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Poll: I prefer that my clients call me by...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:12
SITE STAFF
Jul 31, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "I prefer that my clients call me by...".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:12
Member
German to English
+ ...
I replied 'my given name' Jul 31, 2012

But it's not really what I would normally call it. I prefer my clients to call me Mary! Mrs Worby sounds ridiculously formal to me and madam would be laughable!

 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends on background of client Jul 31, 2012

I would prefer the vast majority of my clients to call me by the name that I use, Noni. But some people might be happier with Ms Gilbert so I could go with that too. And even, if it was upsetting for them otherwise, Mrs Gilbert. They are my clients after all, and if that's what they prefer.... I'd rather be more flexible on this one and not over payment issuesicon_wink.gif

Likewise I have given up trying to explain to friends of my parents' generation that I have not changed my surname, and that my name is not Mrs Hernanz de Frutos!!


 

Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:12
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Please, do not mix "he" and "she"... Jul 31, 2012

I do not have any particular preferences, but recently a client wrote "it was a pleasure working with her" in their feedback about my work... Oh my, I did not realize my name "Vitalijus" could be that foreign to people so that they would think I am female.

So I would defenitely prefer to be adderressed in the right gender!

Hope this does not happen to you.


 

Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:12
French to English
+ ...
Other Jul 31, 2012

Maybe it's just an age thing, but I prefer the Mrs form in the first instance. It's only when a decent relationship has been built up that I am at ease with people using my first name.

And I hate phone calls from people who immediately use my first name when I've never spoken to them or had contact with them before! icon_smile.gif


 

Maria Isabel Pazos Gómez  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:12
Member (2007)
German to Spanish
+ ...
It depends. Jul 31, 2012

When I interpret it is really confusing: Germans are more formal and Spanish are informal, so sometimes I am switching from one form to the other in the same sentence. Arg!

Clients who use my given name generally are my favouritesicon_smile.gif


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:12
German to English
+ ...
my first name Jul 31, 2012

This avoids having to tell people, as flattering as it might be, that I do not qualify for the honorific of Doctor (never got a doctorate) or Mrs (that would be my mother).

In Zimbabwe, I was often addressed as Madam (colonial hangover, which persists, and in my view no longer has strong racial overtones). I did not mind this, although I did encourage the use of my first name. I did used to balk at "Sir", though, especially in face-to-face encounters.icon_smile.gif


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No preference at all! Jul 31, 2012

Some cultures are more formal than others, but, like Alison, I hate when people immediately use my first name... Is this an age thing?

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:12
Member (2006)
German to English
no pref Jul 31, 2012

but respectful and agreed. Some of my German customer call me by name and others are a little more official. But all English spoken customer are first names

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Less formal is warmer Jul 31, 2012

...but one man's stiff salute is another man's preferred choice of address. When I first came to the U.S., I noticed that businesspeople in California were far casual and would address me by my given name. No harm done.

However, my two cents on situations where gender specificity and formality may be food for thought.

1) Most Western languages, from Italian to Spanish, let you guess correctly the gender of your intended addressee: Elaine, Juan, Giacomo, Ulrich, Andrea, etc. However, I would have trouble with certain names (ie, Andrea, male in some languages) because they resemble a female given name. In languages such as Turkish, Japanese or Chinese, it's next to impossible to divine the gender of a given name, so important when calling someone on the phone or writing them a letter or email.

2) Even though being addressed as "sir" or "madam" may be justified, they have no place in any type of correspondence that supposedly is personally addressed to any of us. If a potential customer is contacting me for the first time, with no mention of my full name, a "Dear sir" ensures a trip to the trash pile.

My recommendation for (1) is simple: If your given name may make it difficult for someone not from your culture, country or language to correctly guess your gender for proper communications, just precede it with a Mr. or Ms. (at least, in English). Otherwise, if you feel offended when people mistake you for a man (or a woman), it's entirely your own fault.


 

lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:12
Portuguese to English
given name? Jul 31, 2012

What do you mean by "given name"? If you mean Christian name, why not say so?
I have a Christian name and a surname, nothing else.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:12
French to English
Out Jul 31, 2012

I have been out of the UK for over 20 years now. In France, whether someone from officialdom or a new client calls, it is Mrs Despaigne, Mrs Scott. Fine. In the UK, in similar circumstances, people I have never met, never seen, and probably never will, are now using my first name whether in writing or over the phone. I don't like it.
When I left the UK, first name terms were coming in after a few exchanges but I admit to feeling invaded when people start off with first name terms.

Clients in the field I work are generally French (99%) and will use first name terms if they know me or "Madame" if they do not. Others, who come through a common contact, or who know me by reputation in the field (nautical essentially) will use first name terms and that does not bother me at all. Sailors tend to use the informal "tu" when adressing folk in the same "milieu" from the word go. My bank manager here uses "Madame" and "vous". In the UK, I would enver want my bank manager to use my first name!


 

Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:12
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Please do not call me Jul 31, 2012

Dear Translator.

(I chose my given name.)


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Maybe... Jul 31, 2012

Alison Sparks wrote:

Maybe it's just an age thing, but I prefer the Mrs form in the first instance. It's only when a decent relationship has been built up that I am at ease with people using my first name.

And I hate phone calls from people who immediately use my first name when I've never spoken to them or had contact with them before! icon_smile.gif


Maybe it is an age thing but I couldn't agree more with your viewpoint. I also prefer emails from first time clients to start with Mr. or at least Dear (any that don't most likely end up in the rubbish bin).

I hate it when I receive an email from a first time client that goes something like this:

"Hey John, wassup man? Like we're looking for like a translator, dude. It’d be so cool if you could like, I mean, work with us dude..."

Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I have received similar sounding emails. IMO, there's always the opportunity, after a relationship is established, to work on a first name basis, not because we're pals, but simply out of professional cordiality.

In my experience, companies or clients that start off being overly informal continue being informal in all their other practices, including payment!


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:12
French to English
Age Jul 31, 2012

John Cutler wrote:

Alison Sparks wrote:

Maybe it's just an age thing, but I prefer the Mrs form in the first instance. It's only when a decent relationship has been built up that I am at ease with people using my first name.

And I hate phone calls from people who immediately use my first name when I've never spoken to them or had contact with them before! icon_smile.gif


Maybe it is an age thing but I couldn't agree more with your viewpoint. I also prefer emails from first time clients to start with Mr. or at least Dear (any that don't most likely end up in the rubbish bin).

I hate it when I receive an email from a first time client that goes something like this:

"Hey John, wassup man? Like we're looking for like a translator, dude. It’d be so cool if you could like, I mean, work with us dude..."

Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I have received similar sounding emails. IMO, there's always the opportunity, after a relationship is established, to work on a first name basis, not because we're pals, but simply out of professional cordiality.

In my experience, companies or clients that start off being overly informal continue being informal in all their other practices, including payment!





Couldn't agree more!


 
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