TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
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.
mail to jhe -at- polydoc -dot- com