不同文化如何给电子邮件完美落款

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As an American living in the UK, I'm used to inadvertently offending Brits with my use of English. But while faux pas like referring to pants rather than trousers were quickly corrected, it took much longer to realise the subtler shadings of certain words.
作为一个生活在英国的美国人,我已经习惯了不经意间就因为使用英语的方式不当而冒犯英国人。但是,把裤子说成短裤这种失言很快就被我改掉了,而明白一些特定词语更微妙的差别花的时间就长得多了。

One of these is “Regards”, a word I never use in normal speech that has become a fixture in work-related emails. For years I was happily “regards”-ing at the end of my emails, until it came up in conversation that “Regards” sounds cold in the UK. “Kind regards” or “Best regards” is warm and acceptable.
其中一个词是“问候”,我在正式发言中从来不会使用这个词,而在与工作相关的电子邮件中它已经成为一个固定用语。多年来,我在电子邮件的末尾都会高兴地写上“问候”,直到有一天聊天时才知道“问候”在英国听上去不够热情。“亲切问候”或者“最诚挚的问候”才是一种诚挚亲切而且人们普遍接受的说法。

“When I lived in the UK I thought of ‘Kind regards’ as fairly standard and if it got shortened to just ‘Regards’ I would worry if I had offended the sender,” says Leeanne Stoddart, a poet and a volunteer for several organisations in Norway. She was born in the UK but moved away as a child.
诗人利安妮·斯托达特是挪威几家机构的志愿者。她说:“我过去生活在英国时,觉得‘亲切问候’是相当标准的,如果缩短成了‘问候’,我会担心是不是得罪了发件人。”她出生于英国,但是孩提时代就搬走了。

Stoddart experienced some culture shock after returning to the UK as a young adult and working in customer service, where it took time to calibrate the right tone and level of formality in the emails she sent. “Something like‘Regards’ could send me into a panic.”
斯托达特年轻时回到英国从事客服工作后,她经历了一些文化冲击,这个工作要她花了一些时间把握发送电子邮件时的正确语气和客套程度。“像‘问候’这种说法会让我感到慌张”。

It can be hard to strike exactly the right balance when closing an email. Louise Egan has seen this plenty of times. As the president of Soho Language Group, which helps businesspeople in New York to improve their English, she's encountered non-native speakers who literally translate the email sign-offs from their own languages,without paying attention to context. For instance, “A thousand kisses” – a direct translation of Mille baisers exchanged between friends in French – sounds alarmingly intimate in an English workplace email, she points out.
在电子邮件的末尾做到恰如其分有时很难。路易斯·伊根遇到过无数次这种情况。作为帮助纽约的商界人士提高英语水平的索霍语言学校的总裁,她曾碰到一些非母语人士逐字把他们母语中的电子邮件结束语翻译过来,根本不注意语境。例如“一千个吻”——就是直接把法语中朋友间通信时使用的“Mille baisers”直接翻译过来,她指出这种说法在英语的职场电子邮件中听起来亲密得令人害怕。

The few words at the end of an email can provide insight not just into social status, gender, relationship dynamics and workplace culture, but also the broader culture. In Nigeria, for example, it's common for emails to end on a religious note, such as variants of“Stay blessed”.
从电子邮件末尾的几个词不仅可以洞悉社会地位、性别、关系状态和职场文化,还可以深入了解更广泛的文化。例如在尼日利亚,常见的做法是在电子邮件最后以一种宗教语气结尾,比如各种形式的“愿主保佑你”。

Occasionally email closings that draw on Nigerian English can be misinterpreted, to the point of influencing careers. Communication scholar Farooq Kperogi, who blogs frequently about Nigerian English and culture at Notes from Atlanta, gives the example of a Nigerian professor who ended an email to an American professor he hadn't met with “I hope to read from you soon”.
有时候,使用尼日利亚英语的电子邮件结束语可能会被误解,甚至可能影响人的前程。传播学者法鲁克·克佩罗吉经常在他名为“来自亚特兰大的笔记”的博客上撰写有关尼日利亚英语和文化的博文。他举例说,有一位尼日利亚教授写信给一位素未谋面的美国教授,在电子邮件结尾写了一句“希望很快收到您的回复”。

But the American professor had only ever encountered this closing in the advance fee fraud email scams that often, notoriously, originate in Nigeria. She assumed that the Nigerian professor's email was fake and withdrew her offer to introduce him to other people in the field.
但是,这位美国教授只在预付费诈骗的电子邮件骗局中碰到过这种结束语,而且众所周知这种骗局通常来自尼日利亚。她断定这位尼日利亚教授的电子邮件是假的,因而撤回了向业界其他人士推荐他的提议。

Meanwhile, the personalised closing of Kenyan chef Njathi Kabui, “Eat well”, is both professional and political. Kabui says that while “most Kenyans sign work-related emails in the typical colonial way” with British-influenced expressions like “Sincerely” and “All the best”, he's sought to decolonise even his emails.
与此同时,肯尼亚厨师恩贾西·卡布伊的个性化结束语“祝有好胃口”既有专业特色,又有政治意味。卡布伊说,尽管“大多数肯尼亚人在与工作相关的电子邮件末尾都使用典型的殖民时期方式”,比如用“真诚的”和“祝一切顺利”等受英国影响的表达方式,他一直试图连在电子邮件中也去殖民化。

Whatever you choose, you don't want to leave your email's recipient puzzled. This happened to me the first time I received an email that whimsically ended “TTFN”. Those of you well-versed in Winnie the Pooh or British military-influenced communications would have been able to decode this right away. I, however, was left scratching my head for a while.
不管选择用什么,你都不希望让收件人感到困惑。我第一次收到一封奇怪地以“TTFN”(英语俚语ta-ta for now的缩略语,表示“再见”——译者注)结尾的电子邮件时就曾大惑不解。你们当中特别熟悉《小熊维尼》或者英国受军队影响的交流方式的人可能马上就能破解这个缩写。然而,我可是挠头了好一阵子。(刘晓燕译自英国广播公司网站5月10日文章)

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