• C++ Programming for Financial Engineering
    Highly recommended by thousands of MFE students. Covers essential C++ topics with applications to financial engineering.
    Python for Finance with Intro to Data Science
    Gain practical understanding of Python to read, understand, and write professional Python code for your first day on the job.
    An Intuition-Based Options Primer for FE
    Ideal for entry level positions interviews and graduate studies, specializing in options trading arbitrage and options valuation models.

Foreign would-be quants and communication barrier

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
Bizarre assertion about Indians.
My job brings me into contact with every nationality, including a few states that aren't even recognised. Indians are arguably the most polite group I deal with, indeed within several major groups within the subcontinent almost any disagreeing with someone is seen as rude, which can be confusing at first.

But as it happens there is a "right" English accent, and occasionally I lapse into a form of it. It's from the area around Cork, Ireland. It's the variant most understood by the world as a whole.
It illustrates that "English" is the wrong name, < 5% of English speakers are English.
The right name is Terran, which itself is a Latin word.
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
There wasn't any need to add "like all Indians" because I know many non-Indians that resort to ad hominem insults and I know many Indians who don't. Anyways, I know quite a few people who find the American and British accents hard to understand! LOL! There is no right or wrong accent. The language belonged to the English, they ruled a major part of the world, English became an almost universal language, many countries now speak it but they speak it almost like they're speaking their own language...just accept it...thats how it is!

Yes, you're quite right. I got carried away by my indignation. There was no call for this and I apologise. Last week, however, there was another Indian here who got banned after two posts.

England rules the waves. England uber alles.
 

sunnypathak

New Member
Plate,

don't try to reason with this bigbadwolf...if he is 50, I guess he is a failure in life thats why hangs around here passing off offences, has a problem with Indians in general (as seen in his posts)..don't waste your time on such scum....guys at his stage in life cannot be reasoned with and cannot be changed..
 

sunnypathak

New Member
Actually, I changed the thread title as I feel singling out any ethnic group is inappropriate.
Also, please keep this community professional by not using personal attack, name calling.
Keep all the cursing on the trading floor, not here.

Once this thread starts to read like a flame war, we will close it.


Andy,

I am new here..don't want to degrade myself...but one has to oppose any wrong-doing specially, if its aimed at one's community, ethnicity or country of origin...thanks anyways..
 

MattNolan

Member
Honestly, the only place that I could see the language barrier being a problem for somebody is in the job finding process. Once a person has a job it is known that they have the ability to communicate at least well enough to get the same job that you have (assuming you work with them), and that alone should be enough to get past the language barrier. If you can't understand somebodies accent in the workplace, I doubt its very hard for them to e-mail you their thoughts, or for them to just type what they are trying to say, most people can type from 80-100 wpm now which is similar to the speed of normal talking (I believe 125 wpm correct me if I'm wrong).
 

DominiConnor

Quant Headhunter
"Honestly, the only place that I could see the language barrier being a problem for somebody is in the job finding process."
That's a pretty big "place"...

And it is not the case anyway. Quants have many types of job, a very common part of the work is explaining things to people, so important is it that on the CQF, some of the native English speakers have convinced me to add it to the course.

Most people in this business, are not people like you.
I don't know who "you" are, but I still know my assertion to be true, it's a very diverse business. I'm a stereotypical white native English speaking male. I'm still in a minority.

Also "job finding" isn't just changing from one bank to another, an event in the 10 microHertz range.
You also will want to move up in your firm, and in between this get the good bits of work available. Poor communication skills will hurt that.

I am wondering if your post was intended to be humorous ?
Anyone who believes that he can stay in the loop at his firm solely be email works in a very different industry to the banking I know.

Yes, you can compensate by other skills, but why make life harder for yourself.
 

doug reich

Some guy
Honestly, the only place that I could see the language barrier being a problem for somebody is in the job finding process. Once a person has a job it is known that they have the ability to communicate at least well enough to get the same job that you have (assuming you work with them), and that alone should be enough to get past the language barrier.

Well, in all fairness, the original poster wasn't talking about a specific incident; he was responding to a number of recent posts on this forum he considered substandard.

A few people have been in my office who communicate very well in English, but who have serious syntactic problems writing. Yet they got past my boss, who can be a huge stickler for proper english.

If you can't understand somebodies accent in the workplace, I doubt its very hard for them to e-mail you their thoughts, or for them to just type what they are trying to say, most people can type from 80-100 wpm now which is similar to the speed of normal talking (I believe 125 wpm correct me if I'm wrong).

It's entirely possible that the lack of experience speaking may also cloud the expression in an email. It's true that I've heard people are often much clearer in writing, but as I indicated above, I don't know that I believe it.

80 wpm? I think it's closer to half that. Especially when you factor in thinking and editing time. Plus, who wants to IM with their colleague on the same desk when talking should be much faster?
 

IlyaKEightSix

Well-Known Member
From personal experience correcting my mother's emails all the time devoid of things like "the" and "a/an" (we're RUSSIAN!), I think that foreigners also have poorer emailing skills than people skilled with English, and are equal at best.

That said, my Russian's pretty lousy, but it's enough to get around a language barrier brought up by the fact that my statistics professor sounds sort of silly in English and is MUCH better in Russian.

