involved in management are, and we are very ethnically diverse.

5 Romanians(1 Manager), 5 Hungarians (2 Managers, 1 Team Leader), 1 Bulgarian, 1 Lithuanian, 1 Spanish (Team Leader) and 5 English (4 managers, 1 Team Leader).

The reason why it bothers me is that I myself speak 3 Languages other than English, 1 of which is listed above, however I never use that language because I consider it rude, inappropriate and thoughtless, but almost exclusively the 5 Romanians constantly keep using their language and most of the time no one says a thing. It did happen once or twice that two individuals were having an almost uninterupted conversation throughout the whole 8 hours (weekend) abusing the fact that only 2 manager were present that day and they were very busy. If however I do sometimes accidentally throw in a word or two on my first language, I get immediately called out by the manager who understands that language. It's so frustrating. Any advice?

6 Answers

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  • 2 months ago

    If these people are merely chatting, it doesn't matter.

    If they're excluding colleagues from important information relating to work, it DOES matter.

    But it sounds as if they're just chatting. Why would you want to stop people who are living in a country that's not their own, from speaking their own language to a fellow countryman?

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    My perspective, not thoroughly understanding the situation there is: 

    1.  Just do your job!  If other people speaking foreign languages does not affect YOUR ability to DO YOUR JOB, then just IGNORE it!  If you want to take issue with something that doesn't matter TO YOU, then you will suffer emotionally or psychologically from it. 

    2.  If their activities DO affect your ability to do your job, then simply report it to YOUR IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR.  Then do your job.  If your job remains affected, then your supervisor is not doing their job.  If this happens, make a written complaint to the Personnel Department (or the Human Resources Dept, whatever it's called there).

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Office policy does state that English is to be used [ no , ] when in the room there is at  . . . 

  • hi
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Aren't they just making small talk among themselves ? if so, why does it bother you? maybe they don't speak perfect English and feel more comfortable speaking their native language .

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    While I find it incredibly rude and exclusionary, the company has the rule for a more pressing reason: safety.

    If a group of workers are used to communicating among themselves in Portuguese or Hindi or Japanese, when an urgent warning needs to reach *everybody*, guess what language it's likely to be in? Those who don't speak it could blithely continue their work while there's an active shooter or a fire, you know?

    So this needs to be addressed in terms of safety for everyone.

  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    just talk to your manager about it

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