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Autoresponders are your friend November 4, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

Several folks in the translation blogosphere have recently written about autoresponders in preparation for the upcoming ATA conference. I am interrupting my regularly scheduled vacation to add my two cents. It’s ok. My cousin just left to go vote, so I have the time. I voted weeks ago. All I’m doing is drinking coffee and catching up on the blogs in my feed reader – and finishing one of the books I brought with me, “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. I’m heading to Orlando later today to meet with Corinne and go over our presentation for tomorrow’s preconference session.

Autoresponders are something you don’t really think about until you are frantically rushing around to head off on vacation. However, they take some foresight and planning in order to work in the most ideal way possible. Ideally you should set up an autoresponder for your work e-mail and your personal e-mail (just in case your clients have that one too).

One thing most people don’t consider when turning on their autoresponder is that it automatically answers all your listservs and newsletters as well. That is annoying for everyone on the listserv and perhaps the newsletter owner, while you are blissfully unaware and enjoying your vacation. You could set all your listservs to “no mail” while you are gone, but there will inevitably be one or two newsletters or listservs you forget about. The solution to this is to set up an e-mail address that you use for any listservs or automatic e-mails you receive (like my daily cartoon or Jost’s Tool Kit newsletter). Most translators I know who are active on listservs have an e-mail address called “lists@domain.com” (or some variation thereof) that they use to subscribe to listservs. I go one step further and also subscribe to my daily comic strip and other weekly newsletters using that e-mail address as well.

Since I don’t use Outlook and don’t need my computer to run and use up electricity while I’m gone, I set up my autoresponder directly on my ISP’s web site where you manage all the e-mail addresses and things. It is actually really easy. I simply log onto the Customer page and click on the e-mail addresses that I want the autoresponder for and then type the “out of office” message and save it. I would include some screenshots, but I’m not on my computer. If you aren’t sure if your ISP offers this, ask. I bet they do. The login for controlling your e-mail addresses and aliases is usually on the same page as the login for their web mail interface.

Now if I could only figure out how to get it to selectively not respond to spam and let them know there’s a real person at that address…


1. ml - November 10, 2008

Be careful with autoresponders:

2. jillsommer - November 10, 2008

@ml – Thanks for adding the link. I didn’t mention it on purpose because every translation blog I follow had already mentioned it – and it had been discussed several times on my listservs. I try to not talk about things that everyone is talking about (for example, I have never talked about Google Translate) and instead prefer to bring up other things to make people think.

Any translator worth their salt should have a bilingual autoresponder anyway, so that mistakes like this shouldn’t happen!!! That’s my $0.02 on the issue 🙂

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