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Happy New Year and please stop the "please"
Thread poster: Eleftherios Kritikakis

Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:37
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Dec 31, 2009

Happy New Year to all.

Also, please stop the many "please" in emails. I just received another one from a project manager and it starts each and every sentence with the word "please", and some sentences even contained 2 or 3 times the word "please". It's not polite, it's just bad writing and annoying to "sensitive writers". Recent emails also reminded me of a failed corporate communication style of the '80s. Let's not forget this will be 2010, not 1982...

Other than that, we'll resume with the normal issues on pricings, procedures, payments etc. (same issues the agencies have with their clients) in January.

Again, best wishes for success and good health throughout 2010!

Lefteris


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:37
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
Happy new year, dear translator. Dec 31, 2009

He he... Yesterday I received an e-mail from an old client that said:
"Dear translator,
Happy new year!"

Can you top that?

Recently I sent the following e-mail to a project manager who contacted me for the first time:
"Dear < her name >, thank you for contacting me but come on, what is this 'Hi freelancer'? If you found my contact details in the ATA translators' directory, I'm sure you found my name too. We're all busy but when you contact someone to request their services, it's nice to address them by their name. Imagine how you'd feel if I wrote to you and greeted you with 'Hi outsourcer'."

She wrote back to apologize, she was very nice, but ...first impressions are hard to change.

Maria


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:37
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Please accept Happy New Year Greetings Dec 31, 2009

And please don't ban the word "please", except where there are more than one of them in the same sentence.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:37
English to German
+ ...
Please have a happy New Year Dec 31, 2009

"Please" and "thank you" are magic words. Without them our 2010 society would go down the drain.

Any translation request not containing those harmless yet important keywords will be deleted without reply. They are setting the tone for future cooperation, I am nobody's slave and I can not be ordered around.


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:37
English to Dutch
+ ...
And please be reasonable? Dec 31, 2009

Come on... first of all, different people (and different cultures!) work in different ways - what is basic politeness in one culture can be over the top in another. We just can't all be native speakers / writers of English, let alone with the same politeness preferences. Better to have one please too many, than one too little.

I'm aware that a questionmark instead of a dot can make a huge difference in tone and I can be annoyed if clients address me with commands instead of requests. But perceived impoliteness or overpoliteness isn't always intentional.

I usually hate it for instance when people keep on addressing me as "Dear Madam", but if I know that for the translators in question it's simply unnatural to write "Hi Susan" I quickly get over it. Similarly, if the language of communication is not the working language of the translator (e.g. de-es translator, English communication), I won't go frowning over unintentional unpoliteness as long as we can communicate effectively.

English is merely the language in which you and the PM do business. S/he doesn't have to win a Pulitzer prize with it. PMs aren't necessarily as language-minded as translators, they aren't necessarily good at translating or at writing, but that doesn't have to stop them from being good at their job. So, don't grumble at good intentions. Please?

Wishing you all the best for 2010,

Susan


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:37
English to German
+ ...
Well said, Susan. Dec 31, 2009

Susan van den Ende wrote:

Come on... first of all, different people (and different cultures!) work in different ways - what is basic politeness in one culture can be over the top in another. We just can't all be native speakers / writers of English, let alone with the same politeness preferences. Better to have one please too many, than one too little.

I'm aware that a questionmark instead of a dot can make a huge difference in tone and I can be annoyed if clients address me with commands instead of requests. But perceived impoliteness or overpoliteness isn't always intentional.

I usually hate it for instance when people keep on addressing me as "Dear Madam", but if I know that for the translators in question it's simply unnatural to write "Hi Susan" I quickly get over it. Similarly, if the language of communication is not the working language of the translator (e.g. de-es translator, English communication), I won't go frowning over unintentional unpoliteness as long as we can communicate effectively.

English is merely the language in which you and the PM do business. S/he doesn't have to win a Pulitzer prize with it. PMs aren't necessarily as language-minded as translators, they aren't necessarily good at translating or at writing, but that doesn't have to stop them from being good at their job. So, don't grumble at good intentions. Please?

Wishing you all the best for 2010,

Susan


Happy New Year!



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Mykhailo Voloshko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:37
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
please leave "please" in UI Dec 31, 2009

In L10n to Russian we drop English "please", which sometimes helps to squeeze the usually longer target sentences in. So please use more "please" in UI

Happy new year!


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:37
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Why season's greetings at all? Dec 31, 2009

I keep receiving e-mail from people I have never worked with wishing me happy this and that. So they have my contact details and send mass mails every December.
In an international business we should keep things formal. Festivals are private. I don't know if you are baptized, Jew, Hindu or Atheist, so I simply do not know when your year is changing. Does it matter? It's only a figure in my spreadsheet.

Of course I wish you all happiness and good success, now and forever.

Regards
Heinrich


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Tom Feise  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 14:37
Member
English to German
+ ...
Parakoló? Dec 31, 2009

Referring to the originator of this thread, in Greek the word for please has similar variants as in German, depending on the intonation.
And in English, "please" and "if you please" do have their own distinctive roles in language.
Of course, it is overused by ignoramuses, just as the exclamation mark, but hey, if someone steps on my toes in the bus or train, a quick sorry is OK, but a "please would you accept my sincere apologies for infringing on your personal space"... the offending bit is definitely not the magic word please.

