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Poll: Which language do you use most often to communicate with your clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:06
SITE STAFF
Sep 3, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which language do you use most often to communicate with your clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Julianne Rowland

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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RichardDeegan
Local time: 00:06
Spanish to English
What else? Other: Their language Sep 3, 2008

What else? Other: Their language

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:06
Italian to English
+ ...
Top source language Sep 3, 2008

Most of my clients are Italian, so that's what I communicate in. It's English for all the rest.

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abdurrahman  Identity Verified
United Arab Emirates
Local time: 09:06
English to Arabic
+ ...
English Sep 3, 2008

Hello Colleagues,

I think English is the most common language both translator and client used to communicate with each other. Although I'm very proud of my language "Arabic". I prefer to communicate with my clients in English, even if they are Arabs.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:06
English to French
+ ...
English Sep 3, 2008

'Much as I hate to admit it, English really is the lingua franca of business. I believe English is a threat to other languages at the moment. However, I wouldn't want to use anything else with clients. All of them speak English, and in many cases, they don't speak the source/target language, so it's not much of a choice.

I am a bit wary of the results of this poll. Some people will answer 'target', some will answer 'source' - but how many of those answers actually come down to English? I mean, some people who answer 'source' may think that the factor determining their use of that language is that it is their source language, whereas in many cases it may just be that that language happens to be English simply because it is understood by pretty much everybody in the industry, not because it is the translator's source or target language.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Flemish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 3, 2008

They can choose between Dutch, French, German, English or Spanish.
Italians and Portuguese speakers can write/speak either Italian or Portuguese, but I'll answer them in Spanish.



[Edited at 2008-09-03 18:14]


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:06
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
But... Sep 3, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

'Much as I hate to admit it, English really is the lingua franca of business. I believe English is a threat to other languages at the moment. However, I wouldn't want to use anything else with clients. All of them speak English, and in many cases, they don't speak the source/target language, so it's not much of a choice.

...


But how about Québec? Do you think a government needs to protect the most spolen language? I'm thinking at Québec, Euskadi and Catalunya just to name three.

Nice day...I mean Bonsoir!


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 01:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Exactly... Sep 3, 2008

RichardDeegan wrote:

What else? Other: Their language


It's a simple question of good business manners.

The only exception is my invoices - they are sent in (one of) the national languages of whichever country I happen to be living/working in at the time. For example, I currently send invoices in Spanish to all clients - even those for whom I'm doing French to English translations.

MediaMatrix


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends Sep 3, 2008

For new clients, I reply in whatever language they used when they contacted me (or, for posted jobs, the language in which they posted the ad). Sometimes, I'll switch if I get the impression that the language they chose is inordinately difficult for them.

I used to use the language of the client's country, but that's not always a good idea. Particularly in Spain and in the U.S. (two of my main client bases), many translation businesses are run by recent immigrants. Guessing at their native or preferred language is almost impossible.

In practice, I correspond with about 2/3 of my clients in English, and most of the rest in Spanish or Catalan. On rare occasions, I'll correspond in French or Portuguese (though I have few clients who are native speakers of those languages).

One of my Portuguese clients is fluent in English. When we write to each other, we each usually write in our own language.

I always generate invoices in the language of the client's country or region, on the rationale that the people who handle the accounts and payments may not be multilingual.

[Edited at 2008-09-03 19:04]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:06
English to French
+ ...
Slightly off topic: Things aren't what they seem Sep 3, 2008

Yaotl Altan wrote:

But how about Québec? Do you think a government needs to protect the most spolen language? I'm thinking at Québec, Euskadi and Catalunya just to name three.


French and English are pretty much at parity right now in Quebec, strange as it may sound. Even worse, if we were to combine the number of unilingual English speakers and the number of bilinguals and allophones who speak, among other languages, English, then English wins hands down.

The official language of Quebec is French. We get more or less 50,000 immigrants in Quebec each year (85% of whom decide to settle in Montreal, the city I live in). Most of them prefer to find a job instead of accepting the free French courses they are offered (can't blame them, since they wouldn't get an acceptable revenue if they chose to take the course), so most of them never really learn French. Many of these immigrants already come to Quebec wanting to learn English (many of our immigrants here consider they are coming to America, not to Canada or to Quebec). When I go to the corner store, 9 times out of 10, I am served by a person who speaks either only English or who speaks neither English nor French (and I live in one of the more francophone neighbourhoods, too).

Companies are not required to use French as a working language - only companies with more than 50 employees are required to use French, and even so, only with their clients, not internally. Immigrants have access to free government programs such as work placement programs - in English.

So, yes, Yaotl, the government needs to protect the language. Not through a language police as they are currently doing it, but rather through education. I recently found out that 85% of native French university students fail the standard high-school level French test. Many of those university students study in education. They will one day become our elementary school French teachers. Do the math.

I am ashamed...

[Edited at 2008-09-03 18:58]


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:06
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Merci Sep 3, 2008

Viktoria:

Thank you very much for your kind and detailed reply.

Well, Québec is a place where I'd like to live...particularly because I know its is not in the USA but I agree....many immigrants think Canada is part of their southern neighbour.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Their language Sep 3, 2008

I communicate in the language my clients address me in. Some of them know my other language, and some of them don't.

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Andrea Incarbona
France
Local time: 07:06
English to French
+ ...
My target language (mother tongue) or English Sep 3, 2008

For the poll, I chose "Top source language".

Ideally, I would prefer to communicate with my clients in their language but I am complexed when it comes to speak and write in my second source language -German- so I tend to use English even with German speaking clients. The problem is it introduces doubts about my ability to understand and translate German into French (though I am qualified to do the job).


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 07:06
English to German
+ ...
It depends on the client Sep 3, 2008

GoodWords wrote:

I communicate in the language my clients address me in. Some of them know my other language, and some of them don't.


This also applies for me


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