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How to write business letters and emails in Spanish with Spanish Assistant Business.

A practical example.

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A company in Oxford in the UK, called "Greener Gardens" is a distributor of articles of garden furniture to retail outlets and the general public. The company is interested in some unique wickerwork sun loungers advertised in photos in a Spanish magazine "Jardín y ocio" that an employee has brought back after a holiday in the south of Spain. These items are manufactured by a company in Valencia called "Mi jardín". Greener Gardens has never imported articles from Spain before mostly due to the language barrier but Mr Hampshire, the Chief Sales Executive obtains a copy of Spanish Assistant Business 3 and with a will to improve the smattering of Spanish he already has, decides to contact "Mi jardín" and make enquiries. In his first contact email, as an introduction to his company, Mr Hampshire makes a reference to a web page in Spanish, added to the Greener Gardens web site and also written in Spanish Assistant Business 3.

The original text Mr Hampshire compiles in English in Spanish Assistant Business 3 is the following:

 

By compiling this text in English in Spanish Assistant Business 3 a Spanish version is produced below, which Mr Hampshire sends to "Mi jardín":

 

The following day, Mr Hampshire receives this reply in Spanish:

 

Despite Mr Hampshire's poor knowledge of Spanish he is keen to learn and with the help of the dictionary in Spanish Assistant Business 3 and the business terms glossary pages, he is easily able to understand Mr Gomez's email, which reads:

 

Mr Hampshire is now aware that he needs to know more details regarding payment terms before he can go ahead and place an order. Using his Assistant again he begins to compile the following email in English. However, he soon realizes he must be resourceful when using the Assistant (not all the pre-written phrases will be exactly as the user requires) and search appropriate phrases, edit and adapt them and the Spanish translation. This is not difficult to do with a little knowledge of Spanish and he can also consult the dictionary and grammar pages to learn and improve his business Spanish as he goes along. Furthermore, the more he uses the Assistant, the more he learns about its different features and where to find the Spanish expressions he needs. This is the text he compiles in English:

 

...which produces the following text in Spanish:

 

The next day, Mr Hampshire receives this reply:

 

This time, Mr Hampshire's search in Spanish Assistant Business 3 for the words he doesn't know in the email takes less time. This is because business Spanish (or business English) is easier to learn for the foreign student as the terminology used is much more limited than general Spanish (or general English). Terminology and idiomatic expressions in business correspondence are repeated over and over again. Mr Hampshire understands Mr Gomez's email reads:

 

The attached form is in Spanish, of course! Mr Hampshire inserts the word "form" in the Search Feature of his Assistant and studies some examples of bilingual order forms he finds there. Much of the language is the same as that found in Mr Gomez's form so comprehension isn't a problem. He also finds examples of bilingual letters ordering goods and how they are listed in Spanish. The following day, having compiled another text in his Assistant, Mr Hampshire sends the following by fax together with the printed order form.

 

The English text that Mr Hampshire had compiled to produce the Spanish translation above was:

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Of course, the correspondence between the two companies doesn't stop here. Problems occur with late orders, misunderstandings, complaints, returning products, repeat orders etc. Spanish Assistant Business 3 provides help with all these situations (and more).

In this particular case, the initial deal between Greener Gardens and Mi jardín went well and the two companies developed a healthy business relationship. Mr Gomez bought English Assistant Business 3 and started working on his business English. In that way, Mr Hampshire and Mr Gomez could even comment on each other's mistakes and offer language help during correspondence. Later on, the two companies organized visits to their corresponding warehouse and plant to learn more about the products and potential markets in the international field. Greener Gardens contacted other Spanish-speaking firms in Spain and even as far afield South America and thereby began to expand their market niche - thanks to having broken the language barrier.

This ideal business situation could only have happened through an effort made by Mr Hampshire to explore the possibilities of contacting foreign markets in the mother tongue of that country (Spanish). With English as the so-called "international language" it is often possible to initiate business contacts in English in international correspondence. But according to recent research (eg. See Reuter's article on ELAN report...), greater success is achieved in business relations through knowledge of a client's language.

The aim of the Assistant Programs (for English and Spanish-speakers) is to provide the tools to initiate and continue correspondence in business-related areas and offer language help in the first steps in developing new potential markets. However, it has also been designed to facilitate language learning while the user is involved in practical hands-on communication with foreign companies and thereby develop the linguistic skills of users until they become self-sufficient in foreign language correspondence.

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