Breaking Bad News To Your International Trading Partners

When your message containing disappointing news such as adjustment or credit refusals is to be targeted to a foreign, non-English speaking client contains, begin directly.  The Marketing Analysts Translation Company suggests that you explain why you are refusing the request before you say “no.”  The direct plan is too abrupt for bad news, because readers are annoyed when denied something they believe is rightfully theirs.  A refusal before an explanation leaves readers in no mood to read further.  By explaining the refusal first, you stand a better chance of showing that your decision is reasonable.  If you succeed, you usually retain their goodwill—and their business.

Using The Direct Plan

Use the following organization for bad news:

  1. Begin with a buffer, a neutral statement your reader finds agreeable.
  2. Present your explanation to show that your decision is based on careful analysis.
  3. State your refusal as the logical conclusion for analysis
  4. Close on a positive note, expressing your desire for a continued relationship.

According to the Portuguese Translation Houston Company, by following the indirect plan and keeping the reader’s concern’s central, the revised direct plan is more likely to retain customer goodwill.  Instead of relying on an abstract “company policy,” the revision provides concrete reasoning for the refusal and offers a compromise.  Let’s look more closely at the four parts of a bad-news message and study the options for presenting disappointing news.

Buffer Opening

Base your buffer opening on statements in the letter you receive.  Most Birth Certificate Translation companies recommend that you find some point in the letter you can agree with, and begin there.  Having established this initial agreement, you explain why you can’t release the information.  In short, your buffer should not mislead.  It should introduce your topic, make your reader more receptive to the subsequent explanation and lead into the body of your text.


Explanations should show that you’ve analyzed the problem.  A group of Chicago German Translation workers recommend that business people begin their explanation with relevant details to show your knowledge of the situation and concern for the reader.  Avoid vague terms such as company policy and equal treatment.  Many customers are frustrated by the lazy clerk who parrots, “It’s company policy,” rather than trying to resolve the problem. If the policy is sound, as it should be, briefly explain it.

In the following letter, note how the explanation follows naturally from the buffer.  The writer explains why the problem occurs, implicitly refuses the requested refund and finally offers a solution.  While not the one requested, the solution shows that the writer has made a sincere effort to help.


A tacit or implied refusal is an excellent way to avoid the following overly negative statements: “Therefore, we must refuse a refund,” the writer explains and offers a solution.  The refusal is the logical outcome of the explanation and the solution.  In turn, lessens the refusal’s impact.

A tacit or implied refusal is an excellent way to avoid the following overly negative statements: we must deny, we cannot grant, or I must refuse.  The tacit refusal also must be unambiguous; otherwise, your response could be misleading.  If someone persists with a claim despite your previous refusal(s), blunt negatives may be necessary.

Positive Close

After stating the refusal, change the subject and end on a pleasant note.  The reader will not forget the refusal, but you hope that he or she will accept your reasons.

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