For the Millionth Time, I Speak English

Why doesn’t my bank know what language I speak?

I’ve held an account with this bank for about fifteen years, and yet every time I visit an ATM machine, I must select my language before proceeding with the transaction. The choices are “English” and “Spanish”.

For the sake of argument, let’s disregard the fact that only 13% of the United States population speaks Spanish, compared to 82% for English according to Wikipedia.

Let’s not even consider that in the suburban, white, yuppie community in which I live, those percentages are surely skewed even more in favor of English (I’d guess 99%, but I confess I have no actual data to back that up).

So, dismissing the fact that most people speak English, why the hell doesn’t my bank know that I, Mattdude, who has used this very ATM hundreds of times, speak English, even though I’ve selected English each and every time? Nevermind that all communications between myself and my bank over the past fifteen years have been in English, you would think at the very least the system could “remember” my choice from the last visit and automatically select English. Perhaps it could include a secondary option lower on the screen to change the language, you know, just in case I became a fluent Spanish speaker since my last visit.

We’re not talking about profoundly complex algorithms here. This is the most basic of interface issues which millions of developers, large and small, have already grasped. There’s simply no reason a large institution can’t do the same.

As if to mock me further, the newer ATMs in the area display a “Checking for preferences” message before beginning the transaction, and then proceed to make me select a language. Lol.

For the Millionth Time, I Speak English

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