Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vonage Phone Service and My Dad

Vonage is a phone service that goes via the Internet and thus keeps costs low. They also offer the additional service of transcribing or translating voice messages into emails. At most times, they do a fine job but somehow get terribly confused where other languages especially Hindi or Urdu are concerned. Added to this is also the hard time they have in understanding my Dad’s messages. My father leaves these long winding messages, which even I can’t understand; he mumbles and fumbles, forgets half way what he’s been saying and leaves sentences hanging half way somewhere. Vonage is incapable of picking up dropped stuff.

Meanwhile, my Mum is on the other extreme end of the spectrum; she refuses to leave any messages but insists on calling every two seconds! I know my Mum called because I see red lights blinking furiously on my answering machine, however when I replay, there are yawning silences interspersed with sighing, bits of coughing and some oofs and ooffo and chhh sounds (all very familiar Indian sounds of displeasure). Vonage cannot translate these silences, nobody can. 

Vonage Phone Service struggles with trying to decipher what my father says. I don’t blame them; my mother, my husband, my children, my sister and just about everyone I know have a similar refrain of complaint, ‘What is he saying?’ So, yesterday, my birthday came around, my parents forgot (for which they will pay dearly with some extra cash) and my Dad tried to make up by leaving oodles of blessings and loads of good wishes. In the process, he left total mayhem in the phone service and its struggle to translate his speech. Below is what Vonage thought my Dad said. From what I gathered and heard, this is not what my Dad said.

"Father Dan there-dad-vodka-and-orange (?) just wanted to see you. Hey happy birthday. May God bless you. When you go down and then lot of prosperity. Right you-go (?) up it's like a little about that (?) I'll be done (?) I'm calling you at home. I love you, may not be able to get you in your ticket as it is. God bless you again-once (?) bye bye."     (Brought to you by Vonage)


  1. Thanks for your kind words. Sorry about the delayed answer - I'm an I.T. moron and a friend just stopped by and showed me how to respond to comments. I would gladly post on All voices. What is all voices, and what do you think I should post on it? The e-mail you sent to me was a bit confusing - should I copy and paste one of my posts from thecamelshumpblog or something new?
    Also,my buddy set up a tool, "subscribe" at the bottom of each of my posts. If you tap on it, you will be alerted when i post something new.
    Thanks again. Be well.

  2. Oh wow... yeah, that makes no sense at all! I wonder what would happen if you translated that back, then back to English again. I wonder how many translations it would take to wind up with something that is either just a jumble of miscellaneous words, or a long, meaningful dissertation. You could probably come up with story ideas doing that! :)