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I am working at a company which sends millions of SMS for all sorts of customers. Many banks are among them. For some customers, we have stored message templates in our database. Every once in a while, the customer contacts us and asks to modify some of their templates. These templates come in several languages. As one of them is my mother tongue, I often realise that there are typographic or grammatical mistakes in those texts.

At my company, I am currently the only one who cares for those messages whenever the customer asks for a modification. Although it is none of my business, I feel that I may tell them.

So, my question is: Should I address this at all? If, what is the best way to address it via e-mail?

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    @Aserre No urgency, often weeks of tests, and I communicate directly. – rexkogitans Nov 5 '18 at 13:11
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    @Kilisi even if it's not a mistake, as a customer I would be very happy that a company I'm hiring would be concerned with any possible mistakes I'm making that could put my company on the map in a wrong way. – Summer Nov 5 '18 at 13:48
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    @Summer I wouldn't be... I'd just want them to do what I pay them for, and I'd reply that bluntly to them if they were in error. But thats just me... – Kilisi Nov 5 '18 at 13:50
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    @Kilisi I agree, if that's outside of their scope, why are they doing it? – SaggingRufus Nov 5 '18 at 13:54
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    @MonkeyZeus It's quite possible that they bring this back to the translator and realize there is an issue there. Telling them "Your translator has made a mistake" IMO would return with either a) "Can we pay you to do the translate/check service" or b) "We'll bring this up with them, thanks" – Brydon Gibson Nov 5 '18 at 15:46
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As you mention there is no urgency and you have a direct contact with the sender, I would suggest coming back to them with something like that :

Dear client,

I've received your request and implemented the changes in our database.

However, It's come to my attention that in the template I received, you wrote the word 'FouBare'. Maybe you meant to write 'FooBar' ?

Please tell me if you would like to make modifications or publish the message as-is.

If you do so, you'd have to be sure you are correct, and that the client is not in fact using obscure or technical vocabulary that would be grammatically correct nonetheless.

Note :

Even if you see common typos or very elementary mistakes, I would always come back to the client with the suggested corrections before putting them in the database. That way, you have an email trail and the client has to directly approve the final modifications.

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    As suggested by @JoeStrazzere, I talked to my manager, and he came up with exactly Aserre's answer. Thanks for the great community help! – rexkogitans Nov 5 '18 at 13:29
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    @SaggingRufus hard to tell, as the solution is a mixture of them. If I could, I would accept both answers... However, Aserre's answer proposes an e-mail text as requested by me. – rexkogitans Nov 5 '18 at 14:13
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    "If you do so, you'd have to be sure you are correct, and that the client is not in fact using obscure or technical vocabulary that would be grammatically correct nonetheless." I would argue that if it's obscure, it's probably not suitable in a template being pushed out to the average person's phone anyway. Now, if you mean it's jargon specific to their and the recipient's field, that's one thing, but not just "obscure." – jpmc26 Nov 5 '18 at 18:04
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    "If you do so, you'd have to be sure you are correct, and that the client is not in fact using obscure or technical vocabulary that would be grammatically correct nonetheless." - No, you are not. The phrase you provided above is polite and keeps the possibility that client is right open. The only risk of being wrong is appearing less versed in FouBare technology than the client, but as long as FouBare isn't what client pay for, I'd say it's not a problem. – Mołot Nov 6 '18 at 14:25
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    Two days after, the bank revised the SMS text and accepted my suggestion thankfully. – rexkogitans Nov 8 '18 at 8:50
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Should I address this at all? If, what is the best way to tell it via e-mail?

Quality is everyone's responsibility. So yes, you should try to find a way to address the quality issues you see. And preventing an error is almost always preferred over discovering an issue in production.

Talk to your manager, or the project manager, or whoever is responsible for owning the client relationship.

Mention that you occasionally see issues in some of the templates, and ask how you could best convey the issues you are seeing so that they are corrected before being sent.

In some companies, a bug report would be appropriate. In other companies, a quick note to your company's client support person would be appropriate. In a few companies, they would want you to respond directly to the client.

Just ignoring an obviously incorrect template isn't helping anyone.

29

Where I work, our systems are responsible for producing printed output and emails.

I speak both English and French (both of Canada's national languages). When we see an error we are instructed to leave it alone. The client is supposed have all of their content reviewed and translated appropriately. The actual content itself is not our concern.

When you start doing these types of services for clients, they come to expect it and before you know it, you will be the final line of defense against spelling mistakes. Not to mention, if anything goes wrong with your interpretation of the correction, your company will be the one on the hook.

The reason we are told to leave it alone is because if we recommend a change, we become liable for any fall out that is causes. Feel free to tell your team leader, but that's as high as I would go with it. If your team leader wants to assume the risk, or welcome the extra work, that's on them.

  • I agree with this answer. How far do you go correcting typos? It can go from a simple misspelling, to grammar, to clarifying sentences, to using better words, to becoming their copy-editor for free. What if they need something published urgently, but you usually correct their typos? Do you publish it (they might ask why you didn't correct it), email them back and delay it (not published in time), or correct it and then publish it (they might ask why you changed their message as it differs from what they wrote and they disagree with your spelling suggestion.) – alexyorke Nov 6 '18 at 0:37
3

Do your company charge for text verification?
If not then it's not your problem and not you responsibility and you would be doing somebody else job for free (for example the translation agency that get paid for that) If yes then it's the corrector job.

You can just let your company know that there is a profit to be made by offering text check for customers.

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