Correspondence – Free Tips on How to Communicate in Writing

Correspondence – Is there a point in mastering written communication skills, like writing business letters? If you say ‘no’, you’re mistaken and in clear need of our expertise.

Does an Old-Fashioned Correspondence Still Exist?

Although not to everyone, the answer to the above question is clear and simple—‘yes, it does’. But when you take a closer look, although good old-fashioned, it re-emerged as quite a contemporary phenomenon, in the form of professional business correspondence.

Merriam-Webster dictionary gives straightforward definitions of correspondence, two of which should draw your attention: (1) “the activity of writing letters or e-mails to someone”; and (2) “the letters or e-mails that people write to each other”. Clear and simple? Definitely. Due to this reason you should not underestimate its importance, for much depends from the proficiency of your writing skills and professionalism of your message. And if you are looking for a concise and useful set of tips, you’ve come to the Slavis Translations – the right place to have correspondence translated.

What Are the Forms and Types of Correspondence?

 

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Intuitively or out of experience, we are all able to differentiate between the forms of correspondence. Among the basic ones you might distinguish from:

  • business correspondence
  • personal correspondence
  • official correspondence
  • private correspondence

The list is short, but in the majority of cases it is exhaustive and covers practically all fields of application.

A bit more extensive is the list of types of correspondence you might need to use. This is so, for the number of matters to handle via written communication equals the number of purposes for drafting a correspondence, and thus—the types of written forms of letters you need to master. We will concentrate here on official (or in other words—business) correspondence only. Personal, or private correspondence is a completely different story, which we will tell you on another occasion.

Now, getting back to business correspondence, and to name only the most frequent (and the most important) types, there are:

  • employment and job offer letters
  • reference and recommendation letters
  • rejection, resignation and termination letters
  • request and response letters
  • letters of complaint or claim
  • social letters
  • invitation and announcement letters
  • cards and memos
  • congratulation and thank you letters

9 Things You Need to Remember

As you can see, the second list is longer. And there is a clear purpose for this. Each and every of the listed types of correspondence pieces are governed by a general set of rules. But, there are also letter-specific sets of rules applied in each single case. And here, depending on the type of business letter (for more information please read our post How to Write a Business Letter), you need to remember about:

  • specific vocabulary to be used
  • specific phrases to be used
  • way of addressing the recipient(s)
  • one point of view to be assumed and maintained through the correspondence
  • phrases and words to be avoided
  • proper style
  • clarity of information
  • avoiding grammar conflict
  • proper composition of the letter

Form & Type—But What’s with the Purpose?

Purposes for writing letters and maintaining business correspondence are as numerous, as the types of that form. And quite often, they are nothing short of being serious and important.

Apart from conducting regular business communication, in order to keep in touch, acquire new clients, find new sales markets, inform, solicit, etc., business correspondence serves one superior purpose. And each and everyone engaged in business should be aware of this fact. This purpose is to serve as a reference to, and a proof or a trace of events. Or in other words: ‘cause and effect’ of the matter the correspondence pertains to.

What Is the Best Method?

Given the fact that by now you should know the forms, the types and the purposes of business correspondence, you should learn the methods as well. Luckily, the issue here is less complicated.

Though contrary to what one may think, business correspondence does not boil down to letters only. More often than not, the pace of the contemporary world calls for a faster means of communication, than traditional paper letter. So what’s else there is except for the letter? Quite a few methods:

  • e-mails
  • faxes
  • voicemails
  • notes and memos
  • cards
  • text messages

If you are thinking all of the above, except for e-mails, are rather restricted in use and business context, you are by all means right. But it does not mean they do not function as a business correspondence means.

On the other hand, you will be even more right that your attention should be focused on traditional letters and on e-mails.

What’s the Best Choice?

Both, traditional letters and e-mails, have their drawbacks and their strong points. Your choice should depend on what is required in your line of business and what you need to achieve. Traditional paper letter, no matter if hand-written (very rare nowadays) or printed (usually with hand-written signature and/or stamped), are still perceived as more official and formal than e-mails. Paper letters are used more for the purpose of communicating a given piece of information. And e-mails are more widely used, when it comes to maintaining ‘conversation-styled’ communication over the subject.

E-mails are gaining, though, in significance due to the continuous modernisation. They reach you faster, they are more easily accessible (via PCs, laptops, smartphones), they allow for immediate reply. They can, however, be a ‘correspondence trap’ for inexperienced users. Does ‘e-mail etiquette’ ring a bell? We’ll keep you posted on this matter in our blog, too.

Bridging the Language Gap

If you find all the tips above useful, you might find Slavis Translation Services alike. It’s all fine to know all the great tricks, but when it comes to bridging the language gap, it’s advisable to use professional expertise, such as that of Slavis Agency. If you consider going global (or at least international) with your business, services of experienced linguists should be most welcomed by you. Even though English is the contemporary ‘lingua franca’ you cannot escape the necessity of conducting correspondence in foreign languages. And Slavis is the online solution for securing professional translations of your business correspondence.

Autor: Michal Wiewior

CEO in Slavis Technical Translations, Sworny - Certified Translations

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