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British vs American English
Thread poster: gulperi
gulperi
France
Local time: 18:11
English to French
+ ...
Sep 26, 2008

Dear All,

Do you know if there is a lot of differencies between American and British English for medical terms.

Also another question comes to my mind, it concerns spellings :

Now if I write customise with "-ise", am I right in thinking that this is British English only and NOT US English at all?

But that...

Customise and customize (here we got the "-ize") are both British English.

And my last question is the following : what do you think suits best for a European pharmaceutical company that focuses mainly on European market? In that case, which one of the two is more recommended?

Thanks for your help


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Jacek Sierakowski
Belgium
Local time: 18:11
English to French
+ ...
US vs GB Sep 26, 2008

Bonjour,

Je n'ai jamaisi remarqué de différence entre les termes médicaux anglais et américains, mais j'avoue ne pas y avoir fait attention.

Si vous utilisez MS Word, vous pouvez choisir entre le correcteur d'orthographe US ou GB.

Pour l'Europe, je pense que l'anglais GB est plus approprié, encore que...

Hope this helps. Kind regards.


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
British English Sep 26, 2008

British English, definitely. In fact, most English speakers in the world speak British English or a dialect that mirrors British.

gulperi wrote:

And my last question is the following : what do you think suits best for a European pharmaceutical company that focuses mainly on European market? In that case, which one of the two is more recommended?

Thanks for your help


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some differences Sep 26, 2008

Hi Gulperi,

Answers to your questions, according to my understanding:

1. With regard to medical terms specifically, there are two differences that come to mind:

a. the suffix "-rrhea"/"-rrhoea". The former is used exclusively in American English and the latter appears to be preferred in British English.

b. when referring to a patient staying in a hospital, the definite article is used in American English and omitted in British English. Thus:

Peter was in hospital [for] five days. (UK)
Peter was in the hospital [for] five days. (US)

I am sure that there are other differences in Medical English usage, but these are the only two that I am aware of.

2. The suffix "ise" is not used in American English, but appears to be preferred in British English.

I would think that, for a European market, British English would be used, as this is the variety of English that those who speak the language would be most familiar with (just as in Mexico, for example, those learning the language would be more likely to learn the US version than the UK version).

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Bob

[Edited at 2008-09-26 16:08]


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Customise and customize Sep 26, 2008

gulperi wrote:
Now if I write customise with "-ise", am I right in thinking that this is British English only and NOT US English at all?
But that...
Customise and customize (here we got the "-ize") are both British English.

The Oxford English Dictionary prefers -ize, for sound etymological reasons. Unfortunately, the French some centuries ago decided to adopt -iser, and the British followed suit with -ise for all these verbs. Now people expect -ize in USE and -ise in UKE. it has become a convention which I think you have to follow.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Medical / pharma terminology differences among English-speaking countries Sep 26, 2008

Pharmaceutical terminology varies by country more than general medical terminology, although in both fields there are differences.

One specific area to be careful is with the generic names of drugs, which vary considerably. Sometimes it's minor: just a matter of changing Y's to I's or deleting a final E, but in other cases the terms seem barely related (e.g., acetaminophen versus paracetamol). Because of this, you have to specifically ask the client what the target country is. This is especially important in the pharma field since there can be legal-compliance issues involving drug names.

This matter is complicated because there are the official US names, the old UK names (which were legal in the UK until recently and are still used in some English-speaking countries), and the international standard names developed by the WHO, which Britain recently adopted to replace the old UK names. In other words, if you're translating for Britain, you have to make sure that your reference materials are giving you the current drug names. Even the IATE database is still inconsistent on this point.

Hope this is helpful.

[Edited at 2008-09-26 21:44]


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:11
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
The rising influence of mid-atlantic Sep 26, 2008

I'm not sure about medical, but I'd say 75% of my translations are done, as requested, in 'Mid-Atlantic' English. These usually concern documents or presentations that will be read by a group of people with possibly various backgrounds (employees, committees, general public). This term was originally coined mostly to refer to accents when speaking English.

In France, we're so close to England that you would think British English would be predominant, but due to the 'International-ness' of global companies I've noticed a marked inclination towards this esperanto-like solution in order to avoid branding themselves as either US or UK.

