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I am trying to start a freelancing career on oDesk. One of the potential employers offered me somewhat of a dream job: it's game development for an established company. The pay seems to be right (although it's too early for precise estimates). The company's website seems rather cool, and the game I would be working on appears to live and prosper. I also made a point to ask and was told that they are using an incomplete, custom-made VCS; that sounds both awesome and horrifying to me.

My main objection is that I am a little bothered by the employer's writing style. Their vocabulary seems to be fine, but in some cases their grammar is poor, and typos are abundant. This appears to be carelessness rather than a lack of linguistic ability.

Don't get me wrong: when the job is right, I would communicate in l33t sp34k if that was the only way to get information across. I'm not a native English speaker myself, and when speaking casually, I don't really care about others' linguistic ability. What I am worried about is if I should take this as a red flag that things will go wrong in other areas of our relationship as well.

On the other hand - they're game developers, and they are probably making a great game. A large part of me wants to go there - fast, so I'm inclined to ignore my objections and accept the job.

What do you think?

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closed as off topic by Yannis May 1 '12 at 7:35

Questions on Programmers Stack Exchange are expected to relate to software development within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This isn't unique to programming, please read our FAQ thoroughly, general career questions are off topic. –  Yannis May 1 '12 at 7:36
I'm resisting the urge to go edit this post for grammar and readability. Your English is generally fine, but as soon as someone points out poor written communication, I have a tough time resisting micro-correcting their work. –  Craige May 1 '12 at 15:29
@Craige, sorry. Uh, please, don't resist the urge. I know I'm not perfect, and I'd like to improve. –  Septagram May 1 '12 at 17:48
@Septagram - I went further than I intended with it, but I think it reads a lot better now. It won't make a difference to the question being closed, however. –  Craige May 1 '12 at 18:37
@Craige, thanks for fixing my post. I feel quite a bit ashamed for making mistakes in the question about proper written English though :\ –  Septagram May 6 '12 at 14:51

1 Answer 1

Communication is the single most important factor of success in almost any project.

If there're problems, then this is a major impediment. It's already hard to communicate requirements in your native language and when you do, every colleague has probably his own interpretation of what you just said or wrote them. It's even worse when you don't speak the same language on the same level.

I once had a Russian customer who did not want to let us analyze his business, instead he wanted to supply the requirements for us. Unfortunately, he often swapped "and" and "or" by mistake, which can lead to pretty funny bugs. Needless to say the software's quality was below average and the project was eventually canceled. Everything just because the communication of requirements did not work properly.

So my advice is: If you really want to take that job and if you can imagine that you'll keep this job for years to come, then learn their language or work with them to better understand your language. Double check every requirements document in your language with them face to face.

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It depends on the project. If the job is very flexible, the customer tells only the big picture, the details are up for developer to design, solve and implement, then it's not such a big deal. The job where every single thing is told to you could be in huge trouble though. –  Coder May 1 '12 at 14:39

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