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What variety of English should be used (by default) in Europe?
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 11, 2005

This is a question that has bothered me for a long time.

For example, I have just seen a terrible mix of US and UK English in a Spanish website, becuase some of the site was obviously translated by a GB translator and some by a US translator (OR possible a Spanish translator in the case of the institutional name, which spells CENTRE as CENTER).

So failing specific instructions as to which variety of language to use, what should be - from a translation perspective - the default variety of English for Europe?

It somehow doesn't seem right that it should depend solely on the nationality of the translator.

We hear/read a lot of both in Spain. But if I was Spanish and heard a public announcement in London in the Spanish of South America, I think I would be surprised...although maybe the situations - language being what it is - are not comparable.

I would like to hear oppinions on this:-)


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Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
When in Rome... Nov 11, 2005

Do as Romans do? Another possibility is not so much the location, but the topic. Let's talk about computers, and my mind goes into US mode automatically. Let's talk about history, and I prefer a UK English. As moody as this may seem, that's how it works for me.

Best regards,

P.
www.pbayle.com/blogs


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:23
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Base it on your intended audience Nov 11, 2005

I think it's that simple.

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xxxPuicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:23
Swedish to English
The British lion stalks the European jungle Nov 11, 2005

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

I think it's that simple.


Yes, but when the intended audience is either unknown or too varied, the British lion’s roar should sound.
Mike


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 19:23
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
EU English Nov 11, 2005

In Brussels and Stratsburg (Strassbourg/Straszburg) this issue has already been solved. Civil servants and officials make use of the notorious EU English.



I reckon when one starts writing in a certain variety of a language one should continue writing in that variety, or what have you.

Gidday

[quote]Lia Fail wrote:

This is a question that has bothered me for a long time.

Lia Fail wrote:

This is a question that has bothered me for a long time.

--snip--




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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:23
German to English
+ ...
Consistency Nov 11, 2005

I don't think it matters that much - though Mikhail's comment is certainly the right way to go - as long as one is consistent (IMHO).

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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:23
French to English
+ ...
"agree" with Mikhail Nov 11, 2005

If the company is Europe-centered then BE is fine.

I am from the U.S. and know that if a website is seeking to do business in the U.S. they will not have as much success if they use BE. Why? Because the majority of U.S. residents do NOT understand a lot of UK terminology and their comfort level is challenged when they see cheque (not check), flat (not apartment),lorry (not truck).

Usually, businesses engage other business services because they have confidence in their capacity to "know" the issues/challenges of their specific market. It's all about instilling confidence.

To Lia:
usually it is the client/agency that specifies UK or US English; the translator does not decide. Even on proz, jobs are sorted that way and I do not receive UK job alerts.

To titi:
In Europe, shouldn't Strasbourg (France) be written as it is spelled in France?


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Spanish to English
Default English Nov 11, 2005

[quote]Lia Fail wrote:

This is a question that has bothered me for a long time (too!).

I always ask if unsure. I receive work from the USA (US English) and the UK (UK English) and from Spain and other European countries. If the translation is for publishing in a medical/scientific or any journal, I always ask which one (USA or GB), the European journals published in English don't seem to mind and that is were the European English comes in. Normally agencies specify, but if not ask. I once shared a large translation project where the other 2 translators were Americans and I am British. One of the American translators was also the proofreader, needless to say my work looked like it had many corrections/ mistakes. That agency never used me again, and since then I always ask. Many people (especially non-native English speakers)don't even realise there is a difference.


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:23
French to English
+ ...
Client-targeted Nov 11, 2005

The choice of idiom should depend on the client and the client's intended usage. In this sense a choice of American versus British styles is no different from other stylistic choices (e.g. writing formally or informally, for the technically savy or the lay person, etc.) One should of course note that there are other forms of English such as Canadian English which are in some ways a blend of American and British influences. Moreover, given that far more people speak English as a second language than do so natively, we can expect in the coming generations for new varieties of English to emerge that are fed by influences from other linguistic traditions.

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Timothy Barton
Local time: 13:23
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Depends on audience to some extent Nov 11, 2005

I think I know which website you're referring to. I think to some extent it depends on your target audience. In general I'd use British English in Europe, especially in the EU. And in any case, British English is the standard international form, except possibly in scientific/medical journals.

However, when I'm writing for a non-British audience, I do try and avoid very British words and expressions. If you ever watch BBC World you'll notice they do the same.


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:23
English to Swedish
+ ...
British English if you have something to communicate; EU English in all other cases. Nov 11, 2005

British English if you have something to communicate; EU English in all other cases.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:23
Italian to English
+ ...
British! Nov 11, 2005

My default is British: I am British, after all. And I certainly agree that British English should prevail in Europe.

But if the client is the Italian subsidiary of a US company (or an Italian company operating in the US), or if I'm translating something for publication in a US journal then I obviously use US. It really gets on my nerves to have to use "transportation" instead of "transport", mind you

[Edited at 2005-11-11 16:57]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Why Mike? Nov 11, 2005

Puicz wrote:

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

I think it's that simple.


Yes, but when the intended audience is either unknown or too varied, the British lion’s roar should sound.
Mike


Can you say WHY it should be GB????


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes...I think that should be the model.... Nov 11, 2005

[quote]titi@home wrote:

In Brussels and Stratsburg (Strassbourg/Straszburg) this issue has already been solved. Civil servants and officials make use of the notorious EU English.



I reckon when one starts writing in a certain variety of a language one should continue writing in that variety, or what have you.

Gidday


We don't have to write EU EN unless writing for the EU, but I think the default language for the EU should be GB, after all we are members of a community living in close proximity to each other.

And if a website needs US English for US cleints, they should employ a US translator.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think it DOES matter Nov 11, 2005

Derek Gill Franßen wrote:

I don't think it matters that much - though Mikhail's comment is certainly the right way to go - as long as one is consistent (IMHO).


So as to avoid mixes in websites, for example!

To defend a variety of language in its proper domain maybe too!


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