French outsourcing giant Teleperformance has announced that it will create 740 jobs in Shreveport, Louisiana, in addition to its 1,260 existing employees there.
I found this story through NOLA Française and, when I read it, I immediately thought of a French-language call center, but I imagine a call center, particularly one that would be hiring Louisiana French speakers, is not all that likely. Just because the company is French doesn’t mean they need Francophone employees.
But it got me thinking, « Why not? » Part of what holds a language back can certainly be chalked up to a lack of meaningful uses and that would include not needing it to work or, in this case, really needing a different language altogether to get any work. Jobs in the tourism industry can be obvious exceptions but relying on one industry for all the French-based employment in the state probably doesn’t go too far. The possibility of grabbing outsourcing jobs that really do require Francophones would be an interesting addition.
Of course, there’s a definite dialect issue. It’s probably akin to using Filipinos for English-language call center outsourcing, or possibly worse. English in the Philippines is almost definitely going to be heavily influenced by American English as we’ve been fiddling around with their country in a big way up to some 50 years ago while French in Louisiana may not have received a significant amount of influence from International French in a very long time–according to Carl Brasseaux in French, Cajun, Creole, Houma, immigration declined a great deal after the Civil War. Instead of just being pronounced differently or phrased a little different, entirely different verbs and pronouns are also used.
Still, it seems worth it for someone to look into this possibility.