Please answer in simplified Chinese.

In English, we do this on the front of the envelope of a letter:

For example:

To master (x) or Sir (x) or Lady (x)

Address

In the inside we put:

Dear (x).

And:

Best regards, (x).

So...


What do the Chinese put on the front of the envelope? Do they have anything they often write inside the letter like 'dear' or 'from'?

When writing a name on the front of the envelope, do they use titles? (Mr/Mrs, for example)

  • 2
    Google "Chinese letter etiquette" – jf328 Jan 9 '17 at 17:37
  • 1
    Formal or casual? Public or private? Business or personal? In traditional Chinese terms or in terms translated from English? To your peer or to your superior? Long letter or quick note? Different kind of letter has different kind of format, please be more specific. – Tang Ho Jan 9 '17 at 18:45
  • Formal, long letter. Private, personal, formal, letter. @TangHo – Daniel Cann Jan 9 '17 at 19:25

如果是正式信件,通常信封上会有头衔一类称呼,如“某某经理”、“某某博士”或“某某先生/女士”。私人信件,如果对方是长辈,也经常会有此类头衔。

信内,正式信件通常以“尊敬的某某”开头。私人信件就比较随意,可以直接称呼作者对对方通常的称呼。如果是至亲或密友,有时也会写“亲爱的某某”。古人写信我也见过以“某某顿首”开头的,其中“某某”是写信人自己的名讳。

署名前,通常写“此致 敬礼!”或“致礼!”。更传统一些的说法有“顺祺”等,因人而异。

There are many different ways of addressing an individual in Chinese. You can use 同事 (colleague) behind someone's name as a way of addressing him/her. There is a really big emphasis on using 您 (formal you) instead of 你 (informal you) when using the pronoun in addressing someone. If you were writing to a loved one, you could say 亲爱的 (roughly translates to "Dear Love"). As for Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc, you can use 先生,小姐,女士, In terms of signing off a letter, depending on the context, you could end with 谢谢 (thank you) or 等您回话 (waiting for your reply).

  • “There is not really a translation for Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc. ” Mr., Miss, Mrs can be translated. It is 先生,小姐,女士 – 超酷爆帅型男 Jan 11 '17 at 0:13
  • @SuperCoolHandsomeGelBoy Yes. You are correct! My apologies for missing out on those. My answer above has been edited. – Michael Jan 11 '17 at 15:24

On the envelope, you may write "xxx收" (literally "to be received by xxx") or "xxx亲启" (literally "to be personally opened by xxx" - especially if letter is confidential).

At the top of the letter, the Chinese simply address the recipient by title/relationship, etc. Some examples would include: 尊敬的客户阁下 ("respectable & honorable customer" - writing for a company), 张博士 ("Dr. Zhang" - someone you're not especially close to), or 亲爱的大文 ("dear Dawen" - a friend). People also write greetings such as "见信如晤" (literally "seeing this letter is like meeting (in person)"). Due to influences from Japan, some people write "xxx 敬启" (literally "please open") at the top of a letter (as the Chinese equivalent of Japanese haikei 拝啓).

In the letter, you may address the recipient by 阁下, 台端 or 敬启者 if you want to be polite.

Finally, at the bottom of the letter, people write 此致 (some people write 此致 敬礼, but this looks a bit too pedantic IMO), 祝好, 顺颂时祺, or 某某顿首 (where 某某 is your name, most formal).

This should be enough for an informal and/or reasonably formal Chinese letter.

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