1. Jody

    I like the last couple sentences of the EPI advice. My firm also has overseas offices, and I occasionally need to speak to somebody in one of those offices. I know that the person(s) I call speak fluent English, but occasionally the person’s assistant or receptionist answers the phone. I speak enough French and German to say “hello” and “I’m sorry, I don’t speak much [their language].” I do agree that the other person seems to appreciate my efforts.

  2. Heather

    Good advice! When I call people on the phone in Japan, and I know they speak English, I do start by saying in Japanese, “Good morning, I’m sorry but may I speak English?” It feels more polite than just launching in, and also gives them a warning about what is going to happen next.

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