First names (was: SIGNIFICANT OTHER)
translation at BILLIONBRIDGES.COM
Fri Apr 12 19:56:10 UTC 2002
In Canada we must be behind the curve on this, because
telemarketers here usually use either Mr./Mrs. Surname or
Mr./Mrs. Full Name.
In my work as a freelance translator I do a fair amount of
business correspondence by email. If I receive an email
where I'm addressed with a title I tend to follow suit in my
reply. However, initial emails from most of my American
clients tend to have a simple salutation: "Hi:". I assume
this is because they may not have picked out my name
from my website, and couldn't imagine writing "Dear Sir/Madam:".
At the bottom of the emails they tend to write their full name
without a title, so when I reply I usually begin: "Hi Robert:",
for example. We then use first names in all subsequent
I always use titles in my Chinese correspondence, though
the ubiquitousness of English means that some of my
Chinese speaking clients will end a message simply with
the English first name that they have given themselves,
written in English. They're well aware of American informality,
so I respond in kind without any worries.
One thing I cringe at is food servers who bounce up to a
table of men and women aged 18 to 80 and gregariously
announce: "Hi guys, I'm Wendy, I'll be your server tonight.
Can I get you guys anything to drink first?"
> > I suppose it's purely a generational thing. Or does class
> > play a role? Did it come in with telemarketing, or did
> > telemarketing simply pick up an already established
> > more? Are there younger members of this list who find
> > the ubiquitous use of first names so unremarkable that
> > they can't understand how Beverly and I could "have a
> > problem with that"?
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