Differences in English UK and English CA
Thread poster: karen henry

karen henry  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
French to English
Oct 5, 2012

Hello everyone,

I have the possibility to translate some documents from Quebec (French into English). I realise that there are big differences between these two anglophone languages and was wondering whether it was acceptable to translate French Canadien documents into English Canadien just using Word Spell-check for English CA. Obviously, I realise that there are other differences besides the spelling, but would this be enough for commercial documents? I would inform my client that I was not English CA.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No Oct 5, 2012

In my experience, no matter what I set the spell check to (and even if I change the default language), it always reverts back automatically to US English. I don't know if you'll have the same problem but in any case I wouldn't rely on the spell check alone. See this helpful resource:

http://www3.telus.net/linguisticsissues/BritishCanadianAmerican.htm


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Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:57
Member
Portuguese to English
Research your target language Oct 5, 2012

Hi Karen,

I'm a Brit, but frequently translate into US, Canadian and Australian English - although the differences are small, in my case they matter to the target reader and I always make sure that besides spelling differences, structure, vocabulary choice and sometimes even style is appropriate to the target reader as well.

There are some good resources on the web to help you make these small adjustments, as Tina already posted.

Happy translating!!


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
French to English
Checking Canadian spelling Oct 5, 2012

Word set to English CA should be ok for general purpose use..

If you're not sure about anything, Termium is a good resource; it's by the Government of Canada.

http://www.termium.gc.ca/


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xxxGrayson Morr  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:57
Dutch to English
I wouldn't, without a native speaker to check the end result for errors Oct 5, 2012

I've always defended my stance to translate only into my native variant, American English, by pointing out the following: While there's a lot I know about the differences between UK and US English -- queue versus line, lift versus elevator, -our versus -or, never had done instead of never had, and so on -- there's undoubtedly plenty I don't know. And those tiny mistakes will instantly tip off a native UK audience that the text they're reading was written by an American.

(Many years ago, a client whose main UK translator fell ill beseeched me to take over one of his assignments, and sent me several previous texts he'd translated for the end client. That was how I learned that "drinks machine" -- which sounds very odd in US English -- is correct UK English. Heh.)

That said, I have finally acquiesced to a long-term client's request to translate into UK English for them -- because they have a British translator in-house who checks all my work for Americanisms. (I also asked to be told of any errors I made, however small, so I could learn from them.) I still don't translate into British English for other clients. My theory is that if it matters enough for the client to stipulate the variant, those tiny errors will matter to the audience.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 16:57
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Agree with Grayson Morris Oct 5, 2012

The sole purpose of localization is to taylor the language to the end user. Only a native can offer that. I've lived in England in the past and yet I'd forgotten about the drinks machine and drinks can just doesn't come naturally to me.

[Edited at 2012-10-05 17:39 GMT]


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Donald Hubert Duffy III  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Word reverting back to US EN Oct 5, 2012

Tina Vonhof wrote:

In my experience, no matter what I set the spell check to (and even if I change the default language), it always reverts back automatically to US English. I don't know if you'll have the same problem but in any case I wouldn't rely on the spell check alone. See this helpful resource:

http://www3.telus.net/linguisticsissues/BritishCanadianAmerican.htm



I had a similar problem but in reverse because I'd bought my laptop in a different country. If I remember correctly, Word tends to default to the language setting of your operating system, even if you set a different language on Word itself. To prevent that, you can change the language setting of your actual OS via Control Panel (switch out US English and replace it with your own variant).


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Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:57
Member
Portuguese to English
Yes, have it reviewed by a "native" Oct 5, 2012

I agree with previous comments that if we translate into a variant which is not our own specific one (and, by the way, I am a strong advocate of never translating into a language which is not your mother tongue), then there must be a review and editing process in place - it is easy to overlook one or two peculiarities and nuances when we don't have daily contact with that variant.

Another working practice of mine is to have "reliable informants" (maybe a habit from my UK CID days..) - and I recommend this to all linguists.

For example, all the work I do into US English, where the end client does not have a US English-speaking reviewer, goes through my American cousin who is herself a prolific writer in her professional and personal life - her Federal Government job takes her all over the USA and she is remarkably well-versed, even in regional variations. She makes changes/suggestions and I submit the finished product with no doubts in my mind.

