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|Spanish to English translations [Non-PRO]|
Law/Patents / translators unsatisfied with simple answers
|Spanish term or phrase: splitting client/consumer's hairs|
I see I am not alone in the “splitting hairs” hobby/style of life.
The good thing of this site is the discussion, not the points.
Your point (or issue, to avoid confusions) is most interesting. All of us agree on this as a general rule, but let consider this:
In this particular translation I am working on now:
On the one hand, the electricity company that is buying my services is my client, and I know the people of the legal department who handle translation/contract matters;
On the other hand (or from another point of view) the same company provides me with the electricity service, and although this is a long-term provider-user relationship, I am just one unknown user among millions, and there is no kind of relationship with the people who operate the equipment;
There is no problem in Spanish: “cliente” in both cases. I know I am a user/consumer, but, in English, am a client or a customer for the company?
The way I use the words, you're a customer of the electricity provider. Not because what it supplies is a good rather than a service (indeed, some would argue that it's a service, not a good). Not because the electric company has millions of users. But rather because the nature of your particular relationship with the electric company is "faceless" (one user among millions, as you put it), with no special glue holding that relationship together.
But, again as I use the terms, another user of the electric company's product could be a client. Consider an aluminum producer that, in a deregulated market, has a choice among three electricity suppliers. If one of those suppliers lands the aluminum company and enters into a long term supply contract, you can be pretty confident it will consider the aluminum company to be a "client" and treat it as such.
It's true that purveyors of goods more likely have customers than clients. It's true that purveyors of prefessional services more likely have clients than customers. But many service providers properly-speaking have customers, not clients. Barbers, for example. The corner beauty shop. Re the latter, the proprietor may refer to her clientele (interesting that this word works for both clients and customers--there is no such thing as "customerele") as clients rather than customers, for any of a number of reasons. Because she's snooty. Because it sounds more personal. Etc.
I for one am glad that there are two words in English for gradations of the Spanish "cliente". Geez, as a lawyer I can, if I want to, even get in a subtle insult of a client by referring to him as a customer.
Selected response from:
Local time: 01:05
|As always, I have learned a lot from your wisdom.|
Thank you indeed.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
35 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +5
The OED gives the following definitions:
Client: a person using the services of a lawyer, architect, social worker, or other professional person.
Customer: a person who buys goods or services from a shop or business.
I would highlight two points in connection to this:
1. The difference, in my experience, revolves around the issue of professionality; the electricity you receive from the electricity company is clearly a good or service, as is the translation you provide for them. However, English views the translation as a service from a professional trade, but does not see the provision of electricity in the same way.
2. A minor point which is not covered in the OED definition is that both terms do not simply refer to people, they refer to companies as well.
As with all languages, there are undoubedly exceptions to this rule, but in this case you are definitely a customer of the electricity company.
Espero que esto sea de ayuda
Local time: 07:05
PRO pts in pair: 8