Capitals for headlines?
Thread poster: Josephine P (X)

Josephine P (X)
Local time: 22:52
English to German
+ ...
Sep 7, 2011

Terms like "social media network" or headlines like "monitoring and performance measurement of social media marketing campaigns" - if they are in headlines (name of webinars), do they have to be written with capital letters?

E.g.: "Social Media Network" and "Monitoring and Performance Measurement of Social Media Marketing Campaigns"

I am a bit confused because I'm not quite sure how to write nouns in headlines... What do you think? Can you help me and give me some tips? It would be very helpful!!! Thank you loads!!!icon_smile.gif


Fiona Kirton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
A matter of preference Sep 7, 2011

The 'rule' is that the first word of a title is always written with an initial capital, although I've seen titles written without any capitalization, particularly on the web. The choice of whether to capitalize other words is a matter of preference.

An extract from New Hart's Rules (which I highly recommend):
'The traditional style is to give maximal capitalization to the titles of works...Nouns, adjectives (other than possessives), and verbs are usually given capitals; pronouns and adverbs may or may not be capitalized; articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are usually left uncapitalized.'


kalap (X)
In English, yes Sep 7, 2011

For the rules, see Fiona's post.

In other languages: no.


B D Finch  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Depends Sep 7, 2011

Do you mean "headlines" (i.e. journalism), or do you include headers more generally? On the whole, I agree with Fiona and I certainly prefer to see headlines written that way. However, it is now usual practice for science journals to only capitalise the first letter of the initial word in headings of articles. This practice (which I think started in the US) is spreading to non-science publications. So, it is very much a question of the type of publication and of the preferred in-house style.


Josephine P (X)
Local time: 22:52
English to German
+ ...
Thanks a lot!!! Sep 7, 2011

Thanks to both of you! Your responds are very useful!icon_smile.gif


Josephine P (X)
Local time: 22:52
English to German
+ ...
Example Sep 7, 2011

It's about short descriptions of a course with various webinars in the Social Media area. Thus the webinar might be called "Social Media Manager" and each lecture has a short description. E.g.:

L1 Integration into the Classical Marketing Mix
L2 The Effect of Word-of-mouth ans Storytelling
L3 ....

I've written them with capital letters now. Because it might seem a bit more elegant and competent. Or would it be better to only write the first word with capital latter (referring to what you've written)?icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2011-09-07 09:59 GMT]


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Find a good style guide Sep 7, 2011

It depends on your client, who may have a 'house style', and on which variety of English you are writing.

I personally would not capitalise in English unless asked to do so.
However, this is something that swings - when I was younger, there were lots of capitals in headings. Modern UK usage went completely the other way with no capitals at all - apart from the very first letter, except for names etc. that would be capitalised in any prose.

That was what I learnt from a colleague who taught English grammar, and that is how a lot of my books are printed.

The EU Style Guide seems to evade the issue somewhat by printing its chapter headings in small capitals throughout!

With very long headings the lack of capitals may look odd, and US users are more generous with capitals, but you will have to refer to a US style guide to find the rules.
I can see that the APA Style guide capitalises all words above four letters in its headings, so it could be that simple.

Concise Rules of APA Style, Sixth Edition
American Psychological Association
ISBN-13: 978-1-4338-0560-8
ISBN-10: 1-4338-0560-X

Find a good style guide and use that as your default.

Then if a client asks you, you can always defend your choice, and it will not be wrong, but be prepared to follow the client's preferences.

Check on client websites or ask about style guides, because many big companies have them.
So do scientific publishers - that is why the APA (American Psychological Association) have compiled a style guide!

Luckily some of them are quite interesting bedtime reading. icon_biggrin.gif


Josephine P (X)
Local time: 22:52
English to German
+ ...
GREAT! Sep 7, 2011

Yes, that sounds very good! I will do soicon_smile.gif

It's my first translation job as I am still a student. But having one of these books might be a good purchase! Thanks for the advice!!!


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Capitals for headlines?

Advanced search

BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search