a lexical gap? (email "merge"?)

humvee

Senior Member
Cantonese and Mandarin
Hi y'all

I should have posted this in Chinese forum. But after serious consideration I decide to post it here.

A couple of months ago, a software company hired me to translate one of their email app into English interface.

I went smooth until I came across a technical term: <<Chinese characters removed >> for those who don't speak Chinese, I will temporarily transliterate this term into English "Send to a group (of recipients), but display separately or individually."

Now let me labor the point below:

Suppose there are four persons, Alice, Bob, Cathy and Doug (yes, ABCD).

Now Alice being the one who is going to send an email. She's gonna send an email with same content to Bob,Cathy and Doug.
There seems to be three ways to do this, the first way is to write the email id of the relevant persons in the recipient section, separated by a separator ",". OK, the separator might vary in different apps but this hardly concerns us here.

The second way: write down Bob's email id in the recipient bar and copy to Cathy and Doug

The third way: write down Bob's email id in the recipient bar and blind copy to Cathy and Doug

Finally comes the trickier part I mentioned at the very beginning, let's add a 1 million dollar solution as the fourth way.

Have you ever noticed that in first and second way, the recipient will know that Alice sent what to whom, the third way is improved, say, Bob know Alice might send to a group of people, though the rest of the recipient is unbeknownst to Bob. This matters because Bob might think that Alice is a copy-and-paste-kinda person who pays no attention to netiquette.

That's why some email client, especially webmail solution developed by Chinese companies, add a fourth way, which resolve the embarrasing situation above. That said, Bob will think that Alice sent the email to him only. No CC, no BCC. So do Cathy and Doug.

I was wondering if there were such a word for this feature in English. I used to know that Outlook can implement it by working together with Excel, it's just a workaround, no one-stop solution though.

Please shed more light on this for me! Thanks.
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I'm certainly not aware of any special term for this feature, humvee, but I don't read a lot of material about webmail solutions. Perhaps another member will know a term that is being used to label that feature.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    If you want to send the same email to more than one person without the other recipients knowing the distribution, send the original to yourself and list the others under Blind Carbon Copy or BCC.

    I would call this BCCing the recipients: "I've sent the email only to Alice, Bob, Cathy, and Doug but I've BCCed them all. Let's see what happens." (Pron Be-see-seeing/Be-see-see/Be-see-seed.) I suppose this is informal and "to blind carbon-copy" would be the full version.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Humvee seems to be looking for a word for a feature that doesn't involve the "BCC" option. I haven't seen any suggestions yet. Maybe the word doesn't exist, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it does.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    That's not what humvee wants, Paul. If Alice sends a message to herself, and BCCs it to the Bob and the others, then Bob will see the message as from Alice to Alice and BCCed to Bob.
    What humvee wants is that Bob should see the message as from Alice to Bob, with the CC and BCC fields blank or absent, i.e. the behaviour desired is that each of the three recipients will think Alice is writing to them individually.

    In other words, Alice doesn't only want Bob (and the others) not to know who else the message is also going to, but doesn't even want them to know that it's going to anyone else.

    There must be a technical term for this. I'm not sure if it's "mailmerge".
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I think the problems are (i) the OP is looking for a word to describe a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, (ii) the Chinese characters produce a descriptive phrase, yet the OP wants a single word.
     

    humvee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese and Mandarin
    I think the blind carbon copy function of your email program is not working correctly.
    Hi Myridon, I'm not quite sure. I prefer instant messaging to emailing. Maybe you are right. If my memory serves, back to the days when I was a heavy user of older version of outlook. I remember that when people BCC'ed me, it is true that the rest of the recipients are hidden from me, but I knew I was BCC'ed nonetheless. My then colleague even joked that if only he could hack into the BCC part, then he would make real fast bucks!

    Like I said im no email guy now. So I know of little latest features. A feature that can avoid, like, "Don't BCC me no more, hell no!" (double negative not intended, can't help it).
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Hi Myridon, I'm not quite sure. I prefer instant messaging to emailing. Maybe you are right. If my memory serves, back to the days when I was a heavy user of older version of outlook. I remember that when people BCC'ed me, it is true that the rest of the recipients are hidden from me, but I knew I was BCC'ed nonetheless. My then colleague even joked that if only he could hack into the BCC part, then he would make real fast bucks!
    I think you want a word for a feature that no one has because no one (but you) wants it. There's a reason that there aren't words for things like this. :) Email programs imitate office procedures of by-gone days. When you received a real carbon copy, there was no way to hide the fact that it was a carbon copy and the intended primary recipient's name was typed as part of the letter/memo.
    Perhaps you're using BCC for purposes for which it was not intended - again, there's a reason that there's no word for this. :)
    Let's say I want to use a shovel to kill birds - there's no specific word for that just because I think there should be. ;)
    Your email program doesn't send emails in some way that you think it should - there's no specific word for something the email program doesn't do.
     
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    humvee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese and Mandarin
    There must be a technical term for this. I'm not sure if it's "mailmerge".
    Hi Edin, thanks for pointing this out, I've heard of this mailmerge feature. I didn't mention it because what I know was a chinese translation for mail merge, which translated back to English might be "mail combination". I tried to avoid using Chinglish. It is said that mail merge is for power users. I'm not sure.

    I would hazard a guess that mail merge is the closest equivalent for the Chinese terminology <<Chinese characters removed>>
    Boss:"Chinese New Year is drawing near, don't forget to send new year greetings to your clients, but care should be taken that no GROUP SEND, you can mail merge!"

    Is this usage acceptable in English?
     
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    humvee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese and Mandarin
    I think you want a word for a feature that no one has because no one (but you) wants it. There's a reason that there aren't words for things like this. :) Email programs imitate office procedures of by-gone days. When you received a real carbon copy, there was no way to hide the fact that it was a carbon copy and the intended primary recipient's name was typed as part of the letter/memo.
    Perhaps you're using BCC for purposes for which it was not intended - again, there's a reason that there's no word for this. :)
    Let's say I want to use a shovel to kill birds - there's no specific word for that just because I think there should be. ;)
    Your email program doesn't send emails in some way that you think it should - there's no specific word for something the email program doesn't do.
    Myridon, it's not what I want, never had I thought of any thing like that in my wish list. Edin has came up with a good equivalent. I ask this out of curiousity. You may be right that there is no such a thing as this feature(not word) in English. There may be a reason, developers don't add this because it encourages spams. But this is not a good argument against tech innovation, I will say guns don't kill people, people kill people.

    There are also reasons why the webmail service providers in China add this feature. Because there are whole lotta factories like internet marketing coz it's dirt cheap.While there is a demand, there's a solution, right?

    But let's not involve in any blame game.

    I'm no Luddite, I'm more of a Heideggerian, my attitude toward tech is "gelassenheit".
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To me, this sounds like sending individual e-mails to a list. That's what I'd call it. "Mail merge" is similar but for paper mail. I've never heard "e-mail merge," but it would convey the same idea.

    There is a difference between one e-mail to multiple addressees and multiple e-mails. When you send a message to multiple people, your e-mail software sends one message to your e-mail server. That server then sends out as many copies as necessary. When you send individual e-mails to everyone, your e-mail software sends that many messages. That may not matter, but sometimes it could - especially if you have a slow connection and/or the e-mail is large because of attachments, images and so on.

    Separately, words like "gonna" and "kinda" have their place in informal speech, I use them, but they are out of place in a somewhat formal forum post. I'd save them for chatting with friends.
     
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