bit of French translation needed please

Nov 16th, 2002, 06:35 PM
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bit of French translation needed please


I need to write to a postmaster in France to request the return of our money paid for a postal money order that was not delivered. I do not know the French title of the person in charge of a town post office. Can someone tell me the correct title please? Also, do I begin the letter as I would in English, i.e., "Dear Mr. Post Master" (Cher M. ___) or in some other way?

While I'm asking for this help, I'll also ask if anyone knows a better way for sending money out of France than via the Poste. We could find no other way to send money to England as a deposit on a future rental -- and it was never delivered.

Nov 16th, 2002, 09:56 PM
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Just say Cher Monsieur, don't translate it word for word. Once I got a letter from someone who was translating word for word into English. They said "Sorry I am in late..." because they translated "en retard..."

When I lived in France, i had a Danish bank account in order to easily write checks. In France, they wire money a lot so perhaps they can wire money to England. Could you also have a UK bank account if you write a lot of checks? A bank may be able to issue a check in pound sterling but they will probably charge a lot.
Nov 17th, 2002, 08:32 AM
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Thanks, Sam. We could find no bank or other agency in Arles willing to sell us a bank cheque or money order, except the Poste. Everyone sent us there. We purchased two at the same time -- neither was delivered. One was refunded and I wish to write to the poste about the other.
Nov 17th, 2002, 09:41 AM
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Don't write "cher" in businessletters.
Monsieur is enough.
Nov 17th, 2002, 10:07 AM
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I don't know this for sure, not ever having had to write to one -- but I don't think you would write to a postmaster for that. Also, I wouldn't say "Dear Postmaster" as the salutation, even in English. You would use that as the title for the addressee, but a traditional business letter when one doesn't know the person's name should be simply "Dear Sir/Madam" in English (unless that's old school, but that used to be the rule), not Dear ... someone's job position, when it is a generic job title for a manager or director).

A postmaster in French is "receveur des postes", I think (masculine, receveuse, feminine), but I don't know the official duties of a postmaster in France; the head of a single small branch office is just called the "responsable" or manager/person in charge. You wouldn't write Dear Responsable, though (although it is kind of funny, I don't think they'd be offended by that).

What I'm thinking I would do in your case, since it regards money, is to write to the financial person at the post office. They have the position title of "conseiller financier" (financial adviser) in French post offices. I think that would be to whom I would write in your situation, rather than the postmaster. Aside from addressing the letter on the envelope and inside address to that job title, I would then simply use "Monsieur/Madamequot; as the salutation of the letter. That's what I do with business letters to France, and although I don't write many, I think I've seen that type of salutation on business letters from France, also.
Nov 17th, 2002, 11:38 AM
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Here a simple text:

Monsieur, Madame,
Le ....... (date), j'ai acheté dans votre bureau de poste un mandat carte international (No. ...... )
pour la somme de .... Livres Sterling, à envoyer en Angleterre, à l'adresse suivante: .....
Le coût total était de .... Euro.
Ce mandat n'est jamais arrivé, et je vous saurais gré de me rembourser ce montant.

Enclose a copy of your receipt and/or a copy of the "mandat". Send it to Arles by certified mail. Of course you also have to give them instructions on how and where to send you the refund.

In the future, why not pay from your home account, but if you absolutely have to do it from France pay the extra 24.30 Euro to do it by wire. Or.. book a place that accepts credit cards as deposit.

Bonne chance!
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