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Scoobyqueen

formal writing

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Sarevok

In formal writing I usually use 希望早日得到您的答复 or just 希望早日答复 as the ending phrase. Corresponding English equivalent could be "hope to hear from you soon", but the Chinese version sounds a little bit more formal to me. In non-formal writing simple 祝好 usually suffices...

Interesting topic indeed. I had to deal with some e-mail correspondation in Chinese lately and although I always managed to come up with something, I am not sure if it was correct and proper in all those cases. I would like to learn some more of this formal letter lingo - set phrases for closing and opening the letters, raising issues etc.

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leeyah
With regards to your questions, I would like to clarify our position on xxx (or I would like to explain xxx)

I'd say: 有关你所提出的问题,让我(详细)阐明我公司的立场 or 请容许我阐明/介绍我公司的立场

As for Chinese business correspondence, since letter writing on a higher level implies copious use of wenyan, the best thing to do is buy one of those Chinese business letter writers (商务信函), with sample letters & phrases used in context. :wink:

Anyway, if it can be of any use, here are just a few (formal) expressions used in Chinese business correspondence. You will note that many formal expressions include "若", "敬","贵", "惠", "谨","慈" etc, in prefix, as in:

>>敬请...please...

>>(敬)请先告知贵方... please let us know about your...

>>贵处拜访 to pay you a visit

>>有劳贵方,不胜感激 we are sorry for the inconvenience

>>惠寄 your letter (very formal)

>>兹复 in reply to your letter (very formal)

>>关于您/你的询*价信 with regard to your inquiry (about the *price of)or 询问信

>>参阅 referring to your letter

>>贵函 your (esteemed)letter

>>若您...

thank you for your letter>>感谢xx来信

or more formal>>>来函收悉

or just 敬悉 we have received your letter

or >>谢谢贵公司的来函 (pretty formal)

我们高兴地通知贵方,有关... we are pleased to inform you that...or (very formal) 特此奉告/借此机会奉告 have the opportunity to inform you that...

相信你乐于知道 you will be pleased to know

希望能寄来贵公司的... we shall be pleased if you could please send us your...

恳请对方进一步提供关于……的详细 could you please provide more information on...

从贵方...的信函中得知...we are pleased to note that...

很高兴... we are happy to... or the formal way with 客套 phrase: 承蒙 have the honour to..., it is our great pleasure to...

如蒙...,将不胜感谢 We shall be very pleased, if you...

收到了...的消息 we have received news of/heard/found out about...

or the more formal:

承的介绍.../从xx获悉...as in: or>>>>从来函获悉

据xx所告/据贵地...通知

我获知... I am informed that...

依照... according to...

would it be convenient to you 不知是否方便... or more formal>>倘使你方便的话, 请 if it's convenient, please...

neutral>>would it be too much to ask if ...? 能否请您...?

非常感谢您的协助 thank you for your cooperation & assistance

谨希望能够与... in the sincere hope that...

期待与您进一步合作 hoping to continue cooperation with you

希望与贵方建立...关系 hoping to establish business relations with your company

希望保持友好合作关系 hope to keep in touch

盼速复 hope to hear from you soon! also: 盼早日回复!

承蒙帮助,感恩不尽 we are in great debt for your kindness/help

随信附上 or more formal 随函寄上 enclosed you will find/are...

谨祝安好 all the best

谨祝问候 best regards

谨上 yours cordially/sincerely or 敬上 or >>您诚挚的xx

& finally, classical ending lines:

此致 *敬礼!

此祝 *安好!

顺致 *春(夏、秋、冬)安!

(with the *second word/phrase written below the first)

vs. plain & friendly: 请复! Please, write!

& of course, the letters open with 尊敬的xx Dear Mr/Ms or 阁下 for Your excellency (for diplomats>>the ambassador)

:D:wink:

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Sarevok

Now, that was quite... informative. "Overwhelming" would describe it even better :) Next time I am asked to write a letter/e-mail in Chinese, I'll try to use some of those phrases...

