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Translators: How to address our readers?

3 replies [Last post]
Gustavo's picture
Joined: 2006-09-11

Hi all.

I was thinking that we (the translators) need a consensus on how we're going to address our readers, as in modern English there's only one way to refer to the second person ("you"), but in many other languages exist [at least] two ways of addressing the second person: One informal and another formal.

The former is what we Castilian/Spanish-speaking people call "tutear", German-speaking people call "einander duzen", Hindi/Panjabi/Urdu-speaking people call "tu kehna", Ido-speaking people call "tudicar", French-speaking people call "tutoyer", Italian-speaking people would say "dare del tu", and so on...

While the informal noun uses to be more "friendly", I believe we should use the formal one:

One of the main misconceptions common people have about this kind of software is that, since it's often given for free, it's "obviously" a low-quality product, or at least it isn't at the same level as those non-gratis, be either because those developers have nothing important to do, or simply because these applications are made as a hobby.

Our target are people who have (never) heard of GNU/Linux (or are not quite clear on what it is), therefore, we'd be their first impression of Linux, and talking to them in an informal form might, in my opinion, help them to have this misconception, especially because our target is a non-specific one... If, for example, we were to promote Linux among our friends, it would be another story...

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Any thoughts?


free-zombie's picture
Joined: 2006-03-08
I think the polite form is

I think the polite form is better. It just feals right in writing Eye
edit: the french team uses vous.

nwrman's picture
Joined: 2006-09-15
Me too

I agree, I think we should use the formal one, as in most spanish-speaking countries it's used to show respect, and we respect our readers, and that's what they'll feel.

Gustavo is right, the first impression it's really important.

Don't you think?

ariadacapo's picture
Joined: 2006-07-13
Gustavo wrote: You only get
Gustavo wrote:

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Well said. I travelled 24hrs to borrow a suit to make my university final year 10mn project presentation (it was worth it).

I think we should communicate as professionally, smartly and non-aggressively as we can. Formal speech should be used.