2013-04-04 — Good Characters (Leave a message)
After weeks of negative publicity in China against Apple’s repair and warranty service that painted the company as “arrogant,” Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized in an open letter to Chinese customers.
The language in the letter is deferential and words and sentences were carefully crafted to convey sincerity. Some examples:
We respect you:
We humbly listen:
We are sorry:
We promise to do something about it:
改进 (used twice)
提供简洁清晰 . . .
确保 (used 5 times)
努力 (used 3 times)
If we were to edit the letter, we would suggest the following:
Many have been using 致尊敬的 but we think 敬愛 and 尊鉴 are more fluent, more authentic, and show respect in a subtle way without spelling it out.
在过去 的两周 里，我们收到了许多关于 Apple 在中国维修和保修政策的 反馈回應。我们不仅对这些意见进行了深刻的 反思檢討，与相关部门一起仔细研究了 “三包” 规定，还审视了我们對维修政策的沟通方式，并梳理了我们对 Apple 授权服务提供商的管理规范。我们意识到，由于在此过程中对外沟通不足而导致外界认为 Apple 态度傲慢 ，、不在意或不重视消费者的反馈。对 于由此给消费者带来的任何顾虑或误会，我们表示诚挚的歉意。
Some sentences can be shortened and made more impactful by removing unnecessary characters. Some words could be replaced with better ones. We would make better usage of punctuation, using the enumeration comma instead of the regular comma to separate words in a list.
We won't go through the entire letter, but the following are some suggestions for shorter and more commonly understood words:
Use 加強 instead of 加大力度
Say 一致 instead of 别无二致
Change from 给 . . . 下发 to 发给 . . .
On the Chinese feedback form, it would be better to place 姓氏 (surname) above 名字 (given name) because 名字 could mean either the full name or just the first name. Or better yet, just use 姓 (surname) followed by 名 (given name); this is the traditional order of names in the Chinese language, the order people use naturally.