Few days ago, I came across this website with tons of materials for studying English

http://www.for68.com/new/2009%5C5%5Cli89642731501515900220609-0.htm

What caught my eye the most, was this 《商务英语900句》 30 lessons set. I think it could be reversed and used for learning some useful Business Chinese lingo and phrases (not only for writing letters). It seems to be enough 书面语 for that matter, but some input from native speakers or advanced users with some experience in this field would be helpful. I would like to know whether Chinese would really use such phrases in business communication... If so, then it seems to be exactly what I have been looking for quite some time now (I have yet to see a good Business Chinese textbook). But I want to wait a bit and see some other opinions before loading it all up into SRS (well, except for those really long sentences - such long entries are not desirable)

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leeyah

Good link, Sarevok. Yes, sites for Chinese learners of English are always very useful.

What caught my eye the most, was this 《商务英语900句》 30 lessons set. I think it could be reversed and used for learning some useful Business Chinese lingo and phrases (not only for writing letters). It seems to be enough 书面语 for that matter, but some input from native speakers or advanced users with some experience in this field would be helpful. I would like to know whether Chinese would really use such phrases in business communication...

Yes, I agree, that would be perfect. :D While we're waiting for more feedback, here are two sample business letters to analyze and learn from:

1)

尊敬的女士:

感谢10月3日的来信。

欣闻*阁下将于12月逗留德国一个月,望到时能拨冗相会。

本公司对贵公司商品目录中的针织时装深感兴趣。现正研究设计款式,在中国制造后寄本公司时装连锁店发售。

如能于10月7日或其后数天抽空来访,当感激不尽。

期待与您会面,商讨有关事宜。

此致

敬礼!

Dear Madam:

Thank you for your letter of 3rd October.

I note that you will be in Germany during the whole of December.

We are quite interested in the fashion knitwear from your catalogue. As a fashion chain, we might consider having some of our own designs manufactured in China.

Please let me know when you would like to call on us. The week beginning 7 October would suit me best.

I look forward to meeting you and discussing this matter.

Best regards,

2)

尊敬的先生:

现应7月4日的要求,谨寄上临时发票一式三份。

兹奉告本公司的报价一般效期一周。

另困本公司出品的xx销路极佳,为免向隅,贵公司宜尽早回复。

此致

敬礼!

Dear Sir,

In response to your request, dated July 4th, we have the pleasure to send you our pro forma invoice in triplicate.

For your information, or offers usually remain open for about a week.

Seeing that our (goods) are selling very fast, we suggest that you act on the quotation without delay. We look forward to hearing from you.

With respect!

---You may have noticed quite a few formal phrases. Note also the use of *阁下in the first letter. The first time I ever saw it was on QQ as pun, but in fact, it is a very respectful, very formal address (尊称) in formal correspondence.

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Sarevok

The text below is an e-mail I had to write recently, could be classified as a "letter of complaint" of sorts. It doesn't contain any names or information specific enough to be considered secret, so I decided to post it here with hopes to gain some feedback...

你好

昨天跟我联系要求我把下列的内容翻译成中文并发给你:

我们需要设备的结构简图,特别是R011和R012图片上的简图(请见附件)。该构件的轴承坏了,我们需要把它们拆卸,以便进行维修。然而没有简图,这就很难办。将来很可能有其他构件也需要维修,所以我们会需要其他的资料。为了避免你我的不便,能否把设备各个构件的简图资料都发给我们?

另外,下列的三个构件也出现了故障(请见附件里的图片):

R014 - 齿轮箱,又坏了,这已经是第二次了

R018 - 图片里的那个蓝色构件和两个钢柱都得更换了(这样的描写不太精确,但缺乏相关资料的情况底下只能这样)

R019 - 图片里的橡胶双面齿传动带撕破了

所有的维修费用是我公司付出的,到现在为止这些费用共达欧元。上列的三个故障都是前两个星期发生的,除此之外,还有其他各种各样的故障发生,一直妨碍设备的正常工作。因此我们不得不提出索赔。

希望早日答复

温德烈

温德烈 is my Chinese name... some communication had taken place prior to this e-mail, so we already know each other. Therefore, I didn't feel compelled to be overly formal using stuff like 您 or 贵公司 (I used them in only in my first letter), let alone overkills like 阁下 (which I didn't know until today), but I still tried to keep some degree of formality - don't know whether this attempt was successful or even proper...

