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Need Advice on Writing a Business Letter to a Business Person in Poland



Miss Ella    
5 Mar 2011  #1

Hello Everyone, I am working on a college assignment for my business communication class. My assignment is to write instructions to an American on how to write a proper formal business letter to a non-native speaker of English in Poland. Note I don't want to translate a letter in Polish I just want to be able to write a letter and English to a Polish business person so it will be well received and taken seriously by them.

Here are the specifics of what I need to write about:

How should I format and address my business letter?

What is the format of a Polish address, please provide an example, using a fake address.

What is an appropriate salutation?

How should I begin and conclude my letter?

What types and amount of information will I have to give?

What is the appropriate tone to use?

Please provide any extra information that you think might be helpful to me.

Thank you in advance for your help.


Zman    
5 Mar 2011  #2

Study what time zones are about pls!!! Or try this one: tlumaczenie.com/pytania_odpowiedzi.html
Havok 10 | 912    
5 Mar 2011  #3

write instructions to an American on how to write a proper formal business letter to a non-native speaker of English in Poland.

dude, I'm not doing your focking homework, why don't you do some research.
Lyzko    
5 Mar 2011  #4

Miss Ella, don't wish to appear rude, but your best bet in this case (from long experience with Poles etc..) is to have some qualified Polish native speaker, here or elsewhere, translate your letter into Polish, ESPECIALLY in a business context!!

The Poles, as with the majority of Europeans, vastly overshoot their English skills. While I'm surely not suggesting to write in Albanian to an Albanian colleague, Icelandic to an Icelandic colleague etc... which is just unrealistic, what I'm saying, is merely to err on the side of caution-:))
strzyga 2 | 994    
5 Mar 2011  #5

If the letter is to be wtitten in English, it should follow the English rules as far as the tone, salutations, formatting etc.

What is the format of a Polish address, please provide an example, using a fake address.

Grzegorz Brzęczyszczykiewicz
ul. Grzebienieckiego 7 (street and house No.)
30-800 Szczebrzeszyn (zip code and city)
Lyzko    
5 Mar 2011  #6

Backpeddling just a little, most, if not all, larger firms in Poland (as elsewhere outside, of course, the US!! LOL) will have translators/interpreters ready at hand, particularly for English, Russian and German-speaking clientel. Hence, you shouldn't have much difficulty on that score.

Is English your primary language? Merely curious. don't mean to be intrusive-:)
ShortHairThug - | 1,104    
5 Mar 2011  #7

Give it a rest Lyzko, will you. She has clearly stated in her opening statement

Hello Everyone, I am working on a college assignment for my business communication class.

. If you're unwilling to help than fine, but stop being so rude and don't interrupt others if you have no clue as to what the conversation is all about. Speaking of

The Poles, as with the majority of Europeans, vastly overshoot their English skills.

, perhaps it's time for you to refresh your reading comprehension skills.
Lyzko    
5 Mar 2011  #8

If the individual wishes to draft a letter in English to a Polish firm etc.., far be it from me or anyone to stop them. I'm merely suggesting unobtrusively what your's truly would do in this situation, had I needed to write a letter to Riga, Latvia, as an example, and had zero idea of the language or the culture. I too might have to write in English, I would definitely though have said letter translated responsibly into Latvian. Nothing more-:)
OP Miss Ella    
5 Mar 2011  #9

You are not helpful Havok! I didn't ask for anyone to write my assignment, I asked for advice! There is a big difference! I would assume a Polish person would be able to make the best suggestion on how to approach writing a business letter to a Polish person. But I guess NOT!

strzyga-Thank you, this is helpful.

BUT my textbook actually instructed to consult Polish people as to the proper way to approach business correspondence TO a Polish business person. The point is to teach us cross cultural communication skills. Obviously the textbook teaches how to write proper American business correspondence. But the point is to learn how to write to a person from another culture.

I'm not asking for a translation here, I'm just asking for advice on formatting and business letter etiquette. I did some Google searching but came up with nothing.
Magdalena 3 | 1,838    
6 Mar 2011  #10

But the point is to learn how to write to a person from another culture.

The problem here is that there is no real difference. The slight formatting discrepancies are so tiny they would cause no offence / misunderstanding.
mafketis 16 | 4,727    
6 Mar 2011  #11

BUT my textbook actually instructed to consult Polish people as to the proper way to approach business correspondence TO a Polish business person. The point is to teach us cross cultural communication skills.

Oh the irony!

Poles consistently underestimate (and downplay) cultural differences between themselves and Americans (bunch f reasons for this, none of which do I intend to explain now).

My suggestions (American living in Poland for well over 10 years).

1. Polish people tend to be more hierarchical than Americans, formal titles etc are more important. They also tend to place more importnce on formal (paper) qualificatins than on real world experience with no certificates to back it up.

2. For Americans politeness is based on being friendly and open and breaking down barriers, in Poland being polite means keeping your distance, professionalism means keeping things formal

3. English is not the first language here and even very competent translators might not understand informal usage and might find many idioms you take for granted to be opaque (or misinterpret them)

4. Polish people have more cross cultural experience than most Americans (crucially they have more cross cultural experience where neither side can make the other defer to their norms).

So,

1. Be more formal than you might be comfortable with, use titles (and make it easy for them to use titles back),

2. Use clear, transparent language, try to avoid idioms and spell everything out clearly

3. Don't presume to bear the burden of tolerance all on your own. People in other cultures enjoy being tolerant of outsiders' mistakes too and no Polish business is going to disregard a letter because it uses non-Polish formatting.
Magdalena 3 | 1,838    
6 Mar 2011  #12

1. Be more formal than you might be comfortable with, use titles (and make it easy for them to use titles back),

2. Use clear, transparent language, try to avoid idioms and spell everything out clearly

Isn't that a given in any business correspondence? Including American? I used to work for Americans in PL and believe you me, they could be formal as hell (including amongst themselves, that is).

Just to prove my point - how different is this from a typical American or British business letter?

FROM Date

TO

Ref.

Dear Sir / Madam / Mr XYZ / Ms XYZ

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

With best regards

XYZ
Title

It's like from a totally different planet, right? ;-)

EDIT: the formatting in this post messed up MY formatting, anyways, the TO and Date fields should be on the right-hand margin.
OP Miss Ella    
7 Mar 2011  #13

THANK YOU Mafketis! Finally someone answers me with info that I actually asked for, and didn't misinterpret what I was asking! I ended up finding the info that I needed elsewhere and my Polish boyfriend found some info too. But my assignment was completed Saturday. But thanks anyway I appreciate it.

Since you are an American in Poland, can I ask you what is it like being over there as far as building a career? Is it hard to get established there as a foreigner?

Do you speak fluent Polish and does everyone need to speak fluent Polish there to succeed? Are there many companies that hire Americans? Sorry for so many questions I'm really curious because I'm thinking of moving there with my boyfriend after I graduate college.

And do they have support groups for Americans in Poland?
vndunne 43 | 280    
3 Nov 2011  #14

Merged: Legal requirements for a Polish Business Letterhead?

Hi. not sure if i have right forum topic....but when you have letter heads for your business, are there any legal requirements regarding information that you must have on it?

thanks,
vincent
Nathans    
1 Dec 2014  #15

The requirements are pretty much standard, used world-wide. Ie.

Business Name
Business Address
Busines Contact Information (Phone, Email, Fax, Website)

Don't forget to include the date of correspondence ; )



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