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Poll: When you write a personal e-mail, which of these do you let slide the most?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:49
SITE STAFF
Dec 3, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When you write a personal e-mail, which of these do you let slide the most?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nicholas Ferreira

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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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Call me old-fashioned Dec 3, 2007

Let it/things slide
To allow a situation to become slowly worse.
Let someone/something slide
To not do anything about someone or something.

Following these definitions of “let slide”, I reached the conclusion that I earn my living by writing properly. For me, not to do so would be tantamount to being lazy or unprofessional, even in a personal context. I might sound stuffy or old-fashioned, but our reputations are built on even the smallest details of our personal, private and professional lives. An e-mail, no matter to whom, can be written in a warm and friendly but grammatically correct way. I may use informal language in a personal e-mail, but you’d better believe that it’ll be properly punctuated and spelled! I’m not a believer in the “anything goes” philosophy for writing e-mails. I suppose mentally I associate e-mails with letters and I wouldn’t consider writing a sloppy letter.

PS. So I don’t sound like some sort of ranting Puritan, I do use all sorts of abbreviations and symbols in text messages and when chatting on line. The variable is the limited space allowed or timeframe of “instant” messaging.

PPS. I’ve also been known to write very cryptic, hieroglyphic type messages on Post-It notes.


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Also "old fashioned" when it comes to writing habits Dec 3, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

Let it/things slide
To allow a situation to become slowly worse.
Let someone/something slide
To not do anything about someone or something.

Following these definitions of “let slide”, I reached the conclusion that I earn my living by writing properly. For me, not to do so would be tantamount to being lazy or unprofessional, even in a personal context. I might sound stuffy or old-fashioned, but our reputations are built on even the smallest details of our personal, private and professional lives. An e-mail, no matter to whom, can be written in a warm and friendly but grammatically correct way. I may use informal language in a personal e-mail, but you’d better believe that it’ll be properly punctuated and spelled! I’m not a believer in the “anything goes” philosophy for writing e-mails. I suppose mentally I associate e-mails with letters and I wouldn’t consider writing a sloppy letter.

PS. So I don’t sound like some sort of ranting Puritan, I do use all sorts of abbreviations and symbols in text messages and when chatting on line. The variable is the limited space allowed or timeframe of “instant” messaging.


Hi John,

As you must know, in Spanish, when you apply some of your profession's (whatever that is) practices to your daily life, this is called "deformación profesional" (meaning "professional obsession"), so I am definitely obsessed with punctuation, grammar, etc. when I write whatever. Like you, the usual exceptions are chatting or SMS messages.

Of course, we are only human and things may slip here and there, but I think that if you develop bad spelling, grammar, etc. habits with the excuse that you are "only writing for personal reasons", it may happen that you may have to double-check twice as much your writing when you translate/write for money.

Saludos,

Ivette


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:49
English to Russian
+ ...
It is important to write personal e-mails properly Dec 3, 2007

I find it very annoying when people use SMS abbreviations and ignore capitalization, though I'm more tolerant about punctuation, spelling slips or use of "simplified" grammar.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:49
Italian to English
+ ...
We seem to be in a clear majority Dec 3, 2007

I always write properly too. I think I'd actually find it harder to write badly than correctly. The only thing I don't do with emails is use the spell checker - apart from that I apply the same care that I use with any other document (shopping lists excepted).

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Aurélie DANIEL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:49
English to French
+ ...
"Old-fashioned" is sometimes better than the new fashion Dec 3, 2007

I love reading the forum posts on Proz because they are so well-written, so articulate, so EASY to understand! I hate it when people assume that anything goes, that's just lazy, and it's counterproductive. YouTube comments take the cake, but almost anywhere on the Internet comments and messages are simply awful.

I realize that as translators we might be slightly obsessive. But sometimes I really feel that we are the guardians of something important. How do you communicate ideas and nuances if you don't master the language? How do you master the language if its rules are optional?




[Edited at 2007-12-03 14:52]


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:49
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I use different registers when writing. Dec 3, 2007

Professional emails are written in correct English at a high register.

