Looking for English style guide (Canada/USA)
Thread poster: Sylvain Meyrous (X)

Sylvain Meyrous (X)  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:46
English to French
Jul 9, 2010

Hello,

I translate EN>FR and I am seeing many oddities, mistakes and offending syntax in my source texts. Therefore, I am in need of a style guide which would provide me with definite answers as to what is acceptable and what is not, beyond basic grammar and spelling.

My mother tongue is French, not English, so I often am not certain whether an English sentence is correct or not.

For Canada, the Translation Bureau has The Canadian Style. I also know about the Chicago Manual of Style for American English. Any thoughts on these? Other suggestions?

Your input is much appreciated.

-Sylvain


 

MDI-IDM
United States
Local time: 18:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
The Globe and Mail Style Book Jul 10, 2010

An excellent source for Canadian English; and the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage for US English.

[Edited at 2010-07-10 03:18 GMT]


 

Brian Young  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:46
Danish to English
American English style guides Jul 10, 2010

There are so many it's hard to know where to start:
1. Fowler's Modern English Usage
2. Wilson Follett, Modern American Usage
3. The Little, Brown Handbook
4. Errors in English, Harry Shaw
5. The Elements of Style, Strunk & White
6. Handbook Of Technical Writing, Brusaw, Alred, Oliu
7. The Mirriam-Webster concise Handbook for Writers

I really like # 1,2 and 5. There are many more. These can often be found 2nd hand.


 

Oleg Delendyk
Ukraine
Local time: 20:46
English to Russian
+ ...
Technical writing style guide Jul 10, 2010

http://www.multitran.ru/c/m.exe?a=5&s=links.htm

 

Robert Tucker (X)
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:46
German to English
+ ...
Wikipedia Jul 10, 2010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Style_guide

– though I hope we don't need to take a style guide as the last word!


 

Mr Murray (X)
Italy
Italian to English
Stick with the best... Jul 10, 2010

Anyone writing for Canadian audiences - government, technical, journalism - should have and use The Canadian Style: A guide to writing and editing. It was published around 1997 by Dundurn Press Limited in co-operation with Public Works and Government Canada Translation Bureau.

There are about 6 to 12 minor errors in the copy I've proofread, and a few minor changes due to time passage - for example, nothing much about the euro.

It's 312 pages and can cost about $30 CDN.

I have not found any other style guide as complete and useful for Canadian 'English'. It is also a good guide for anyone trying to walk the tightrope between 'British' and 'American'.

The Canadian Press books for style and punctuation are useful, but not nearly as complete. But, they're recommended reading and resource books for Canadian journalists.

I sold or tossed out my Chicago guide, Associated Press guide and many others; and only keep my various versions of Strunk, White, and Kalman's The Elements of Style for a laugh. The newer illustrated versions are nice to look at - but not useful for punctuation or grammar. (I have a radio interview with someone who explained how they didn't write it to be taken seriously.)

Unfortunately, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - Radio Canada, has not produced one all round style guide. They had some books in English, but they're discontinued. There are a few staff writing guides online, but they're not helpful.

I also keep about six newspaper style guides on hand, but find they only help when writing/editing for those specific papers - e.g. The New York Times and The Times exceedingly thin - 192 pages - Style and Usage Guide. The only advantage of The Times' guide, is they keep it updated.

All this to say - stick to The Canadian Style guide - there's not much else available dedicated for Canadians.


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:46
German to Spanish
+ ...
PSC Style Guide (Comission de la fonction publique du Canada) Jul 10, 2010

They are many canadian style guides, but I would recomend this one from the Comission de la fonction publique du Canada. Is not extensive, but contains all the basics.