This is why it helps to be skilled in multiple languages--which is something most Europeans, I believe, are very good with (I think they're trilingual if not more on average? It's something I consider amazing, as I'm bilingual at best). Each language barrier you can break is enormous IMO.

And as for leaving cursing on the trading floor, will do, Andy ^_^!

It seems with this topic I've created a monster though :D
 

bloodynri

New Member
I can tell you that foreigners also have poorer emailing skills than people skilled with English.

I think its statements like that which are annoying a few people. Not all "foreigners" come from non-english speaking backgrounds. I "think" ( I haven't been to these countries so I'm just assuming, like you) that most of the schools in countries like Russia, China etc teach in their native language. Thats not the case in India and other Commonwealth countries. I'd say more than 50% of the schools there (and 100% of the schools in metro cities) teach in English - from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. I know many people who have lived their entire lives in India speak english at home and and have excellent communication skills albeit with a slight to heavy accent depending on which region of India they came from. Which brings me to another point. In my earlier post I mentioned that people speak english in the accent that they speak their native language. Now there are MANY languages in India. The hardest english accent to understand is probably south indian but thats because thats what their native language sounds like. This accent is whats highlighted the most in the western world through characters like Apu in "The Simpsons" and more recently, Rajesh in "The Big Bang Theory". South Indians form a majority of the intellectual community because for some reason, they kick *** in maths and science. So, there is a high probability that these professors you speak of may have been south indian and therefore slightly difficult to comprehend.

Now on a lighter side, does anyone watch "The Big Bang Theory"? If not, I highly recommend it! Its hilarious! The nerdiness is really funny!
 

MattNolan

Member
Big Bang Theory: Watch the show, love it, I fear I have too much in common with Sheldon though as far as his views on life.

About my Post: Post was meant to be satirical, some real facts, but not entirely serious.

About DC proclaiming me minority: White American Male, so yes, minority.

And my guess at typing speed was just from what I observed on Facebook's typing application. 50th percentile resides around 60 wpm, so I figured most quants have been at their computers enough to be in the 80-100 range.
 

Andy Nguyen

Member
I thought BBT is a movie. Now, you guys make me want to get that show in DVD and watch them tonight.
On a side note, the few Indian co-workers I met throughout my career have been very professional, smart and wickedly hilarious (like Kumar in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle)
Everyone got an accent but I never have a problem understanding them. I would worry more about them not understanding me ;)

I got annoyed more by someone who can't write proper English in a public forum more than anything. Text-messaging shorthand is a big NO-NO in my book.
 

MidasCFA

Rutgers MSMF Quantneter
Nerd by day, powerlifter by night.
matt, are you serious? thats awesome.

You are going to rutgers msmf right? Let's lift weights together. Let's get big.

I've been slacking off though so i'm probably no where as jacked as you are.
 

MidasCFA

Rutgers MSMF Quantneter
by the way, i just watched a choppy short episode of Bang Theory on youtube and it was hilarious. I'm in love with the funny dorkiness and really feel for it through my years at MIT.

Now, I can't wait for the BBT torrents to finish downloading. Let the fun begin.
 

bigbadwolf

Well-Known Member
sunshinesunny said:
Actually, its got more to do with natural human and cultural differences than any thing else. As a native urdu speaker i feel my self as fluent in urdu as flowing water but trust me urdu speakers of lakhnauu and deli ( Now india) about a century ago will think of my vocabulary and accent as an insult to their glorious language which in its real pure form is too difficult and unheard of for an average urdu speaker of modern day.

I am from Lucknow. Urdu is a dead language. It probably depended for its vigor on court patronage of scholars, writers, and poets. When court patronage vanished (because the Brits took over), the language and other vestiges of high culture evaporated. Very few people can speak the Urdu of that period. What survives is a pidgin variant. In cities like Lahore and Karachi, people are using a bastard mix of Urdu and English -- without having a clear mastery of either. I am profoundly ashamed that I myself don't have clear mastery of my mother tongue. If I speak Urdu, I should be able to do so without using redundant English words and expressions. I cannot. But there is no living Urdu literature. No living high culture that is rooted in Urdu (in fact, no high culture, period). There is no Urdu equivalent, for instance, of the "London Review of Books." Colonialism is most effective when the colonised lose their own culture and depend on the imperial power for their language, fashion, literature, and mannerisms. This is what happened to our upper- and middle-classes (but not our peasants).

For Pakistani and Indian middle- and upper-classes, it's true that the medium of school and university instruction is English -- but it's a very impoverished version of the language. It is for this reason that South Asians encounter communication problems. Not that this can't be rectified -- but it does need a determined and protracted effort.

To be fair, communication problems are probably greater in the UK than the USA: the USA also lacks a national culture worth the name, and the English used here in the US is a stripped-down version of the real thing.
 

sameer

Active Member
Boy, I thought my English was pretty good until I read this thread -- I had to google several things. ha!

Anyways, on a slight tangent (I've caught myself saying that a lot), seems like several people's egos were coming into play here....and pretty much every single person, at some point or the other, does/says something to stroke their ego (I know I do). There's an amazing book out there that talks about the ego. And not just an individual's ego, but a group's ego, a nation's ego, etc. "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle -- it's really an amazing read if you're open to stuff like that.
 
Top