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ATM Remember Language

Why do ATMs always ask me what language I speak?
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There are lots of things wrong with ATM user interfaces, but the one that always bugs me -- why do they always ask me what language I speak? Can't they remember that on that plastic card with only one thin magnetic strip worth of readable space on it? And when I go to Chinatown in NYC, the machine is stupid enough to ask me if I want it to display text in Chinese. Are they really thinking that today, I want Spanish, but tomorrow, I'd like to try Portuguese?
crazywriter_2003, Jul 22 2003

Mentioned in passing here http://www.halfbake...ount_20Blind_20Flag
By, let me see... me. (blushes). [st3f, Oct 17 2004]

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       if this really bugs you, you need to switch banks. mine already does this.
levelin, Jul 22 2003
  

       Sure, makes sense. (Or 'Zeker houdt steek,' 'Seguro, faz sentido,' 'Sûr, le sens de marques,' 'Sicher ist, logisch! Ja!')
k_sra, Jul 22 2003
  

       Does it really matter what language you *speak* ?
DeathNinja, Jul 22 2003
  

       Surely, though, the interface itself doesn't change when you use different languages, only the language in which the interface is represented. Which suggests that anybody with a degree of familiarity with how a particular bank's ATM interface is designed should be able to plough through the transaction even if it was in, y'know, foreign.
my face your, Jul 22 2003
  

       It's pretty easy to do it in Russian and Chinese without knowing the languages, just from remembering the physical routine.
snarfyguy, Jul 22 2003
  

       <Williams>Oh, Matron!</Williams>
my face your, Jul 22 2003
  

       Maybe polyglot schizophrenics would object, but I think this is a -no- brainer! Deposit 1 croissant.   

       My ATM, btw, tells me 'It's Always a Pleasure to Serve You'. Ggggg, I love giving pleasure to a machine...
n-pearson, Jul 22 2003
  

       "Automatic Trouser Masticator"
Cedar Park, Jul 22 2003
  

       // What's an ATM? //   

       What do they call them on your planet?
waugsqueke, Jul 22 2003
  

       I've never been asked what language I speak by an ATM
simonj, Jul 22 2003
  

       They exist in large, cosmopolitan centers.
snarfyguy, Jul 22 2003
  

       ATM = Automated Teller Machine   

       In Europe they seem to pick up what language it is by your card, so they're not all just in English they're actually just recognising an English card.   

       My bank account is in a Finnish bank so the ATM always automatically gives me Finnish (which I don't really understand) - it took me a while to work out how to get money out without trying every different menu option. I wish it *would* offer me a language choice!
Taika, Jul 23 2003
  

       Perhaps a system of symbols depicting what its trying to communicate, in addition to the language. This would help you with your Finnish problem [Taika]...probably.
silverstormer, Jul 23 2003
  

       Well, yes, if they're self evident, but I can't think of symbols that would be immediately self evident - a picture of money for withdraw cash, but what for pay bills, print statement, or enter a different amount from the set values to withdraw? If they're not self-evident symbols it's kind of the same problem as I had originally with the language - you have to learn the symbols in pretty much the same way you have to learn what the words mean.   

       Of course universally used symbols would be an option, but then you might as well just use the same layout of options in every country and then you could just use the machine automatically because everything's in the same place as at home.   

       I've figured the Finnish out now though, but it would have been nice originally to have the option of changing the language into English, seeing as the machine 'spoke' English to people with English cards.   

       Hmmmm... I'm rambling now. Time to shut up :)
Taika, Jul 23 2003
  

       You don't have to shut up. We'll let you Finnish.
k_sra, Jul 23 2003
  

       If you go to a large city, you'll be given many options, but in my area your choices are English and Spanish.
darkknight_152002, Jul 23 2003
  

       //The fun thing is, that in €urope--with it's 30 or so languages--ATMs never ask for your language, you only have them in English, while in America...//   

       In Europe, everyone understands English (unless you are French - the only nation that cannot speak English as a matter of principal).   

       In America, that's not necessarily the case. I've met plenty of people who probably could not tell the difference between "withdraw cash in small bills" and "donate cash to a random charity".   

       One thing I would like ATMs to standardize is units. Once in Seoul when I had not yet mastered hanggul, I mistook the symbol "Man Won" (10,000) for "Chun Won" (1,000) and withdrew $700 - a stack of bills about half an inch thick.   

       As a solution, maybe intenational ATMs could recognize foreign (or other-bank at least) and display the equivalent in US$.
FloridaManatee, Jul 23 2003
  

       I've been asked "which language" by ATM machines in Europe.   

       But the real reason I took time to make this annotation is to fling out a bit of trivia that is currently near the top of my list of trivia for which I must somehow find a discussion in which it's germane, so I can fling it out:   

       Within the borders of the Vatican City, ATM displays are in Latin (other languages are offered too).
beauxeault, Jul 24 2003
  

       i think crazywriter just hates going to an atm knowing he will have to push a butten in regards to a redundent question, and that he will have to do this several hundred more times in the future.
Gargamel, Jul 24 2003
  

       maybe every ATM could also program your card; if for some reason you would like to change the language that the ATM speaks to with, you can. There could be a "language" butten, that doesn't interfere with the regular flow of ATM banking.
Gargamel, Jul 24 2003
  
      
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