Same for Canadian, Australian and so on - recruit the assistance of people who know. And always know who your target readership will be.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Evert little helps Oct 6, 2012

Mark Thompson wrote:

I agree with previous comments that if we translate into a variant which is not our own specific one (and, by the way, I am a strong advocate of never translating into a language which is not your mother tongue), then there must be a review and editing process in place - it is easy to overlook one or two peculiarities and nuances when we don't have daily contact with that variant.

...

Same for Canadian, Australian and so on - recruit the assistance of people who know. And always know who your target readership will be.


Complete agreement here - even regional diferences can be important in US English and the same is likely true in Canadian, etc - so the best policy is to have a competent native speaker to give it the once-over.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@Donald Oct 6, 2012

Thank you for that suggestion (you can change the language setting of your actual OS via Control) but is it easy enough that I can quickly change back and forth between the different versions of English? I translate into all three and I usually have the UK English proofread by a native speaker but I try not to burden them with spelling errors.

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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:57
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Spellcheck reverting to different version of English Oct 6, 2012

Donald Hubert Duffy III wrote:

... Word tends to default to the language setting of your operating system, even if you set a different language on Word itself. To prevent that, you can change the language setting of your actual OS via Control Panel (switch out US English and replace it with your own variant).


This seems to vary according to what OS you have. I have just bought a new notebook PC with a Windows 7 Pro OS, here in France. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could change the interface language to UK English when I set it up, but this came with the warning that it was a one-off choice that I would be unable to revise. My desktop PC, also bought in France, has Windows XP OS in French and I didn't have the option of changing the interface language. I actually rather like having one in each language now. However, I deliberately bought a UK version of Office. The language of the OS interface should not affect the available spellcheck dictionaries.

I have never had a problem of the spellcheck reverting to any language other than the one the document is in. However, this problem can arise when the source document is set to another language version. Press F8 to highlight the entire text of the document and check what language shows on the language bar. If it is the wrong one, or wrong version, change it while the text is still highlighted. I have had French texts sent to me where the language bar shows EN-US!

I make it very clear to clients that I translate into UK English only and that though, if they really want me to do a translation for e.g. a US client I will run a US spellcheck and try to use US constructions they need to get it proofread by a native speaker of US EN.

[Edited at 2012-10-06 15:40 GMT]


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karen henry  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 6, 2012

Thanks for all of your helpful comments and tips.

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Donald Hubert Duffy III  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Wow Oct 6, 2012

B D Finch wrote:
This seems to vary according to what OS you have. I have just bought a new notebook PC with a Windows 7 Pro OS, here in France. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could change the interface language to UK English when I set it up, but this came with the warning that it was a one-off choice that I would be unable to revise. My desktop PC, also bought in France, has Windows XP OS in French and I didn't have the option of changing the interface language. I actually rather like having one in each language now. However, I deliberately bought a UK version of Office. The language of the OS interface should not affect the available spellcheck dictionaries.


Are you saying when you go to Control Panel > Region & Language Configuration > Format you're prohibited from changing the "Language (Country)" setting? What about the list of keyboards? That would suffice for Word purposes. I've done this on several machines, using XP and Windows 7, both professional and home editions, and can't recall ever having to limit myself to one format. The OS itself doesn't need to be installed in that language, with the drop-down menus translated and that; I'm referring to the language settings after the fact: the "Format" or "Keyboards and Languages" tabs on "Control Panel" > "Region & Language".

Thank you for that suggestion (you can change the language setting of your actual OS via Control) but is it easy enough that I can quickly change back and forth between the different versions of English? I translate into all three and I usually have the UK English proofread by a native speaker but I try not to burden them with spelling errors.


Hmm, I'm not sure about that, since I normally only use one variety of English. In the case of my current laptop with a Spanish OS, Word kept changing my US English documents to UK. This stopped happening when I removed English (United Kingdom) from the list of keyboard layouts and replaced it with the US one. I don't actually use that layout though, since the keys are different on this machine. I suppose if you have more than one English on your list of keyboard layouts, Word will have a tendency to favor the variety that appears first on that list.

[Edited at 2012-10-06 16:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-10-06 16:20 GMT]


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