How do I say or write, "You have the wrong number, please stop calling" in Vietnamese?
August 31, 2010 7:05 AM   Subscribe

How do I say or write, "You have the wrong number, please stop calling" in Vietnamese?

Almost two years ago I changed my cell phone number, and ever since then I've been getting semi-regular phone calls and occasional text messages from Vietnamese strangers who do not speak or seem to understand English. They call in waves -- I'll go a month or so without hearing from them, and then over the space of a couple of days I'll get a bunch of phone calls from them, usually late at night. (Last night it was 3:46 am. Thanks, pal.) Every time they call I tell them they have the wrong number but they keep calling. Sometimes they'll send texts, but I haven't had one for months.

I've looked all over the internet trying to find a phonetic guide for simple phrases in Vietnamese, such as "wrong number", or how to write "You have the wrong number" in Vietnamese so I can text them instead, but no luck. Please hope me, AskMe! I'm on the verge of doing my very best Sam Kinison impression at the next poor hapless caller.
posted by palomar to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: offers the following:

"Quý vị có sai số. Xin vui lòng dừng lại gọi điện thoại cho tôi."

There's a pronounce button next to it. I had to do this in French awhile back for a wave of calls that kept coming in from Côte d'Ivoire. It was remarkably effective.

Good luck!
posted by jquinby at 7:33 AM on August 31, 2010

Best answer: I don't have an answer, but a suggestion. It might also be worth learning how to say "I do not speak Vietnamese. This is the only thing I know how to say," in order to head off any future/further requests for clarification.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:48 AM on August 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

As a white guy with lots of Vietnamese family, I would
just like to mention that you probably have zero chance of pronouncing the phrase in jquinby's comment correctly, even if you listen to native pronunciations. It's really difficult to get the tones correct and they will likely not understand you at all.
posted by gnutron at 7:56 AM on August 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I asked a Vietnamese co-worker:

xinh loi nhung anh (if it's a man)/co (if it's a woman) lon so roi.
I am sorry but you have the wrong number.

Yeah I have no idea how to pronounce it, but you could try texting that.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:03 AM on August 31, 2010

If it's often the same numbers, is there a reason you can't just block those numbers? Most modern cell phones have an option like this.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:07 AM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Same thing just started happening with my boyfriend last night.
Three calls in about 5 hours. I think they may be Chinese, though.

-tell them you don't speak Vietnamese instead of "you have the wrong number"
-block the number
-change your phone number
posted by KogeLiz at 8:14 AM on August 31, 2010

I would think that if you start yelling in English they would probably get the idea that you are not who they are trying to contact eventually.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:35 AM on August 31, 2010

I love the "block caller" option in Google Voice. This sort of thing is never a problem for me.
posted by jrockway at 9:09 AM on August 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone -- I think my best bet is to try texting any callers, since getting my mouth around the Vietnamese language is more than a little challenging. Big thanks to jquimby, .kobayashi., and L'Estrange Fruit for phrase suggestions.

I can try blocking numbers, but they're rarely the same numbers so that's probably not going to be too effective. It's worth a shot, though.

And BobbyDigital -- I've been talking to them in English for 2 years, with occasional yelling when I've lost my cool. Clearly that hasn't worked, or I wouldn't be asking for help here. :)
posted by palomar at 9:27 AM on August 31, 2010

I suffered a similar bout of Vietnamese callers. For about 6 months I got calls at all hours, from a variety of numbers in Southern CA and in OH, that seemed to be always saying the same thing. Protests that they had the wrong number were totally ineffective. Then they started texting me, and it became clear they were trying to get me to buy a phone card. I texted them back that I was going to report them to the FCC for harrassment. That did the trick: no calls since.
posted by philokalia at 11:07 AM on August 31, 2010

There's a slight chance French will work on Vietnamese callers and it's easier for you. At least, yry saying "Vous avez le mauvais numéro" and see what that gets you.

(Voo za vay le mo vay noo may ro, if you don't know French.)
posted by zadcat at 2:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fun fact: it's mainly older Vietnamese who will know French; the younger generation haven't picked it up (which makes sense historically speaking).
Anecdotal but with some basis in my reality as my company works with Vietnamese contractors for a few languages, and it's been unexpectedly difficult to find Vietnamese techies who speak French.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:14 PM on September 1, 2010

Yes, I knew about the colonial thing, but thought maybe it was just possible. I'd try it, anyway.

"Vietnamese techies" – you mean folks there, or in Montreal? My experience is that, like most immigrant groups, all the younger folks speak French.
posted by zadcat at 4:41 PM on September 1, 2010

The folks in question are in Vietnam.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:49 PM on September 1, 2010

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