"Yeh beech waala button teen baar dabaana hai, fir yeh waale button se is cheez ko doosre number pe laana hai, fir yeh waala button tab tak dabaate raho jab tak jo channel set karna hai wo na aa jaye, fir is beech waale button ko dabaate raho jab tak menu chala na jaaye"**
WheW!! That was me teaching my maid servant how to tune channels in her TV set.
More than 85% of India's population lives in the rural areas. Of the remaining which live in the cities, a large chunk cannot read/write in English. Thus, it can be safely assumed that a HUGE consumer base (~90%) in India is not familiar with the language of the queen.
Why then, do all the consumer electronic goods have instruction manuals, remotes, online menus, etc. in English?
I realized this fact when my maid servant asked me to teach her how to tune channels in her TV set and the entire procedure mentioned above had to be repeated for Channels #1, #2 and #3 till she mastered it!
I checked out the language options on the TV and the menus were available in either English or Vietnamese! WTF? IIRC the TV was some weird brand ("Igo" or something) - but come on, Vietnamese? In place of Hindi? For a product in India?
The other tough part was the remote control. None of the button were marked in Hindi. So she has to remember them by their shape or position - "Beech waala, gol waala, side waala, oopar waala, neecha waala..." - you get the point.
With almost all the companies targeting rural markets, a serious thought should be given to remote controls with markings in both, Hindi and English, and online menus in Hindi by default (so that one doesn't have to call in the service engineer to change the language).
It was sad to explain a very literate and educated woman how to operate the TV in such a way.
PS: Just before posting this entry, I checked out my Sony Trinitron. It has a remote control with only English markings and language options for the menus are - English and Arabic!
**Translated to English - "Press this button in the center thrice, then press this button to get this thing to the second position, then keep pressing this button till you get the required channel, finally press the button in the center again to make the menu disappear" :-D