Veteran eBay Sellers Have Noteworthy Translation & Communication Skills (Updated)

Posted on September 3, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , |


Experienced eBay sellers who offer their items for sale internationally know how to communicate with potential buyers and customers whose primary language is not English.  When a buyer sends an email written in French, eBay sellers can translate the French to English to understand the question.  An answer is drafted in English by the seller and then translated back to French before the seller responds to the buyer.  There are many free online translation services but one of my favorites is Babelfish

However, eBay sellers must also communicate with buyers who send emails in poorly written English and that task requires significantly more skill and experience.   For example, I received the following email from an eBay buyer:

it is for indicating to him that my interest is to realise the payment immediately to him but the problem is that when treatment to do the payment to him which leaves to me is things only, desire that me send the invoice to be able to do the payment and its totality to him, only I need you to pay.

There is no “translation service” available to help an eBay seller understand what this buyer is really saying.  As a 10+ year veteran eBay seller I know what the person is asking.  I thought I would give my readers a day or two to test their eBay communication skills.  Do you know what this eBayer is saying?   If so, I would have to guess that you are an eBay seller worthy of a 5.0 Seller Rating in Communication.

Check back in a day or two and I will have this blog post updated with the translation answer.

TRANSLATION: Dear seller, I recently won two of your items and I want to pay promptly for the items I won.  I would like to pay for them with one payment, as your terms state, to take advantage of the combined shipping savings you offer.  I have not yet received an invoice from you and I am not familiar with how to use eBay’s checkout system to combine items.  I attempted to pay via PayPal directly by inputting the auction numbers but when I do so, the shipping cost does not come up automatically.  Could you please send me an invoice so that I can make the correct total payment, including shipping costs, via Paypal?  Thank you.



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2 Responses to “Veteran eBay Sellers Have Noteworthy Translation & Communication Skills (Updated)”

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I have been asked many times by people doing business internationally via ebay to translate a machine translated text and in many cases I did not bother to come up with a “shrewd” guess. Natural language is an established and tried and tested code of communication and it is difficult enough to provide a good translation from it.
But what is worse is the fact that increasingly non-native speaker texts written in English are considered regular jobs now by translation agencies to be translated into any language – often at an equally gibberish-like torture level.

A lot of words to say I have no clue whatsoever what the above text may mean, although I am well versed in the language of contracts!

I’ll bite.

I think this person wanted to pay for an auction item and when they tried to sign into PayPal via eBay it didn’t go through (due to a ‘glitch’).

This person then tried to sign in directly to PayPal to pay for it and due to the same eBay ‘glitch’, there was no record of the purchase.

Now, your customer who takes pride in the fact they pay their sellers right away is being forced to ask you to send an invoice via your Paypal account.

This ideal prompt paying customer who has never had a bad experience, has been convinced by eBay that sellers are scoundrels and they need that PayPal invoice for when something goes amiss, for protection of course.

Okay, okay,,, the bitter eBay seller in me typed that last sentence…..

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