In diesem Sinne, bitte nehmt das neue Jahr leicht


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Jānis Greivuls
Latvia
Local time: 15:37
Member
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agree with Heinrich Dec 31, 2009

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I don't know if you are baptized, Jew, Hindu or Atheist, so I simply do not know when your year is changing. Does it matter? It's only a figure in my spreadsheet.



These are words of wisdom.....


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:37
English to German
+ ...
What does the word "please" in emails have to do with season's greetings? Dec 31, 2009

Just wondering.



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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Dec 31, 2009

Yes, Nicole, I'm confused about the subject of this thread as well.

However, as a Brit living in the US, I'm very aware that we over-use the words please and thank you compared to Americans and many other people.

I have to stop myself from saying thank you when someone performs a basic service like putting food in front of me in a restaurant. And once, early on in my relationship with my American wife, I quite wrongly took offence when she told me "Put so-and-so over there".


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 08:37
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Please don't stop, Phil! Dec 31, 2009

philgoddard wrote:
I have to stop myself from saying thank you when someone performs a basic service like putting food in front of me in a restaurant. And once, early on in my relationship with my American wife, I quite wrongly took offence when she told me "Put so-and-so over there".


Why do you "have" to stop saying "thank you?" I'm quite American (rural Midwest) and I almost always thank servers, people who don't let the door slam in my face, and people who say "bless you" when I sneeze. Furthermore, no one in my family--husband, kids, grandkids, or in-laws--gets by with giving me an order. "I need a pen" is greeted with a smile and a "That's nice!" but no pen. "Put that over there" is greeted with my immediately dropping (or placing, if fragile) said item exactly where I am. "Please" plus a request elicits a smile and, if possible, prompt compliance.

Manners can be overused to the point of the ridiculous, of course. Sometimes my husband gets a sneezing fit, and I don't say "¡Salud!" 17 times. But I can't imagine anyone truly being offended, in a face-to-face situation, by a simple "please" or "thank you." Many, on the other hand, might be offended by its absence.

A translator's professional communications, as Susan said so well, include emails from people of assorted cultures, often writing in their 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) language. Let's be sensible, use moderation (one "please" per email is usually adequate), and try not to get prickly over things that don't matter.


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:37
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Midwest Dec 31, 2009

Manners etc.
I lived in the Midwest for 11 years, yes, people seem more polite there than in other areas of the U.S. (the most polite were in Oklahoma and Texas). More polite and considerate than in the East Coast and definitely more polite than in Club Med (that's only my own experience so far, not a general assessment - so don't jump).

I was merely referring to the overuse of "please". The email that sparked my posting contained 11 instances of "please" in a total of 7 sentences. One or two would have been enough. There's such a thing as "redundancy".
A sentence such as "Please translate the attached Word file and please convert it to PDF, but please make sure the fonts you use are compatible with our system.", especially when this phrase is surrounded by another tsunami of "please" all around it... well...
Not to mention the '80s style "I understand that you have this concern..." etc etc. Again, we' re in the second decade of the new century, not in the '80s. Please be brief. We have no life left after playing with glowing devices all day.

Amount of emails
Also, it would be nice for each one of us to invent a system which actually reduces the amount of emails. That is, we do not want to end up saying "I am sending you an email to ask you to confirm the previous email which confirmed the fax I sent you earlier which confirmed the receipt of the previous email which confirmed our phone discussion". This is a hypothetical example of course, however, my Inbox gets 61 emails per day (I divided the amount of work-related emails by 300 working days)... when am I supposed to actually work? Another division showed that approximately 1/3 of these emails could have been avoided if people did not "reply to all" all the time. Approx 30% of these emails concerned other people, not me directly.

Speed
It's a fast pace world I guess, but we have spoiled the clients by competing on speed, thus we have neglected other more important things. The client wants his job delivered on Friday, and we "race" by sending tons of emails on Tuesday... in order to deliver the job on Wednesday even if the client didn't need it on Wednesday.
We are needlessly overloading the system and subsequently increase the cost of each project, because we are increasing the time spent by both salaried employees and freelancers.

So, my best wish for 2010 would be: I wish that everyone gets the right pace and rhythm.



Happy new year to everyone.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:37
English to French
+ ...
She DID apologize Dec 31, 2009

Maria Karra wrote:

She wrote back to apologize, she was very nice, but ...first impressions are hard to change.

Come now, Maria. Don't be so hard on "dear outsourcer". After all, she did apologize. That, at least in my book, is worth something. Especially when apologies from outsourcers are usually, in my experience, a bit more rare than those from freelancers (you know, the usual "whom can you thank for this shipload of money" thing).

You never know, she could turn out to be an otherwise very respectful person who makes mistakes once in a while (don't we all?). More than that, she could turn out to be a good client with whom you may very much like working. My motto in life is always give a second chance, never give a third chance. And I can attest to second chances sometimes yielding surprisingly great results.

Happy new year!


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