Game Producer Christmas Calendar – Day 4 (Lousy Wizard Who Couldn’t Spell His Name)

In the 4th day of game producer calendar, I’m going to reveal one thing about me. Today I got a call where I needed to speak English. I can write decent English, and can speak well enough to make my point, but there’s one tiny problem I have with spoken English: the alphabetic (especially listening to somebody spelling something).

When the call came, I confirmed my account number by saying the numbers one-by-one, and after I put effort into spelling my email address eventually I managed to say the whole address letter by letter. I felt like a lousy wizard who couldn’t spell his name, but I did it!

In one other call I needed to spell my name and the next time this person greeted me he used the word “Husso” (that’s pretty close to “Juuso”…).

And let’s not even go to the situation where once I couldn’t figure out what the persons email was, and he started spelling it to me… I didn’t have a clue what his name was no matter how hard he tried. I suppose this can be a tricky situation for others who aren’t native English speaking people, and won’t get easier before one puts effort into using & learning more.

My way for survival so far has been humor & honesty: works much better if you admit that you don’t have a clue what the other is saying (and perhaps make a small joke of it) rather than trying to fake it. (Works not only in spelling but in many, many other things in life and game production)

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. “Conclusion: English sucks….? :)”
    Sounds reasonable to me.

    “Finnish is much easier: every letter is pronounced & said the same way… ;)”
    It’s a good thing that lots of other languages are the same in that respect. That’s why I’m glad that English is my first language; I can learn all the others a lot more easily than others can learn mine. :D

    I feel sorry for people learning English as a second language.

  2. People always get my surname incorrect so I always spell it. Also someone called me Jane today :-)

    Actually when people spell things out to me, I often need to slow them down as I find it hard to translate the letters I hear into ones I type/write for some reason, and I’m English!

  3. I also have one of those names that people never get quite right without me spelling it out. And my last name starts with a non-english character that you were told when you started school was called “A with a little circle” in English. Err… I think I’ll settle for just a plain and simple “A” thanks. :D

  4. Jake: Yeh, I’m doing that but after 5th time it starts to feel crazy ;) Anyways, I don’t feel bad about it and like in game development, there’s alternative routes. For example, I can tell people that hey “how about you email me at juuso ad gameproducer botspammerswon’tcatchthis net” or send an SMS containing your email etc… so things are fine.

    And no, I don’t feel bad about this :)

    I just feel sorry for you who are native speakers, Finnish is much easier: every letter is pronounced & said the same way… ;)

  5. I find that games that make a quality joke out of the implementation limitations of the games are better. I’d rather get a chuckle out of something than frustration.

    As for the spelling, don’t feel bad. It has taken me a long time to get good at spelling in English, and I’m a native speaker. I much prefer Japanese.

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