Coming back from my week-end, I sit down at my desk and look across the open space in horror. They installed a new printer, nothing scary, but given what happened last time, staying alert is the best I can do.

And so, business as usual, that is, until my colleague comes to me, asking if I could print something for him, about 30 times. I agree, and find myself having to use the new machine, almost piercing my soul with its lit up diodes. I type in 30 copies on my computer, start the printing, and then walk to the printer, keeping a safe distance just in case.

The machine beeps and shakes, and after a minute, prints a single document. I take hold of the paper and start reading. Or, "trying to read" is more accurate, I'm no linguist, but that was probably Greek. That thing printed my file, in Greek.

So I ask my colleague to do it himself, saying I'll get the paper for him. He wants to print more than 30, just to have a few spares, in case some get lost. He types the number, presses Enter, and the process starts again. The machine beeps again, shakes more, and after a minute, another single document. I hastily grab it, and wouldn't you know, it's French!

I leave, taking my lunch break in the streets of Toronto, and wonder. What number do I even need to type for the paper to be in English?


1 Answer 1


To be on the safe side and definitely get your printout in English you should enter:

44 - the international calling code for the UK, from where English originates. (Although entering '1' in Toronto, Canada may have the same effect, since English is one of its primary languages...)


30 is the calling code for Greece (where Greek originates), and the calling code for France (oui, the home of French) is 33, which is what your colleague will have typed if he wanted 'more than 30, just to have a few spares'.

Of course, this may not entirely solve your problem...

...if typing '44' actually brings up your file in something like Welsh, Cornish or Gaelic! Here's hoping it's programmed to use the majority official language of the country in question...

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ They might need to hire you instead! First the drink machine and now the printer? And quickly too! $\endgroup$
    – Auribouros
    May 3, 2022 at 10:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Maintenance man Stiv reporting for duty :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    May 3, 2022 at 10:17
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ It seems like nearly every answer is answered by Maintenance man Stiv. Keep up the good work! $\endgroup$
    – Stevo
    May 3, 2022 at 10:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You can try using 350 the calling code for Gibraltar. Unlike the UK, Gibraltar actually has a single official language which is English $\endgroup$
    – SztupY
    May 3, 2022 at 19:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What happens if I enter a number that's not the calling code for any country? $\endgroup$ May 3, 2022 at 19:33

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