U.S. or US (U.K. or UK)
Thread poster: Emma Goldsmith

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:47
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
May 23, 2010

For many years I have happily used "UK" (without full stops) as an abbreviation for the United Kingdom as a proper noun and as an adjective.
At the same time I have been using U.S. (with full stops) for the United States.

It has recently dawned on me that this is not very coherent on my part. Should I be using full stops or not? Surely I shouldn't be mixing UK and U.S. in the same text, but on the other hand, U.K. doesn't look right, and US could get confused with "us" (personal pronoun).

I translate into British English.

Any advice?


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:47
Italian to English
No hard and fast rule May 23, 2010

Hi Emma,

There is no rule about this but the Oxford Style Manual says that US English tends to use more punctuation (U.S.A. rather than USA) and non-technical English in either country uses more punctuation than technical English (ml. instead of ml).

A lot of clients don't worry about these things until someone points them out so it's best to be prepared. If the client has no in-house style guide, stick to one of your own choosing, or at least know when your preferred usage varies from its recommendations.

Having a guide to refer to will make it much easier to answer awkward questions from an eagle-eyed client who picks up your "inconsistent" UK/U.S.

Giles


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
According to the Interinstitutional Style Guide May 23, 2010

it should be UK and US or USA (without full stops)(http://publications.europa.eu/code/)

 

Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:47
German to English
+ ...
I use US May 23, 2010

For what it's worth, I generally use US and translate into American English. I doubt that there are many instances when US could be mistaken for the pronoun. I personally think it looks neater and as you say, more consistent if you have UK in the same text.


This question intrigued me a little, so I checked out what the Chicago Manual of Style says and found this answer to a teacher's question:

I appreciate the difficulty of a teacher who wants to present children with what’s “correct,” but I’m afraid there is no single right answer to your question. Chicago style is USA (without periods), but we also accept both U.S. and US. Other authoritative style manuals and dictionaries vary in their recommendations. Please see CMOS 15.4, 15.5, and 15.34 for guidelines and discussion. Maybe you could show your class the choices and vote on your own house style.
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/Abbreviations/Abbreviations15.html


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
French to English
+ ...
Just a question of preference/editorial decision May 23, 2010

Emma Goldsmith wrote:
It has recently dawned on me that this is not very coherent on my part. Should I be using full stops or not?


There's no "should" unless somebody poses an arbitrary obligation on you (e.g. asks you to adhere to a particular style guide/in-house charter).

Otherwise, it's essentially a question of personal preference. Decide what looks easier to read, neater, less jarring (and I guess part of not being "jarring" is being consistent).

Personally, I find myself rarely using full stops with abbreviations/initials involving capitals. So I'd always write "UK", "US", "Dr", "PhD". In names I'd probably write "A N Other", "I C Spots", "R Sole" etc. However, I do often use a full stop with small letters ("i.e.", "e.g.", "p.s.")-- I guess in these cases, they help a bit more to make them stand out from a "normal word".


 

irssy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:47
English to Russian
+ ...
U.S. (Am.) vs. US (Br.) May 24, 2010

The use of periods (Am. for full stops) is just one of many differences between American and British English. Since you use primarely British English in your translations, then I would recommend not to use periods in initialisms nor titles. For more explanation, please read an extract from the Wikipedia article "Full Stop":

"
Titles
In British English, abbreviations of titles often omit a full stop, as in Mr, Dr, Prof, which in American English would be given as Mr., Dr., Prof. The rule 'If the abbreviation includes both the first and last letter of the abbreviated word, as in mister and doctor, a full stop is not used.' is sometimes given,[4] though this does not include Professor.

In this use, the full stop is also occasionally known as a suspension mark. This originates from the old practice of marking the end of an abbreviation with the final letter superscript and a dot beneath it (though still 'suspended' above where a full stop (period) would go. Another use of the suspension mark is still seen on occasion regarding the c in Mc in logos such as Rand McNally.

[edit] Acronyms and Initialisms
In initialisms, full stops are somewhat more often placed after each initial in American English (e.g., U.S., U.S.S.R.) than in British English (e.g., US, USSR);[citation needed] . However, for acronyms that are pronounced like words (e.g., NATO), full stops are omitted in American English."

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_stop

[Edited at 2010-05-24 05:03 GMT]


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:47
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 24, 2010

everyone for all the advice, and particularly Teresa for the excellent EU reference.
I will stop putting so many full stops into my abbreviations from now on icon_smile.gif


 

Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
French to English
+ ...
variation Jun 5, 2010

I think the use of dots in abbreviations for UK Eng. may be more traditional or "old-fashioned" - I vary in my use of them.

 
Confusion only Jun 6, 2010

I think you can use anyone in any of those words .. UK or U.K. and US or U.S.A .. all look good to me .. the topic is strange but its great that you have a keen eyes in even such small details ..
But as far as about the question they are abbreviations after all and can be used in either way ..
And one more think US doesn't match with us as both the letters or US are "capital" and so refers to United States
So, its a confusion in your mind only if you ask me .... if you wanna save your time and ink don't use dot else if you want to then you are free tooicon_smile.gif

Lastly don't add a dot in .uk domain names hehe e.g. if you place a dot in rsdisplays.co.uk .. it will be rsdisplays.co.uk which surely is wrong

[Edited at 2010-06-06 08:17 GMT]


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:47
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jun 6, 2010

for your comments Rachel and Rajit, and, no, I wasn't thinking of trying to fit extra dots into urls such as .co.u.k. icon_smile.gif

 
Understandable Jun 7, 2010

yeah i was just kidding too .. but seriously I think without dot will do just fine .. and as I said earlier also .. "US" doesn't look same as "us" at all : US has caps lock on icon_wink.gif ... but at the end of the day its up to you which one you choose .. btw how did you ended up with this question anyway huh ?

 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:47
English to German
+ ...
US and UK Jun 7, 2010

according to the Oxford Reference dictionary

 

Collin Stewart  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:47
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
According to the Associated Press Stylebook... Jun 19

... it is U.S. in the body of an article, but US in a headline. USA has no periods. As a side note, U.N. follows analogous conventions according to this style manual.

These would be the correct conventions to use for media-related content for a U.S. audience.


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:47
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
It is up to you. Jun 21

First of all, I have not consulted any manuals or guides on this. I think all of those are acronyms. Therefore, it is trivial whether you put periods or not. I mostly omit periods but it would still be correct if you used periods at the end of letters. The context would make it pretty clear what is meant (for example, US would not be confused with us).

 


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