Home » The language of outsourced call centers: A corpus-based study of cross-cultural interaction. by Eric Friginal
The language of outsourced call centers: A corpus-based study of cross-cultural interaction. Eric Friginal

The language of outsourced call centers: A corpus-based study of cross-cultural interaction.

Eric Friginal

Published
ISBN : 9780549679363
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339 pages
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This study explores the language of outsourced call centers involving Filipino call-takers (or agents) and American callers engaged in various types of communicative tasks, e.g., troubleshooting a technical problem or processing/placing orders forMoreThis study explores the language of outsourced call centers involving Filipino call-takers (or agents) and American callers engaged in various types of communicative tasks, e.g., troubleshooting a technical problem or processing/placing orders for products or services. The specific goals of this study are (1) to conduct a corpus-based register comparison between transcribed texts of outsourced call center interactions, face-to-face American conversations, and spontaneous telephone exchanges- and, (2) to study the dynamics of cross-cultural communication between Filipino agents and American callers, as well as the other demographic groups of speakers in outsourced call centers, e.g., gender of speakers or agents experience and level of service performance.-The data for analysis come from a corpus of call center transactions collected in Manila, Philippines in July 2006 (N of texts=500, with approximately 553,765 words). An American-owned call center company provided the data and sponsored the corpus collection and transcription. The research design relies on a number of analytical approaches, including corpus linguistics and discourse analysis, and combines quantitative and qualitative examination of linguistic data obtained from corpus and computational methodologies in the investigation of the frequency distribution and functional characteristics of a range of lexico/syntactic features of call center discourse.-Results show that register comparison and the analysis of lexico/syntactic features of cross-cultural communication in outsourced call centers have important theoretical implications for the study of language and culture in general, and the analysis of linguistic variation in particular. By using a corpus representing the typical interaction in outsourced call centers, this study successfully describes what Filipino agents and American callers normally say and do during these service transactions. Various research findings are relevant not only in understanding the variety of English spoken by Filipino agents but also in achieving a broader understanding of the dynamics of cross-cultural exchanges in this relatively new register of conversation. Finally, the functional characteristics, distribution, and statistical co-occurrence of linguistic data presented in this study have potentially useful application in the design and implementation of training programs for agents in offshore call centers---most particularly those located in the Philippines---who serve American customers.