Electronic mail is a means of sending and receiving messages- internally, nationally, or internationally. In the UK, Telecom Gold is a leading commercial email service. Subscribers to email need a terminal, such as a personal computer, a telephone line, and a modem, which is a device for converting signals to text. Messages appear on the receiver's computer screen.
Email users can also have access to a mailbox, which they can call from anywhere in the world and retrieve messages. They receive a mailbox number and a password for confidentiality. Messages can be printed out and kept for reference or filing.
In comparison with telex, email is relatively low in cost, and does not require a trained operator. It is also fast, relatively reliable, and messages can be sent or picked up anywhere in the world, and stored in the mailbox until they are retrieved. This can be particularly advantageous for users who are communicating across international time zones.
Users of the Telecom Gold system can request a personal telex number, and receive messages through email, or send faxes to users on the same system.
Specimen email message
Here is an example of one type of message, with the capitals representing data on the Visual Display Unit (VDU) and the italics, the messages.
Notice the codes which are the personal numbers of the subscribers, e.g. ABC 123, and the prefixes, e.g. 70: which is the number of that computer system. Also the dot(.) before the word SEND(.SEND), which is a command to the computer.
Telegrams and cables
The words telegram and\telegraph are usually associated with internal communication, while cable generally refers to overseas messages. Telegram is a noun and telegraph can be used as a verb or adjective:
We received your telegram. Please telegraph your reply. A telegraph line.
Cable can be used as a verb, noun, or adjective:
I cabled him yesterday.
Please send a cable.
We received a cable message.
There are a number of points to remember when telegraphing or cabling a message. Below is a guide.
CARGO SPACE SS FORTUNA AVAILABLE STOP CONFIRM SHIP SAILS 10 FEB STOP DELIVER CONSIGNMENT WITH
Although small letters can be used, cables are usually written out in capitals with the telegraphic address of the receiver at the top, the message following, and the sender's address at the end.
Telegraphic addresses are usually made up from the name of the firm, e.g. Denis Robert can be formed into DENRO, or from the name and trade of the company. Figures are also sometimes added.
The word STOP
Although there can be full stops in telegrams and cables, sentences are often broken up with the word STOP.
NEGOTIATIONS SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED STOP HOME TOMORROW STOP
YOUR LAST SHIPMENT DAMAGED STOP LETTER FOLLOWS STOP
Occasionally, however, the word STOP can create confusion if the cable is carelessly worded. If, in the second cable above, the sender had used the word WRITING instead of LETTER FOLLOWS to indicate that he was going to write a letter later, the message would have read STOP WRITING, with possibly unfortunate results.
13 5 3
The word REPEAT
This word is often used in cables to emphasize a negative:
DO NOT REPEAT NOT SEND ORDER 18551
Or to emphasize an important detail:
FLIGHT DELAYED BY SIX REPEAT SIX HOURS
You can use abbreviations in cables, e.g. L/C (letter of credit), B/L (bill of lading) etc., but you must make sure that they are internationally recognized.
Only irrevocable letters of credit which have been confirmed by a bank will be acceptable.
ONLY IRREVOCABLE CONFIRMED L/C ACCEPTABLE
We are prepared to accept your offer on a Cost Insurance Freight basis with payment by bill of exchange at 30 days after sight.
GIF ACCEPTABLE STOP PAYMENT B/E 30 D/S
Notice the special abbreviations lowest (as low as possible) and earliest or
soonest (as soon as possible), which are acceptable abbreviations in cables.
Could you please give us your most competitive quotation for your MD20 cameras?
PLEASE QUOTE LOWEST FOR MD20 CAMERAS
We would be grateful if you would reply as quickly as possible.
PLEASE REPLY SOONEST
Brief but clear
Economy of words saves money, but if too few words are used, the message becomes confused and will cost more money in the long run. For example, if you received this message from Melbourne, Australia, would you know what to do about it?
JOHN REED ARRIVING STOP MEET AT AIRPORT
The message does not tell us which airport John Reed is arriving at, or which flight he is on. A few more words would have made a difference.
JOHN REED ARRIVING 12 MAY A.M. STOP FLIGHT 441 QANTAS HEATHROW TERMINAL 3 PLEASE MEET
It is possible to omit certain words in cables, provided the meaning remains clear. Articles, pronouns, and prepositions can be left out:
I will send you a copy of (fie contract on 'March 1st.
WILL SEND COPY CONTRACT MA ACH FIRST
Participles or nouns can be used to replace clauses:
We have received the consignment you sent us last week to replace the damaged goods.
HAVE RECEIVED REPLACEMENT CONSIGNMENT DESPATCHED LAST WEEK
Will you please inform us of the date when the SS Marina arrives in Liverpool?
PLEASE INFORM ARRIVAL SS MARINA LIVERPOOL
Words not figures
It is better to use words rather than figures where money, weight, and size is concerned. The following message from a commodity broker to his client, regarding the purchase of cocoa, is not very clear:
HAVE BEEN QUOTED 27,000 POUNDS STOP SHOULD WE BUY
The figure 7 in the UK can often be confused with the figure 1 in continental Europe. The comma may be confusing (see 2.5.2). The word 'pounds' could refer to weight or, like the words 'dollars' and 'francs' which are also ambiguous, to any of several currencies. So it would have been better to cable:
HAVE BEEN QUOTED TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS STERLING STOP SHOULD WE BUY
LEBATS HONG KONG
SS ORIENT ACCEPTING CARGO 3 MAY TO 7 MAY WHEN SAILING