21 January 2016

Acrolinx #3

On 14 January, I sent the following email to Acrolinx:
Here is a question for Andrew Bredenkamp​ or one of his team, possibly a "tone of voice" specialist at Acrolinx Europe in Germany.

In my recent blog post on Acrolinx #1, I asked the question:

DE-to-EN colleagues inform me that even bilingual DE-EN (but DE mother tongue) executives consider the use of 'you' in EN versions of their annual reports and the like strictly taboo because the equivalent is strictly taboo in German. These colleagues also assure me that this is true even for companies that have adopted the 'one face to the customer' concept and published corporate design manuals and style guides in DE and EN. How does Acrolinx software deal with this?

​And here is a subsidiary question:
Assuming that the Acrolinx Germany team agrees that critical C-suite documents in English for German customers need to consider the use of 'you' when addressing readers, how do they convince German-mother-tongue customers that this is the way to go?

I look forward keenly to your reply.
I have yet to receive a reply. Perhaps someone from Acrolinx will post a comment here ...

1 comment:

  1. On 26 January, Andrew Bredenkamp, Founder & CEO of Acrolinx, replied as follows (posted here with Andrew's permission):

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your interest in what we do.

    Although I am originally from the UK, it took us long time to get interest in what we do there. :-) I am not really sure why that was, and in the last 18 months we are suddenly very busy in my “home” market. But, as you suspected, most of our focus is on the US market, since that is where most of our EN customers are.

    For German, it is true that the global trend to a more conversational style is slower to catch on that it has been in the English-speaking world. But it is nevertheless definitely happening. Our software is capable of making very fine-grained decisions about use of pronouns, and the like.

    We don’t spend much time trying to convince companies that they should change the way they write, but when they decide they want to change (or do a better job of doing what they’ve always wanted to do) we help them make it happen.

    I hope that helps.

    BTW, FWIW (etc.) I began my life as a translator.

    Andrew Bredenkamp, PhD.
    Founder & CEO


Full circle

After completing a BSc in physics and maths in Australia and extended travels in Africa I found a job in Paris that left me with considerab...