View Full Version : In Soviet Russia, sign reads you!

09-17-2011, 05:44 PM
Posting this on behalf of my dad. Since Russia was brought up in another thread (http://www.customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?p=951502#post951502), I realized I had to share.

My dad works for a subcontractor for NASA. He's a systems admin, and he provides support to their Russian offices. As such, he must travel to Moscow a few times a year. He gets to hang out with cosmonauts and stuff. It seems like lots of fun.

Of course, Dad doesn't know any Russian. He was so nervous about going. He doesn't even know the alphabet, let alone the language (as I mentioned in the other thread, I had lots of fun at his expense when I told him not to mix up "Voda" with "Vodka"). Fortunately, support for him is just a phone call away, as he has lots of coworkers who actually know at least some Russian.

All the subway stations in Moscow look the same (and if you were to step outside, most of the buildings do as well). If he gets lost and doesn't know which station he is at, he will find a sign and call his coworker, and try to describe it to his coworker by saying "the pi-shaped one" or "the x with the line in the middle" or "the vertical line with the circle attached"...it gets time-consuming.

After describing one sign to his coworker for close to 20 minutes, his coworker informed him "That sign says 'Tickets this way.' You need to go find another sign." :doh:

Eventually they were able to figure it out. He made it home, after all.

(I don't know why he doesn't just send a pic of the sign to his CW. Maybe the data rates over there are too high. Or maybe he's not as ingenious as me. :angel: I keep forgetting to suggest it to him.)

09-18-2011, 06:37 PM
I anticipated the same problem when visiting South Korea on business. So after a bit of research, I learned how the syllable-glyphs are put together in Hangul and made a cheat-sheet to help remember the components of them. So I still didn't know any Korean, but I could at least read the signs out loud.

The Cyrillic alphabet is much less complex than Hangul, with only about as many letters as in the Roman alphabet. A cheat-sheet would be very easy to make and carry around, and then he could just read out the name of each letter to his colleague.

09-18-2011, 11:43 PM
I don't suppose NASA or many of its subcontractors have money pouring in these days (this from someone who lives in the same county as the Kennedy Space Center - the loss of the Space Shuttle Program is pretty devastating)...but you'd think they could spring for a office copy of Rosetta Stone/Russian for your dad and anyone else who has to go to Moscow on a regular basis. I know it's not cheap but geez, for a corporation? Your dad would be so much more confident and able to tackle that job if he knew the language...

09-19-2011, 03:27 AM
Dad and some of his CWs have been trying to get the company to pay for Rosetta Stone. So far no luck. That program is not cheap!

09-19-2011, 04:37 AM
No, it isn't, but it's not ridiculous either...I mean, compared to programs a lot of companies have to use (and buy multiple licenses for), like Photoshop or even one of the higher level Microsoft Office suites.

09-19-2011, 04:41 AM
After describing one sign to his coworker for close to 20 minutes, his coworker informed him "That sign says 'Tickets this way.' You need to go find another sign." :doh:

When my parents came back from visiting Jerusalem in 1985, my father told me he couldn't figure out why every single street seemed to be named "שמור לנקיית עירך". Someone finally told him that means "Keep Your City Clean"... :lol: the signs with the street names were posted on the walls of the buildings at the corners, not on the poles, all of which had signs with the above text on them.