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Get paid for being native English?

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I received a phone call yesterday asking if I was interested in getting paid 150RMB for about 40 minutes of reading out English phrases. I accepted.

So at 5pm today, Beth and I (because they asked me to bring another female native English speaker, if I knew any) arrived at the address I was given, and were each led into a small room, equipped with a nice big TV screen and an Xbox Kinect. We only had to read out the English that appeared on the screen, in order for us to be recorded. The ‘phrases’ were more like commands someone might say to activate something, or as a search, for example:

  • Open Youtube
  • Batman The Dark Knight
  • Find Justin Bieber’s new album
  • Download Batman games
  • Find all movies directed by Steven Spielberg
  • Watch Batman trailers
  • Find apps like Oxford English Dictionary
  • I’d like to hear The One That Got Away
  • Batman Arkham City
  • Go to Facebook and sign in
  • PG-13 only
  • Gotham City Impostors
  • Show me movies directed by Pedro Almodovar

You get the picture. Batman featured a lot, as did Superman, Spiderman, Modern Warfare 3, Fifa… Boys and their games, eh? There were 3 ‘sessions’ we had to complete, and each session consisted of 135 of the above types of ‘phrases’ that we needed to say aloud to be recorded. Amongst all of these, however, I was suddenly faced with ‘lmfao’. That caught me out. And just as I got back into them again, I was required to say “I’m sexy and I know it”. No comment.

Thankfully, there were no more of those, and there was also no one in the room with me, as we were left to complete the recordings in private. I was reassured afterwards, anyway: “just sign here to say that you understand we might use these recordings, but that we will protect your privacy blah blah blah…”. Yes, he actually ended that sentence by saying ‘blah blah blah’ to me. Oh well. This is China, and anything goes. I accepted the money, signed my name, and then proceeded to watch Beth, through the little bit of glass that allowed me to see into her room, doubled over on her chair laughing as the word ‘ridiculousness’ showed on her screen.

I’d take a job like that though – by simply being a native English speaker, born and raised in the UK, and getting paid for, talking, essentially? I’m sold!

On a totally different note, I now have a Xinjiang travel buddy, as Beth also bought a ticket (albeit one-way), after discovering my plans to go there! We were looking at some basic phrases of the Uyghur language which is spoken there, and which looks almost similar to Turkish, like ‘Yakshimasiz’ (how are you?), and new procrastination is going to be reading up and finding out about Kashgar and the surrounding area.

Sounds exciting so far!


About Ibtehaal

I graduated with a degree in Chinese and Economics, which involved spending a year studying Chinese in Beijing. This turned out to be the hardest but most rewarding thing I think I have ever done. I've now returned to China for another year, to study in Shanghai and figure out my next steps.

3 responses »

  1. GUAHAHAHA! Does this mean there’s a recording of you saying ‘I’m sexy and I know it’ floating around?! 😛

    What an awesome reason to get paid!

  2. Pingback: Maybe “Keep Calm and Speak English” is a good slogan after all… | yibi

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