Translations and addressing readers

Subject: Translations and addressing readers
From: Jeroen Hendrix <jhe -at- POLYDOC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 12:27:17 +0100

> It is the American way to address one another
> casually as you. Is this a problem in translations?

English is one of the few languages that doesn't make a distinction between
the formal and informal second person. In other languages, for instance
Dutch and German, it is considered rude to address someone with the
informal variant if you don't know them personally. Certainly in German
where you can't address someone with the informal "du" (a.k.a. dietzen)
until they've given you their explicit permission, as I found out the hard
way when I worked in Cologne, Germany. People who work closely together
keep on saying Sie (formal) to each other for years.
This applies to manuals and alike as well. I know it irritates me when I
'm addressed in the informal way in a manual. The writer doesn't know me,
so why does he think he can address me like he was a personal friend of
mine? It is a form of respect and professionalism that is customary here in
the old world. Something to keep in mind

My two eurocents.

Happy holidays

Jeroen Hendrix
PolyDoc
The Netherlands

mail to jhe -at- polydoc -dot- com
web: www.polydoc.com

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