Rebecca
ITC disappearance is wrong move Hello, I am disappointed with and even perturbed by the recent policy change to displaying all prices in USD and request that italki reconsider this decision. At the very least, italki owes its users a clear and reasoned justification for such a move, as a simple expression of respect; no such real motivation for the shift is now available to users. Please consider the following arguments: 1) Using only US dollars does not facilitate transactions. First and foremost, expressing all prices in US dollars does not clarify prices for users. If anything, it complicates the calculation of prices perhaps for the vast majority of us. Any users who do not use US dollars as their regular currency are now forced to adapt to this value instead of the transparent calculation previously used.
Dec 6, 2016 3:08 PM
Answers · 3
I write in English purely because, as my native language, it is the form in which I feel most confident expressing myself on this matter, one I view as extremely important. My English-language expression does not mean that is the language in which a debate should necessarily occur. Given the nature of the platform as a point of connection and exchange among MANY languages, I highly encourage others to comment and debate in whatever way they wish to best express themselves. This is the entire purpose of this website, is it not?! This change is extremely disappointing because of the evident shift in attitude. Instead of the creative space of interchange among users of all backgrounds and skills, the United States and its economic culture is pushed to the foreground, forcing all others to conform to it. Making all users work through US dollars is tantamount to saying that all users should work through English: cultural imperialism in a very real form. And this attitude in a space where a creative solution existed from the beginning!! One would think that cultural imperialism should be exactly the OPPOSITE of the goals and values of this platform. As a translation professional whose business it is to appreciate, mediate and promote linguistic diversity, as a language enthusiast who is interested in culture, and as one education professional among thousands who is not based in the United States, I am shocked and embarrassed by the deeper messages carried by this shift. I invite the response and debate of the italki community and respectfully demand that this decision be reconsidered. Sincerely and respectfully yours, Rebecca Reddin
December 6, 2016
The same could be said for the website language - the availability of the website only in English would not only render the website less useful, but would be a transparent message that the most important and useful language is English, and that all other languages, those NOT chosen as a medium of communication, are somehow lesser. The existence of the website in as many languages as possible is the attitude-in-action that expresses the company's attitude. Currency is a form of economic language, and this same message come across economically as linguistically. The same argument could be extended to the website's treatment of time zones. Italki could decide to only express lesson times according to one time zone (although they would first have to select which one, even in the USA) and require the user to make their own arrangements relative to that calculation. If that proposition seems difficult and ridiculous, how is eradicating a currency solution any different? 3) The USA-centric attitude is antithetical to italki's raison d'etre
December 6, 2016
Before, the value of ITC credits were easier to calculate, understood that they were based on a 10-to-1 USD ratio in order to have practical relevance in the real economic world. Basing a unit of exchange on a real currency is an understandable necessity. That ratio already represented an advantage to US dollar-using participants because it was so simple to calculate compared to other monies. For anyone who does not use US dollars on a regular basis, the unit of credits was a creative, easy way to translate value into their own real economic lives by focusing solely on the credit value compared to their own currency. Now they are forced to deal with another fluctuating value which makes understanding their own relative currency value more complicated. It also has the potential to complicate users' payments and therefore tax consequences, students and professionals alike. I would not be surprised if this added complication results in a reduction of italki users. 2) The italki loses its sense of equal community. The change to displaying all values in US dollars surprises me greatly on a professional level as a teacher, translator, and linguist. Italki is a multi-lingual and therefore multi-cultural endeavor. The ITC credits were one extremely appealing aspect of the website because they helped users become part of a single community. A common currency -- as one argument for using USD on the website might state! -- helps create a sense of community and therefore identity. The move to eradicate the created shared space and currency of ITC removes an important aspect of commonality. Interpreting values only in terms of one denomination destroys a sense of shared space, and more importantly, of equal footing. It places the USD at the head of transactions, necessarily implying that other currencies, and therefore economic cultures, are less useful, less valid, less important.
December 6, 2016
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Rebecca
Language Skills
English, French, Spanish, Swedish
Learning Language
French, Swedish