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jmierisch

Jan 13, 2011, 7:11 AM

Post #1 of 17 (15477 views)

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What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Greetings,

I am preparing a business letter for a mail merge. Normally I would use "Estimado Sr. Fulano" as the salutation, but in this case, a new name will be inserted in each letter by the mail merge. Some of the recipients will be male, and others female.

Obviously "Estimado" applies to men only. Is it acceptable to say "Estimado(a) Sr(a). Fulano" in a business letter? Seems weird to do so, but it "Estimado Sra." would also be weird -- so what is best?

Thanks,
Jen



mexicobuff

Jan 13, 2011, 3:44 PM

Post #2 of 17 (15447 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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How about colega (colleague), which is both masculine and feminine?
NB Email modified to avoid duplication with Esperanza's email of patalarga@gmail.com


Maesonna

Jan 13, 2011, 9:55 PM

Post #3 of 17 (15421 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Can you add the variable ending to the list of names? E.g. in the letter, it would have "Estimad_____" (where _____ represents the name field that will be filled in at the merge) and the list of names would have items of the form "a Sra. X" or "o Sr. Y".
So that after the merge, when you put it together, it would be "Estimada Sra. X" in the first case and "Estimado Sr. Y" in the second case.
If your list of names isn't too long, you could add the o's and a's manually, otherwise it should be possible to do it with some snappy programming.


jmierisch

Jan 14, 2011, 7:00 AM

Post #4 of 17 (15411 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Good ideas guys, thanks!
Jen


jerezano

Jan 14, 2011, 8:00 AM

Post #5 of 17 (15407 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Hello jan,

How about "Estimado cliente"?

That will be very good for people who already are corresponding with you. I don't know about potential clients, but depending on your business it might be flattering and if not it shouldn't create any cross feelings.

I am ambivalent about "colega". I like it but then it sounds a bit more educational than business.

If you are a really literate computer person then the reprogramming sounds good. It frightens me.

As ever, jerezano


jmierisch

Jan 14, 2011, 8:23 AM

Post #6 of 17 (15400 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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If I used "Estimado cliente" or "Estimado colega," wouldn't I still need to change the ending of the word Estimado depending on the recipient's gender?

If you were a woman and you received a letter addressed to "Estimado Sra. Fulana" (or "Estimado cliente"), would that bug you? Would you consider it disrespectful, unprofessional, bad editing, or all three? Or would you be more likely to blow it off?

Thanks, I truly appreciate your advice.
Jen


mexicobuff

Jan 14, 2011, 8:56 AM

Post #7 of 17 (15390 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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I hesitate to suggest the following, but it is in popular use right now: instead of 'a' or 'o' as endings, people are using the @, which more or less incorporates both. It would read 'Estimad@'. It's trendy, but could be useful to you.
NB Email modified to avoid duplication with Esperanza's email of patalarga@gmail.com


jmierisch

Jan 14, 2011, 8:59 AM

Post #8 of 17 (15386 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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mexicobuff, have you ever seen "Estimad@" in business correspondence? I love how it incorporates both letters, but I hesitate to use something trendy in a formal context.

Jen


Bennie García

Jan 14, 2011, 9:32 AM

Post #9 of 17 (15382 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Estimado/a Sr./Sra is the correct form for a formal letter.


morgaine7


Jan 14, 2011, 10:24 AM

Post #10 of 17 (15377 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Dell México sent me a personalized one as follows:
Estimado(a) Sr(a) [my name]:

Kate


mazbook1


Jan 14, 2011, 2:24 PM

Post #11 of 17 (15362 views)

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Re: [morgaine7] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Since I didn't know the answer and wanted one also, I posted the question on an international Spanish/English vocabulary forum that has (literally) thousands of participants. The two best suggestions were:

1. Since nearly all computerized mailing lists have a "title" field by some name or other, it should be possible to put the entire salutation into that field, i.e., "Estimado Sr." or "Estimada Sra." or even (more polite in México) "Estimada Srta.". I can think of several relatively simple ways to do this that would eliminate typing the different salutations into each and every entry in your mailing list.

2. It would also be quite correct and proper to use the slightly less personal approach by using Estimado/a Sr./Sra., although in México I would use Srta. instead of Sra., as it is more polite when you don't know someone's marital status for certain.

I always spell out Señorita completely when writing a business letter to a woman whom I don't know personally and never get corrected. And to answer objections to this in advance, I have seen times (more than once) when someone (NOT me) used Señora in a salutation, and it drew a very definite response, in writing, along the lines of "¡No soy Señora, soy Señorita!". I do this even when speaking with any Mexican woman I don't know and never get corrected, although I get big smiles from older women and an occasional joking correction about how long it has been since she was a "Señorita".


mexicobuff

Jan 14, 2011, 4:26 PM

Post #12 of 17 (15351 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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In Reply To
mexicobuff, have you ever seen "Estimad@" in business correspondence? I love how it incorporates both letters, but I hesitate to use something trendy in a formal context.

Jen

Yes, I have seen it, but it always grates on my sensibilities. That's why I was hesitant to mention it. Bennie García gave you the correct (if somewhat awkward) response.
NB Email modified to avoid duplication with Esperanza's email of patalarga@gmail.com


Bennie García

Jan 14, 2011, 4:51 PM

Post #13 of 17 (15347 views)

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Re: [mexicobuff] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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In Reply To
Bennie García gave you the correct (if somewhat awkward) response.


Awkward? Explain.


mexicobuff

Jan 14, 2011, 9:38 PM

Post #14 of 17 (15329 views)

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Re: [Bennie García] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Awkward in terms of creating a mail merge.
NB Email modified to avoid duplication with Esperanza's email of patalarga@gmail.com


jmierisch

Jan 17, 2011, 6:55 AM

Post #15 of 17 (15243 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Thank you all for the advice. It has been very helpful.

mazbook1, can you share the name of that other forum that you consulted? I would love to have more places to go for advice. I try my best but I am still a gringa. haha.

Jen


mazbook1


Jan 17, 2011, 5:42 PM

Post #16 of 17 (15216 views)

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Re: [jmierisch] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Although to participate, i.e., ask questions, you have to register, that is quick, easy and free. Here is the URL:

http://forum.wordreference.com/forumdisplay.php?f=83

I have never in the 5+ years that I've been a member ever received any junk mail traceable to this forum at all. Just good answers to any sensible question. The only thing you have to watch is where the responder is from, as I'm sure you know that the words change in different Spanish dialects rather than the pronunciation…most of the time. Even though I show up as being in México, I always specify where I am when asking a question, so that I don't get a lot of nonsense replies from Spain, Argentina, etc. Also, sometimes it's wise to say just what brand of English you speak too, if you're wanting the Spanish for an English word that might have different meanings in different parts of the English-speaking world.

For single words, it's wise to first try the dictionaries they have at the very top of the webpage, then if you can't get anything satisfactory there, go ahead and post your question. Generally, you start getting answers to questions within just a few minutes, but I often wait a day to see all of the answers when the first couple disagree.


jmierisch

Jan 18, 2011, 6:42 AM

Post #17 of 17 (15190 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] What salutation to use when I don't know the recipient's gender?

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Thank you. I look at Wordreference.com all the time for dictionary definitions and Spanish-English translations. I have seen their forums, but unfortunately my workplace blocks them. I'm lucky they didn't block this forum that we are talking on now! But I will definitely note it for the future.
Jen
 
 
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