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Language Difficulties - Just thought I'd share

I rent a small self-contained room where we live, plus rent out a beach house in a remote village on the coast.
Today I got an enquiry for the beach house.

The first enquiry was this. “We have 5people,do you have house for rent?” The enquiry was for a 2 week period - so that’s a lot of money. It normally only rents during peak season. There was no name, just Taiwanese symbols, so not having those on my keyboard, I had to respond. Hello…,

I responded that the house was available but I wanted to ensure they had read the full listing, understood the remote location of the house and the unusual layout of the house.

The reply came back. “We are working holiday.”

I again asked if they had read and understood the listing.

Third reply. “Want to Costa working”

Oh well. It would have been an excellent booking but in all good conscience I cannot put non-English speakers in a rough coastal town where anyone who comes from more than 4 hours away is considered a ‘bloody foreigner mate’ I just imagined them trying to deal with the 1 local shop, or the local airport where they have to shoo the kangaroos from the runway. Or the pub which is the only place to eat and where even some Australians can barely understand the accents.

Airbnb must be hard for non-English speakers - I wonder when they’re going to expand to translations etc.

It is daunting to communicate with just a translation app, not knowing if your real meaning is getting across. But in this case, I think the guest also is not answering a direct question. I’ve had more than one native English speaker who didn’t reply to messages, even though I responded to their inquiry within minutes, and they didn’t answer specific questions. It’s very frustrating. I had to turn down a large booking recently for this reason and it sucks, but imagine how much worse it would be if that person actually booked and then caused all kinds of issues because they didn’t understand what they were getting into.

Yes it’s hard, but really manners should cross all languages - Hi, my name is… please, thank you. If you can put it into a translation app to write what you want then you can put the questions into a translation app to see what the host is asking… I don’t want to dismiss potential guests just because of a language difficulty but you’re right, better a lost booking than a nightmare guest.

In some languages “please” is not part of the language. We only think it’s polite because we grew up with it, but it’s an otherwise useless word. It’s all in the way they ask and in text you can’t see that they might be smiling, or making a begging gesture, etc. Finnish is one example, the word doesn’t even exist and “being polite” is simply saying what you want without raising your voice.

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