I don't habla the espanol
August 2, 2011 7:28 AM   Subscribe

My phone number is one finger-slip digit away from a local middle school. This time of year in the weeks leading up to the new school year I get a lot of mistaken calls, which generally I don't mind. I simply tell the caller they are one digit off, and give them the correct number. My problem is, this year I have gotten several calls from Spanish-speakers, and I don't speak a word of Spanish.

This morning I received just such a call. I tried to explain that they had the wrong number, but they could not understand me. I wound up hanging up, and then the same person called me back five times in rapid succession. I would like a better way to deal with this, and I don't want to be a dick about it. These are parents who are just trying to get their kids enrolled in school, and all I want to do is direct them to the correct number to call with a minimum of fuss. Any suggestions? Can someone tell me phonetically how to say "You have the wrong number, this is not Horizon Middle School, please call xxx-xxxx" in Spanish?
posted by Lokheed to Human Relations (13 answers total)
Lo siento, tiene un número equivocado. Para Horizon Middle School, llame xxx-xxxx.

Alternatively you could put it in google translate, and then use the "listen" feature to hear the pronunciation.
posted by little cow make small moo at 7:31 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

The phrase you want is "Numero incorrecto." (pronounced prettymuch the way it sounds.)There's more elegant & helpful ways to say it, but this will get the job done.
posted by Ys at 7:32 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you're uncomfortable memorizing and saying the phrase, you could record a Spanish speaker saying it and play it for them.
posted by ottereroticist at 7:36 AM on August 2, 2011

Oh, and having read a little better, let me give you phonetics on little cow's answer:

low see-EN-to, tee-EN-eh oon NOO-mare-oh eh-kee-voh-CAH-doh. Pah-rah Horizon Middle School, YAH-meh xxx-xxxx.

1= oo-no
2= doh's
3= trays
4= quah-troh
5= sin-koh
6= say s
7= see-EH-teh
8= oh-choh
9= new-WAY-veh
0= sero

more or less
posted by Ys at 7:37 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Er...that didn't come out right. sry Little Cow. I was talking about my not reading down far enough.
posted by Ys at 7:40 AM on August 2, 2011

If you memorize the phrase, I'm wondering if people would think you actually knew Spanish and would keep talking to you. You may want to throw a "no hablo Español" in there.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:43 AM on August 2, 2011 [6 favorites]

por favor y gracias "please and thank you"

yes, do add "no hablo Español" quickly before your phrase to give the caller the correct number. be sure to add kindness such as the above 'please' and 'thank you' and you will be rewarded. i speak with many Spanish speakers on the phone with only key words that I know (I'm an expert at letting people know the attorney I work for is out of the office, but I can't respond to anything I don't recognize and can't give out detailed information). Everyone I speak to is very nice and polite when they know I'm at least making an effort to show them the respect they deserve.
posted by kuppajava at 7:59 AM on August 2, 2011

Response by poster: These poor people. They're trying, and I am failing. I think they finally understood "tiene un número equivocado".

I shoulda taken Spanish in high school instead of wasting my time on German. Two years of German, and all I can say is "my pencil is big and yellow"....
posted by Lokheed at 8:16 AM on August 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

No hablo español. Esta no es la escuela.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:14 AM on August 2, 2011

Also, Google Translate will say stuff for you if you want to hear it a couple of times. I listened to it and it sounds pretty accurate.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:26 AM on August 2, 2011

I think its nice that you aren't pranking them. My # is identical (just a different local area code) to a nearby church and some of my friends think I'm crazy to have never had fun with it.
posted by jeffmik at 9:45 AM on August 2, 2011

Alternatively, many phone services (both landlines and cell phones) include call-forwarding features. Put the actual school's number on speed dial, then when you get a wrong number tell the caller "one minute" ("un minuto") and redirect them.

Done properly, it should forward their call to the school and drop your phone, getting you out of the loop. Of course, this doesn't educate the caller that they dialed a wrong number, and you may end up being a busy call-forwarding service.
posted by jpeacock at 10:10 AM on August 2, 2011

You might contact the school and make sure they haven't got a misprint on their website or in their (Spanish-language?) materials. I did that once when I started getting a lot of misdirected calls all of a sudden.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:19 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

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