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Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren (in Briefen in den USA)

English translation: Dear Sir or Madam

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren (in Briefen in den USA)
English translation:Dear Sir or Madam
Entered by: Carsten Weber
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

02:02 Sep 7, 2001
German to English translations [PRO]
German term or phrase: Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren (in Briefen in den USA)
Ich habe diese Frage zuletzt schon einmal gestellt und mich dann nach übereinstimmender
Antwort für die Anrede "Dear Sir or Madam" entschieden. Bald darauf erhielt ich von einem
sehr hilfsbereiten Kollegen aus den USA folgende Antwort:

In Briefen an Amerikaner ist es besser, das Wort 'Madam' nicht zu gebrauchen, da es hier
bei uns der Titel einer Puffinhaberin ist. Besser dann ueberhaupt keine Anrede oder die schlichte
Anrede 'Dear Sirs:'! so nebenbei

Ich bitte daher erneut um Stellungnahme der geschätzten Kolleginnen und Kollegen.
Vielen Dank!
Carsten Weber
Local time: 11:38
Dear Madam or Sir
Explanation:
I watched the exchange about your first question with great interest because I have been wondering about this problem since the old-fashioned, somewhat macho, "Dear Sirs" came into disrepute 20 years ago or so.

Here are all the other two ProZ exchanges on this subject for those who missed them:

http://www.proz.com/v3/?sp=h&id=42307&keyword=Sehr geehrte D...

http://www.proz.com/v3/?sp=h&id=82512&keyword=Sehr geehrte D...

Personally, I now use "Dear Madam or Sir" as a sort of least of 27 evils.

This is just my own opinion, but I do not think the word "Madam" makes everyone think of a brothel. There are two reasons for this:

1. The lady in charge of a brothel is "a/the madam" with an article and not normally capitalized.

2. "Madam" has been the female equivalent of "Sir" for hundreds of years and is used all over the English-speaking world as a polite form of address for a female. The waiter in a good US restaurant still says, "This way please, Madam." just like he says, "This way please, Sir."

There might, just might, be one more possibility for use when we do not know a name, when we do not know how many people are involved and when we do not know whether women or men or both are involved:

"Gentlemen" has been an accepted US alternative to "Dear Sirs" for some time now, so it might also now be possible to use the term "Ladies and Gentlemen" for the salutation of a letter as well as the conventional use at the beginning of a speech. I admit though that I have never seen this used in a letter.

I am looking forward to reading the other suggestions.

HTH

Dan
Selected response from:

Dan McCrosky
Local time: 11:38
Grading comment
Thank you so much for your comprehensive answer. I feel now confirmed to keep using "Dear Sir or Madam".
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
na +1MadamAnita Millar
na +1Dear Madam or Sir
Dan McCrosky
naDear Customer (etc.)
Tom Funke
naDear Sir or Madambhpirch
naDear Sirs, / Ladies and Gentlemen,
Alexander Schleber
naSir,
Maya Jurt
naDear Sirs
Thomas Bollmann


  

Answers


8 mins
Dear Sirs


Explanation:
Ich würde einfach "Dear Sirs" oder "Dear Gentlemen" nehmen, das scheinen die Amerikaner am meisten zu mögen


    eigene Erfahrung
Thomas Bollmann
Germany
Local time: 11:38
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 92
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11 mins
Sir,


Explanation:
kurz, anonym, allgemein akzeptable, ausser für Feministen.

Other possibility, a but more courteous: Ladies and Gentlemen.

Maya Jurt
Local time: 11:38
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 545
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

14 mins peer agreement (net): +1
Madam


Explanation:
Natürlich darf man in Amerika Dear Sir or Madam schreiben. Ich bin in amerikanischen Restaurants auch als "Madam" angeredet worden, und ich glaube nicht, dass man mich mit einer Puffmutter verwechselt hat.

Anita Millar
Local time: 10:38
PRO pts in pair: 68

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Andy Lemminger: :-)
10 mins
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18 mins
Dear Sirs, / Ladies and Gentlemen,


Explanation:
In letters directed to a defined address "Dear Sirs," will normally be used.

In speeches, or in publicity letters directed to a large number of addresses, "Ladies and Gentlemen" will be a more common useage (in my opinion).

HTH

Alexander Schleber
Local time: 11:38
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2214
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

38 mins peer agreement (net): +1
Dear Madam or Sir


Explanation:
I watched the exchange about your first question with great interest because I have been wondering about this problem since the old-fashioned, somewhat macho, "Dear Sirs" came into disrepute 20 years ago or so.

Here are all the other two ProZ exchanges on this subject for those who missed them:

http://www.proz.com/v3/?sp=h&id=42307&keyword=Sehr geehrte D...

http://www.proz.com/v3/?sp=h&id=82512&keyword=Sehr geehrte D...

Personally, I now use "Dear Madam or Sir" as a sort of least of 27 evils.

This is just my own opinion, but I do not think the word "Madam" makes everyone think of a brothel. There are two reasons for this:

1. The lady in charge of a brothel is "a/the madam" with an article and not normally capitalized.

2. "Madam" has been the female equivalent of "Sir" for hundreds of years and is used all over the English-speaking world as a polite form of address for a female. The waiter in a good US restaurant still says, "This way please, Madam." just like he says, "This way please, Sir."

There might, just might, be one more possibility for use when we do not know a name, when we do not know how many people are involved and when we do not know whether women or men or both are involved:

"Gentlemen" has been an accepted US alternative to "Dear Sirs" for some time now, so it might also now be possible to use the term "Ladies and Gentlemen" for the salutation of a letter as well as the conventional use at the beginning of a speech. I admit though that I have never seen this used in a letter.

I am looking forward to reading the other suggestions.

HTH

Dan


Dan McCrosky
Local time: 11:38
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1541
Grading comment
Thank you so much for your comprehensive answer. I feel now confirmed to keep using "Dear Sir or Madam".

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Anne Sykes: Dear Sirs is no longer acceptable in AE. Dear Sir or Madam or Ladies and Gentlemen is best.
17 mins
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2 hrs
Dear Customer (etc.)


Explanation:
I haven't see the prior exchange but Dan is right and I agree that Dear Madam (especially in combination with with Dear Sir) would not be objectionable. After all, "Yes, Ma'am" or "Thank you, Ma'am" is still in fairly common use in courteous everyday exchanges.

(AltaVista [English:] The number of documents that contain your search terms: yes ma m 284 • yes ma am 12448 • yes sir 145724

But in US marketese at least, an often preferred alternative is to follow Dear... by a noun that appropriately groups the addressee, such as Dear Customer, Dear Shareholder etc. -- made all the easier since in English such forms of address are gender-neutral.

Tom






    US marketing experience
Tom Funke
Local time: 05:38
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 2419
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5 hrs
Dear Sir or Madam


Explanation:
Having lived in the US for almost 30 years, I feel that the correct way to address "Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren" is still "Dear Sir or Madam". The children are taught very early on to show respect to the elder and must use(especially in the South)Sir or Madam when responding to adults. Such as: "Yes, Ma'm or Yes, Sir". This is the proper etikette. The same applies to letters. Today, many large corporations are headed by women, and many women hold important positions in companies, therefore, to address a letter by just saying "Dear Sir", "Sirs", or "Gentlemen" is inappropriate in today's world. Unless you know for sure that you are dealing with a male only, please use the correct form of "Dear Sir or Madam".
And for speeches, definitely:
"Ladies and Gentlemen", if women are in the audience.
Beate

bhpirch
Local time: 04:38
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in pair: 73
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