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Americanization Training At An Indian Call Center

graveyard400The most marketable skill in India today is the ability to abandon your identity and slip into someone else’s.

An American spends his summer at an Indian call center, including a boot camp in which new employees try to change their nationality in three weeks by shedding their accents, gazing at photos of Walmart, watching Seinfeld, and eating pepperoni. Via Mother Jones:

I am waiting for a company cab, now an hour and a half late, to drive me across town to a call center, where an Indian “culture trainer” will teach me how to act Australian. For three weeks, a culture trainer will teach us conversational skills, Australian pop culture, and the terms of the mobile-phone contracts we’ll be peddling.

Bright recent college grads pore over flashcards and accent tapes, intoning the shibboleths of English pronunciation—”wherever” and “pleasure” and “socialization”—that recruiters use to distinguish the employable candidates from those still suffering from MTI, or “mother tongue influence.” The lucky ones will secure Spartan lodgings and spend their nights (thanks to time differences) in air-conditioned white-collar sweatshops.

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