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Immortal
Immortal

Internationalizing VCDX

I am sure most people reading this are aware that VCDX applications must be submitted in English and must be defended in English.  This is a weakness of the program.  The VCDX blueprint says nothing about measuring one's English communication skills, and yet to some extent we must be.  Although I have never moderated a defense panel in which I thought, "Wow, this guy would pass if only he had better English skills," many people are deterred from even attempting VCDX by this requirement.

It's been a longstanding goal of mine to improve this situation.  This is why, in another post, I mentioned that we were considering a trial program in which people could defend in German.  This does not represent a permanent change in policy.  Finding the best way to internationalize a program like VCDX is a difficult choice.  Below, I lay out various options, and their pros and cons.  I invite comments and discussion.

1.  Allow people to defend in languages in which a critical mass of speakers exists within the VCDX panelist pool.

ADVANTAGES: Inexpensive.  Relatively easy to implement in a way that is prima facie fair.

DISADVANTAGES: The process of adding new languages is slow, because it's dependent on the availability of bilingual panelists.  It's also non-deterministic.  Someone might ask the program, "When will I be able to defend in French? 2016, maybe?"  We would not be able to answer concretely.

2.  Give non-native speakers of English extra time in the defense session.

ADVANTAGES: Relatively inexpensive (panelists' time is valuable, but when they're in a defense session for a day, that is mostly a sunk cost).  Procedurally easy to administer.

DISADVANTAGES: It's impossible to document who is and is not a non-native speaker of English.  Many non-native English speakers have excellent English skills (for example, in the Scandinavian countries).  This requirement would be gamed: candidates with excellent English skills as a second language would take the time extension, and why wouldn't they?  Also, the right amount of time extension (15 minutes? an hour? two?) is impossible to know deterministically.

3.  Allow the use of translators in the defense session.

ADVANTAGES: Allows people to defend in any language for whom a translator can be located.

DISADVANTAGES: Expensive.  Difficult to administer procedurally: how would such a session be timed, especially if the translator were providing simultaneous translation?  How could we know that the translator was not surreptitiously providing assistance to the candidate?  How could we incentivize the translator to respect our confidentiality agreements?

4.  Define a certain core set of languages (English being one of several) that were the official languages of the program for the foreseeable future.

ADVANTAGES: Deterministic; easy for candidates to understand and plan for.

DISADVANTAGES: Would require the immediate and aggressive recruitment of panelists in the designated new languages, and their permanent maintenance.  Not a solution to the problem, but rather a permanent mitigation: speakers of languages not selected would remain at a disadvantage.

5.  Define the program as requiring English.

ADVANTAGES: Deterministic; easy for candidates to understand and plan for. Inexpensive.

DISADVANTAGES:  Contrary to VMware's stated intention to be a global company.  Short-sighted: at risk of being swept into the dustbin of history as other languages supplant English's role as the lingua franca of IT.

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More options?  Other advantages and disadvantages of the above?  Your thoughts are welcome.

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2 Replies
pcerda
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I think the option 3 is not so bad:
3.  Allow the use of translators in the defense session.
The traslators could be from VMware staff, so you don't have to worry about  the translator is surreptitiously providing assistance to the candidate.
I'm from Chile and my native language is Spanish.  One reason to do not take the VCDX exam until now, is my limited english communication skills
It would be nice that VMware makes something in order to make less harder the VCDX exam for non-native speakers of English.
Best Regards
Patricio Cerda
Regards / Saludos - Patricio Cerda - vExpert 2011 / 2012 / 2013
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AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

1.  Allow people to defend in languages in which a critical mass of speakers exists within the VCDX panelist pool.

This could real difficult... because you need people that can understand the language, but also the technical language... IMHO the language level must be quite high... and some counties can be excluded for this for several time (the language of course is a problem also for the candidate).

2.  Give non-native speakers of English extra time in the defense session.

Give non-native speakers an extra time in the defense session could be an option. As now in official exams.

How define who is non-native... as now... on your Country... maybe is not correct, but could be enough in most cases. And maybe also a objective criterial.

But I do not know if this may create problem with the metric used from the panelist (for example the time is really a challenge for the thoubleshooting scenario... and more time can change something).

3.  Allow the use of translators in the defense session.

The use of translators in the defense session seems good... but require a lot of extra time, and could be not simple for the design and the troubleshooting (still could mean that can change something in how the defense works).

Also find good translators is very difficult and expensive. And more in technical languages.

4.  Define a certain core set of languages (English being one of several) that were the official languages of the program for the foreseeable future.

Maybe this can be the solution (it's the same for the vSphere translation of the program), but IMHO I don't like it... it create class A and class B countries...

5.  Define the program as requiring English.

Until know was only in this way (the VCDX)... it's wrong? Maybe no. And seems that remain the same for (at least) the application.

I appreciate that the panelist does not penalize non english native people and try to speack slow and clear...

I don't know really other options... maybe have one people that can help in translation (when you are blocked) could help...

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
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