[Editado a las 2010-07-11 06:49 GMT]


 

Suyash Suprabh  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 23:16
English to Hindi
+ ...
Searchable collection of style guides Jul 11, 2010

http://www.onlinestylebooks.com

The best thing about the website is that it has a search box. You can consult a variety of style guides on the website.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:46
German to English
US Style Guides and clarification Jul 12, 2010

Chicago Manual of Style is probably your best bet for most US texts.
AP Style should be used for US journalistic texts, it is universally relevant and regularly updated in contrast to the NY Times guide. Of course, if a specific paper or magazine is involved and you are being paid to correct the source text (?!), you should look at the specific house styles.

Otherwise, I can only give recommendations for the area of the humanities and these do not seem relevant for your work.

I did not completely understand two points in your question: (1) Are you looking for "style guides" in the standard sense (= reference works for authorized conventions for various subject areas and types of texts) or for something like usage guides (Fowler, for example) that deal much more broadly and speculatively with grammatical rules and norms?, (2) What exactly are you doing? Is it a matter of giving a solid reference for the occasional unpaid critique of a source text with serious problems or are you interested in something more substantial?

Sincerely,
Michael


 

Sylvain Meyrous (X)  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:46
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Style guide/Usage guide Jul 12, 2010

Hello Michael,

It appears I mostly need a Usage Guide. I did not use the proper word here.

I need to check the correctness or incorrectness of questionable grammar and syntax. Unfortunately, there are so many errors in my source texts that I now sometimes questions rules I know, or thought I knew. Since English is not my first language, I need something to back up my corrections too.


Thank you all for your suggestions.

-Sylvain


Michael Wetzel wrote:

Chicago Manual of Style is probably your best bet for most US texts.
AP Style should be used for US journalistic texts, it is universally relevant and regularly updated in contrast to the NY Times guide. Of course, if a specific paper or magazine is involved and you are being paid to correct the source text (?!), you should look at the specific house styles.

Otherwise, I can only give recommendations for the area of the humanities and these do not seem relevant for your work.

I did not completely understand two points in your question: (1) Are you looking for "style guides" in the standard sense (= reference works for authorized conventions for various subject areas and types of texts) or for something like usage guides (Fowler, for example) that deal much more broadly and speculatively with grammatical rules and norms?, (2) What exactly are you doing? Is it a matter of giving a solid reference for the occasional unpaid critique of a source text with serious problems or are you interested in something more substantial?

Sincerely,
Michael


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:46
German to English
problematic Jul 14, 2010

Dear Sylvain,
The distinction that I made between the words "style" and "usage" guides is not as clear as I might have implied, but the two concepts are clearly distinct (even if style guides always include some information on usage).

The problem is - as you have seen here - that there is no accepted authority on usage, because it always involves questions of taste and artistic liberties. The current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style has pretty extensive information on the topic and it is useful for the documentation of corrections, because every point has a specific number assigned to it.

However, if you are not a native speaker, I would stay away from editing English texts. Native speakers (probably justifiably) react very negatively to this practice and will also play up every mistake that you make in your corrections.

I often have the same problem with my source texts and limit myself to general comments about the readability of the sentences or the lack of proofreading, without getting into details. If you start actually editing, you will get into a market where you cannot compete: you will need more time to do worse work than professional native translators.

My advice is to find a professional native-language editor that is willing to cooperate with you to provide this service to your clients. Don't worry: This is not an advertisement for my services! I do work as an editor, but non-German clients outside the field of fine arts will be better served elsewhere.

Sincerely,
Michael

P.S. If you find a good editor at some point, please e-mail me their contact info, if you don't mind.


 

Desdemone (X)
Local time: 14:46
French to English
It's free at Termium Jul 15, 2010

Mr Murray wrote:

Anyone writing for Canadian audiences - government, technical, journalism - should have and use The Canadian Style: A guide to writing and editing. It was published around 1997 by Dundurn Press Limited in co-operation with Public Works and Government Canada Translation Bureau.
It's 312 pages and can cost about $30 CDN.


It's free at Termium: http://termium.com/tpv2guides/guides/tcdnstyl/index-eng.html?lang=eng


 


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