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Off topic: Controlling my temper
Thread poster: Noni Gilbert

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 23, 2013

I was tempted to put this under "health" since I'd love to know how high my BP went as I read this in my inbox this morning:

"Buenos días Noni,

Tienes que traducir mi respuesta a su correo (lo que está en rojo) Lo de negro lo ha escrito el interlocutor.

Para cualquier duda es importante que me preguntes, porque en esta ocasión se trata de vender formación a un país de habla inglesa (el cliente es [de un país angloparlante]). Por lo que la traducción de este correo debe ser especialmente cuidadosa y clara."

("Good morning Noni,
You have to translate my reply to his e-mail (the words in red). The words in black were written by the person I'm talking to.

If you have any doubts, it's vital you ask me, because on this occasion we're talking about selling training to an English-speaking country (the client is [from an English-speaking country]). So the translation of this e-mail must be particularly careful and clear.")

This was the first information I had about this job, no preamble beyond the "buenos días". The customer favours the straight to the point style. No explanation about who "his" refers to either. Don't you just love the suggestion about the standard of the other work I do for this company? And, by the way, to judge by the level of English of the person to whom he is replying in the e-mail that I am to translate, he is most definitely not a native speaker anyway.

Instead of letting this client know what I think of his manners, I have decided, since i don't want to lose the client, to let off steam here! Proz as a therapeutic device....


Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:44
English to Hindi
+ ...
Maybe they accidentally hit the send button May 23, 2013

It sometimes happens to me that I accidentally hit the Send button before I had finished the email text, and a cryptic, sometimes insolent-sounding email goes off to an unfortunate addressee as a result.

I usually follow up such a mistake with an apology and a complete version of the email.

Could something like this have happened in this case?

In any case, just send them off a polite version of "What? Come again?", so that you live up to your own high standard of politeness and do not fall to the level of the letter writer.

[2013-05-23 14:40 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't sink to their level May 24, 2013

Yes, I quite agree, the first thing to avoid is getting involved in a slanging match. So I have learnt to bite my tongue. In fact, despite the wish to point out that I feel the client is being rude, and the belief that he really shouldn't be allowed to get away with it, my response is to ignore it, for the sake of good relations. But I'm afraid I can't help storing it up in my little collection of grievances.

The client is something of a boor, and I can only content myself with the feeling that I have better social skills than he has. He may be the one who has got to a good position in a moving and shaking company, indeed probably as a result of his character, which somehow doesn't seem completely fair, but on the other hand, I chose my profession, and most of the time I really love it, working with my true love, language!


Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
jeez May 24, 2013

who starts a sentence with "Por lo que" anyway? Or, for that matter an e-mail with "tienes que"
Perhaps the person who wrote the e-mail should try to be "en esta ocasión especialmente cuidadosa y clara".
As though you are normally sloppy and verbose. As though your texts in English aren't usually directed at the English-speaking market. grrrr.
Yes I think it's one of those "dealing with someone socially challenged" moments when you have to breathe deeply, say "zen" 10 times, smell a flower and carry onicon_smile.gif


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:14
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It's not the wordiness, it's the words! May 24, 2013

I have just delivered a job to a client who is simply a record holder in short, direct-to-the-point mails.

But the little three-letter Danish word for thank-you is always there - it doubles up for please in Danish too.

Placed correctly, it makes the terse style absolutely friendly, and I just smile, him again...

The jobs he sends are fun, sometimes creative and always well paid... I wish you a client or two like that, but they don't hang on the low branches!


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:14
English to Polish
+ ...
Perhaps up to the point and a bit stern Jun 23, 2013

... Although I'm seeing, 'tienes que,' in the light of the Latin tenere, which is perhaps not that bad. Am I incorrect in suspecting that it's milder than an English, 'you shall,' or the actual 'you have to'?

Personally, I allow people to get away with 'must' and 'need' and in some cases, 'the client requires that (...);' however, I will generally not be talked to in, 'you have to,' syntax unless an overall informal, conversational tone makes it all right in the broader context. 'You hafta,' or, 'you gotta,' for example, would be okay.

Much depends on the author, though, as it does in your case. The fewer academic or social distinctions I see, the easier that sort of manner of speech is to ignore. I will generally confront members of translation associations, scholars, holders of prestigious degrees and so on, on strikingly deficient manners in a language they are native speakers of or as good as one. This has led to interrupted or prevented collaborations.


Yuri Radcev  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:14
Member (2012)
English to Russian
+ ...
a matter of choice Jun 24, 2013

well, you either keep on working with this client, or you tell him "where to go" (that's the way we address such things back in Russia).
your choice is Yes. relax, then.
most probably, you can handle it. for a while.
but get ready for the next stage.


Elina Sellgren  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:14
Member (2013)
Finnish to English
+ ...
What I've noticed.. Jun 24, 2013

is that Indians easily sound almost rude, even though it's probably not their intention. They get straight to the point when approaching with offers. However, if it evolves into a discussion, they are always polite.

Then some Eastern Europeans are so polite that they make me blush because I feel like I'm an impolite brute myself. Finnish doesn't have many expressions of politeness, so it's difficult to remember to use them when writing in English.

I don't really mind non-formal, straight to the point kind of style. Politeness is something more than the words and verbosity..


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