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March 30, 2011

My 3rd Berlitz Test


Berlitz is the most popular language assessment test in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) business a.k.a. Call Center Industry. It’s a way to gauge an applicant whether his English is understandable to a native speaker of the language, like the Americans.

Berlitz is required by a lot of American companies, mostly Internet Service Providers (ISP). It’s a common requirement among voice accounts.

It works this way. An applicant/agent would dial the Berlitz Testing Center and speaks with a Berlitz Assessor. The Berlitz Assessor would read the disclaimer, which includes the statement: “You are free to agree or disagree to be tested. If you disagree, you won’t be tested. Do you agree or disagree to be tested?”. Of course, it’s always a “yes, I agree” since you won’t be tested if you disagree. And you won’t be admitted to the account that requested for the Berlitz assessment.

The Assessor would begin a conversation and usually, he ask the question “How are you doing?”. From the answers of the applicant, the next set of questions would be derived. It usually last 10-15 minutes.

The results are being emailed to the immediate supervisor of the applicant. The highest grade is C2, followed by C1, B2, B1, A2 and A1. The last 3 grades are failing grades and B2 is the usual score.

I first encountered the Berlitz language test at Sykes Asia for a US DSL account. I got a rating of B2 then.

My next Berlitz test was with Convergys, for another US DSL account. Out of 20+ persons in our batch (or wave), I was one of 3 agents who got a rating of C1.

My 3rd Berlitz test was with my current employer, for the same US company I had with Convergys. Yesterday, they already announced that 9 out of 17 in our wave passed the Berlitz assessment. I’m one of the passers (I should be! Because I already passed it twice before).

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