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Poll: In which language do you usually communicate with your clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:11
SITE STAFF
Mar 18, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In which language do you usually communicate with your clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Jenn Mercer. View the poll results »



 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:11
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
It depends Mar 18, 2015

I prefer my target language, English, but if someone emails me in Russian I reply in Russian. It takes me longer to compose an email in Russian, so if it becomes apparent that my email correspondent knows English, I ask if I can reply in English to messages either in English or Russian, as preferred. It often ends up with me in English and the other guy in Russian.
Same applies to German, French and Spanish (not working languages - German used to be but not for some years now), but with an even greater preference for English on my part!


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 00:11
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Target Mar 18, 2015

As of recently, I don't work with Russian clients due to the economic crisis going on in the country, so all my communication is in English.

 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 22:11
Turkish to English
+ ...
It depends Mar 18, 2015

As a rule, in whichever they language they use in contacting me (the customer is always right!). Not so long ago, I was contacted in French and made the effort to compose a reply in the same language, which I last studied at secondary school forty odd years ago. I must confess, though, that I am sometimes contacted in French by a large Paris-based agency that I occasionally work for, and I reply to them in English if I am under a lot of work pressure - they seem to understand.

 

ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:11
Member
German to English
+ ...
Depends on the country and client Mar 18, 2015

German, English, Spanish and occasionally French. It depends on the country where the client is based, although some German and Spanish agencies prefer to use English.

 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 20:11
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
it depends Mar 18, 2015

I respond in the same language as the client/PM uses in their initial e-mail. Some PMs write in French or Spanish sometimes and other times in English so I just keep to whichever language they use as I really have no problem with that. However, English is faster, simply because there are no accents to insert.

The same goes for phone conversations as one agency usually likes to phone to check my availability and some of the PMs use French, some English and others vary from one to the other


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:11
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
The problem of "source" and "target" Mar 18, 2015

In Eastern Europe, we translate in "all directions" - I have 3 target languages. I answered "it depends", but it is true that I usually communicate in one of these 3 languages, not in one of the other 3 that are "source only" to me.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends! Mar 18, 2015

English, French or Portuguese, depending on the country where the client is based, although these last ten or so years I have seen a very interesting tendency, even among francophone clients in Belgium, to choose English as the communication language…

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Usually target, but not always Mar 18, 2015

If they write to me in my source languages (Portuguese and Spanish), I respond accordingly, but as Teresa has pointed out, English, which happens to be my target language, is also becoming the lingua franca in the translation world.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:11
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It even depends for "English monolingual work" clients Mar 18, 2015

My translation clients generally prefer French, but not always - probably about 70% French; 30% English. And my main client for English monolingual editing - although based in Bulgaria - prefers French! However, that doesn't stop him sometimes sending an email in English, to which I reply in English. Fortunately, all my comments made in the files themselves are to be done in English, otherwise they'd be rather confusing to read (e.g. "J'ai mis in fact au lieu de actually car actuellement est en fait un faux-ami").

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends Mar 18, 2015

Tim Drayton wrote:

As a rule, in whichever they language they use in contacting me


Ditto

Tim Drayton wrote:

(the customer is always right!).


Hmm, not in my experience...


 

brg (X)
Netherlands
3rd or 4th language Mar 18, 2015

English.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Source Mar 18, 2015

All my clients are Spanish, so for me the quickest way to communicate them with is in their language, which should also ensure that they understand what I'm saying.

However, I occasionally have clients who like to practice their English and will insist on writing their e-mails or conducting phone calls in it, which can be quite a struggle for me, as all the aspects such as ellipsis, cultural reference, directness and slang etc which occur in (my) natural native speech have to be suppressed, which calls for extra effort.

Then again, I suppose it works both ways, because it takes me longer to draft a polite and formal sounding letter or e-mail in Spanish than it does in English... so, swings and roundaboutsicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2015-03-18 11:31 GMT]


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
In the language they first addressed you in? Mar 18, 2015

That would seem to make sense, and, even, be a question of good manners, but:

What should you do if your customer has contacted you in your language and it was very shaky? Fine if you are then able to respond in their language - even if they could take offence if they really wanted to - but communication may be at risk otherwise.


 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:11
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
It depends Mar 18, 2015

Usually in the language in which they address me.
And 90% of the time that's English

Edited as I somehow deleted the main point of my answer by mistake while posting the first time

[Edited at 2015-03-18 13:07 GMT]


 
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