Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Survey Says . . .

Toshi often asks me to proofread his English business correspondence. Before he sends out any letters, he e-mails them to me. I clean them up and send them back to him. Sometimes I wonder how diligently I should perform this task. Today a letter came through with one of those charming translation quirks often found in letters written in a person's second language and I really had to think about whether or not to change it. You see, I used to work in an office where these quirks were a huge source of entertainment, brightening our days with a break from business as usual. Today Toshi wrote a letter requesting a company to send him a "drawing of the guts of the T-4042 for making the parts list in Japanese." The guts?!?!! Isn't that fantastic? I am not making fun of him, the image puts a big smile on my face. Sometimes it is refreshing to encounter these language hiccups. Is it my job to deprive the recipient of the letter the same simple pleasure? It was a tough call. Now, I ask those of you taking the time to read this to weigh in, leave a comment and let me know, would you have left it or changed it and if you would have changed it, what would you have changed it to?

I would keep "guts" if it is common usage in the industry. Otherwise, I would have used something more professional like "Please send me a drawing that shows the individual components so that I may make a detailed parts list . . .".

What did you end up doing?
Tough one indeed (as I believe you were referring to GBE as your previous employer)! I would have changed it to the internal workings or internal components of...
Guts works! L
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