恳请不吝赐教!

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Scoobyqueen

Thanks Leeyah for your extensive contrubution here (as always thorough and helpful). Thanks also for the tip about the book.

Sarevok - thanks for your suggestions. Hopefully someone will comment on the letter of complaint.

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leeyah

Here's the format of a Chinese letter (source: 《汉语写作指导>》)

i.e. leave two spaces/squares (=two characters) at the beginning of each paragraph, except the "Dear xx" /To: ) i.e. where you address the recipient

Also, "best wishes" etc greetings start with four spaces left out >> 祝 or 此致, etc but the rest of it goes below, & no spacing.

2713_thumb.attach

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fij

Hi Everyone,

What are your favorite sources of phrases for formal correspondence ?

Many thanks

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roddy

Merging - I suspect a quick search would have found this.

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rexh

An old but still incredibly useful thread. I'm writing a letter and would like to ask "when convenient could you give me an update on the situation regarding XXXX?".  Any suggestions on how to politely ask this?  From the above I've patched together the following: 不知是否方便,恳请对方进一步提供关于 XXXX 的情况。

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陳德聰

Obviously I'm bumping this thread after a long time, but someone just used "閣下" in their translation of an email from the City of Vancouver to the public explaining a consultation process would be undertaken in the following weeks:

 

“閣下收到這封電子郵件是因為您曾對XXX的更改土地用途申請表示關注”

 

I not only feel this is unnecessary and somewhat ridiculous, but I also feel there is a mismatch in register going on here. Also as a side note, someone who I was arguing with in Facebook comments insisted on addressing me as 閣下 and I just... Is it really that commonly used in Hong Kong even? Someone please liberate me from this confusing hell.

 

 

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imron
3 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

Also as a side note, someone who I was arguing with in Facebook comments insisted on addressing me as 閣下

Maybe similar in usage to Beijingers using an overly polite and dripping with sarcasm 您 as an insult.

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Angelina
4 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

in their translation of an email from the City of Vancouver to the public

 

 

You should see the formal language used by international students at Mainland universities: homework, thesis work, published papers.

I expected more from the City of Vancouver. At least you see that once in a while; in Mainland China, I am surprised every time I see formal writing (academic setting, international students) that does not look too disappointing. 

 

 

The HSK 6 has a part called "语病", we can start from here. 

 

 

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dwq

 

7 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

“閣下收到這封電子郵件是因為您曾對XXX的更改土地用途申請表示關注”

That doesn't look too jarring to me; I personally probably wouldn't give that 閣下 a second thought if I receive something like it.

 

4 hours ago, imron said:

Maybe similar in usage to Beijingers using an overly polite and dripping with sarcasm 您 as an insult.

Or just a crazy person person with an unusual obsession.  There are plenty of those on the Internet.

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roddy

Doesn't sound right to me, unless you're writing exclusively to... I don't know, dukes and ambassadors.

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dwq

AFAIK I don't have duke or ambassador blood in me, I'm probably just desensitized. 8) 

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陳德聰
18 hours ago, imron said:

Maybe similar in usage to Beijingers using an overly polite and dripping with sarcasm 您 as an insult.

Oh I absolutely registered it as sarcasm but even as sarcasm I felt it pompous sarcasm. Like when people try to show how civilised they are in the face of criticism but just end up seeming like they’re too 裝.

 

My hunch is that this is much more common in HK, as latter parts of the translation suggest a Cantonese speaker did them, but I am more looking for confirmation from the regular joes of the world (not you royals.)

 

I guess I’m just confused why 您 is insufficient from the government addressing me.

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