As far as spelling is concerned, it's a mishmash of using -ise with color (not colour) for example.
This hasn't been set in stone, as far as I know; I just concentrate on delivering a result that the client finds acceptable.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:11
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
More differences in spelling Sep 27, 2008

Further to Robert's point:

a. the suffix "-rrhea"/"-rrhoea". The former is used exclusively in American English and the latter appears to be preferred in British English.

there more differences:
US - pediatric, gynecologic, orthopedic etc. versus
UK - paediatric, gynaecologic, orthopaedic etc.

As Jacek suggests, it is a good start to set your spellcheck to US or UK English and, of course, check what the client wants.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 12:11
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Prefixes too Sep 27, 2008

As in: esophagus (US) vs eosophagus (UK) and hemotology (US) vs haemotology (UK).

As for Canada, we're somewhere in between: although my pinkie unerringly finds the s in -ise when typing, I make sure to proof all my translations and change them to -ize for Canadian and American clients. However, we Canadians still dream in colour and maintain our honour

Nancy


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Karen Tkaczyk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Separated by a common language Sep 30, 2008

NancyLynn wrote:

although my pinkie unerringly finds the s in -ise when typing,

Nancy


Which in OK in Scotland and the US, but not in England, where they don't use 'pinkie'.

I speak as a Brit who lives in the USA, translates into both flavours (flavors), and does a lot of pharmaceutical work.
There are spelling differences which many have pointed out already, and few terminology differences other than the proper and common names of drugs. Most of the differences between UK and US English in this sort of work would come in the grammar, punctuation and general usage as for any other type of text - the way verbs are used differently, the turns of phrase that only work in one region, etc. Scientific writing in the UK and the US have similarities and differences that are often clearly explained in style guides (such as use of the passive, unit abbreviations and spacing, and preferred usage).
In my experience the purpose of the text tells you which version you need. If the European company wants to file with the FDA, a common reason for translations, clearly you need US. The client always makes that decision for me.
Karen


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:11
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
From the Doctor's mouth Oct 1, 2008

My Aunt is a doctor working at three hospitals in France.
I posed her this question concerning the English she has encountered through her work.
(She also publishes her research at least once a year in different medical journals)

She said she has seen both British and US styles, but the style is defined by which journal is publishing an article. Each journal sends the doctors guidelines on how to structure their articles (including the spelling). However, she said that US English is dominant.

By the way, she's Colombian, learned French as a second language, and learned English as her third language (largely through her work and research). She has presented her research in English at conferences in Canada, England, US, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. Aside from some spelling differences, such as Pediatric and Paediatric, she says there's no real difference in the two English, but her advice is, when in doubt, favor US.

Hope this helps some of you!


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gulperi
France
Local time: 18:11
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot Oct 3, 2008

Dear All,

Thanks for your replies...this has been very helpful.

My client decided to go for UK English!

The discussions is interesting though so it will be good if we could keep and update it, what do you think?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:11
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
As an English trainer in France with 12 years' experience ... Oct 3, 2008

I would say that European readers definitely prefer British English (in general).

That said, many British English speakers are adopting the American simplifications of their language - encyclopedia rather than encyclopaedia; plow rather than plough (or is that going a bit too far for other Brits?). As a teacher, I'm wholly in favour of simplifying some of our idiosycratic spellings without wanting to change the grammar. I'm currently fighting "Enjoy!" tooth and nail, but I expect I'll end up saying it myself in a few years' time.


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bright21st
China
Local time: 00:11
English to Chinese
+ ...
Proofreading Oct 6, 2008

I think the best way to know the difference is to use the proofreading tools in WORD.

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MMUlr  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:11
English to German
+ ...
And even more differences ... Oct 8, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Further to Robert's point:

a. the suffix "-rrhea"/"-rrhoea". The former is used exclusively in American English and the latter appears to be preferred in British English.

there more differences:
US - pediatric, gynecologic, orthopedic etc. versus
UK - paediatric, gynaecologic, orthopaedic etc. ...


And finally a whole drug class has different BE - AE names:

British:
calcium channel blockers

US - and almost "everywhere":
calcium antagonists

)


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