Personal emails, otoh, are not. I often use fragments to enunciate points, which are correct in casual, spoken English, but not in formal writing. I also use abbreviations, emoticons, and variations in font to add emphasis or to clarify that something is to be understtod humorously.

I distinguish between my personal and professional life in all other areas of my life, why not in my emails?


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Diana Arbiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Attachment? What attachment? Dec 3, 2007

I think I always write properly (yes, I think). But often, I start my e-mail with "Please, find attached...", and I would say that two out of five times, I forget to attach the promised file! I am working on it

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:49
English to Arabic
+ ...
Anyone else ever written "Regards" in an SMS message? Dec 3, 2007

I usually hate SMS, but one client, a very respectable gentleman, asked me to confirm something (regarding a job) via SMS. I started the message with "Dear Mr. ..." and ended it with "Regards, Nesrin".
I told that to some SMS-savvy friends afterwards and they made me feel absolutely ridiculous!


Needless to say, I've never done it again.

[Edited at 2007-12-03 16:24]


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Alfredo Tutino  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:49
English to Italian
+ ...
I *almost* always *try to* write properly... Dec 3, 2007

...is the option i missed in this poll

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:49
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
It depends Dec 3, 2007

...on different factors. First of all, to whom I write. If I know that the addressee does not care so much about the rules, I may slip some irregularities into my text too. So I do not appear a Besserwisser.
And it depends on the language.
In Finnish I only know standard Finnish. Any attempt on writing casual email-language in Finnish would make me look ridiculous. So I try to write proper sentences.
Cheers!


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Ieva Jirgensone
Local time: 15:49
German to Latvian
+ ...
capitalization Dec 3, 2007

don't use capital letters, no no no. only 1) where it looks better, e. g. 1st person in english - I like "I" better than "i" when it stands there alone wherever in the sentence 2) and when I think that the person I am writing to might not like to be adressed this way, e. g. his/her Name.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:49
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Properly, of course Dec 3, 2007

I always write properly, I hope.
Regards,
A dinosaur.

P.S. What are SMS abbreviations? They sound horrid ...


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:49
English to Arabic
+ ...
See if you can handle this.. Dec 3, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

P.S. What are SMS abbreviations? They sound horrid ...


Here's a sample, Jenny (just made a quick search on the net), see what you can make of it:

"a girl doesnt really wna be going out 4 some lavish meal n bowling n ice skatin is a bit boring (i agree wid ur gf there lol)
plan a group trip wid her m8s n urs some one gna *** up wid a idea lol or just take her shoppin then take her to ur place 4 a pizza n a dvd ."

Glossary:

wna: want to
4: for
n: and
wid: with
ur: your
gf: girlfriend
lol: laughing out loud
m8s: mates
gna: going to

HTH (hope that helps)
Nesrin

[Edited at 2007-12-03 17:17]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Me too! Dec 3, 2007

Alfredo Tutino wrote:

I *almost* always *try to* write properly...
...is the option i missed in this poll


My private mails are a reflection of - egoist that I am - ME!

When I translate I am trying to reproduce the style of the source text. Or to write something just a tiny bit better if the source is r*bb*sh and I have not been able to find a good excuse for refusing the job.

In business mails, I try to sound friendly, sober and businesslike. That is me at work. I have to use 'international English' and behave myself.

In private mails, on the contrary, I sometimes pull out all the stops for effect - depending on who I am writing to and what I want to say. This is where I enjoy writing most of the time.

I feel sloppy writing is out of place if I want to show people I care about them.

If I am writing because I'm annoyed - which is rare, but it happens - then acid, exaggerated politeness and almost over-correctness is a fantastic way of letting off steam. It works better than expletives and spelling errors too.

If I'm writing to the newspaper or some other forum, which I do occasionally, then I certainly want to look as if I have a well-considered argument and know what I am talking about.

I admit I am sloppy in other ways (housework for instance )

-- but when I write... I like to make a good impression.





[Edited at 2007-12-03 17:45]


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