Monday, February 21, 2011

Click, click, click

"Hey how do you type in a question mark? When I press the question mark button it just gives me a stroke!"

That's my mum trying to learn how to use Microsoft Word. She's just quit her job and after spending the day going to job interviews and hanging out with her friend, she's decided she doesn't want to be a barista any more (apparently the pay isn't high enough). She has decided she wants to work at a Chinese travel agency. My brother and I have decided that if she's going to embark on such a drastic career change, she'll need to learn how to use a keyboard. She said that the girls at the travel agencies just use a mouse, but we told her they won't hire someone who can't use a keyboard. So now, in order to help our mother achieve her new life goal of working at a travel agency, we've been roped in to teach my mother how to use Word.

This is incredibly frustrating.

My mum doesn't speak much English, let alone write much English. Things like punctuation errors ("the curly green lines") are really difficult to explain to her in Chinese. This was the sentence she typed:

If you want to purchase an item ,click here .

She was wondering why there was a squiggly green line under it. Aside from explaining to her why you don't have a space before a comma and full stop, trying to teach her how to correct it was such a chore. She would hover the cursor over the word she wanted to correct and would proceed to hit 'backspace' without clicking first.

Sometimes when you leave her alone for a few minutes, she calls you in because she can't type anything any more. When you look at Word, she's managed to centre her text and somehow change the font and size. She calls me in, asking me why Word won't let her type anymore. I click on the word document and start typing. She starts to get huffy and tells me the computer is picking on her. She also doesn't understand why there is a squiggly green line under "Note:the price is fixed".

After a few more minutes, she's finished. She doesn't want to save her work but wants to improver her speed so I'm making her type out Brave New World. I hope that helps.

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