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UK/US English
Thread poster: Hannah Burrow

Hannah Burrow  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
May 22, 2012

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if somebody could recommend some resources (books, websites etc) which help translators negotiate their way between UK and US English.

I am a native UK English speaker, but I have recently relocated to the US, and am looking to brush up my US English skills in order to get some translation work in America.

Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks


 

Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:55
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
American DVDs with subtitles, The NYT, The Washington Post May 22, 2012

The New York Times had free newsletter subscriptions back in the early years 2000. I wonder whether they still do offer that service. I guess these days one would rather read what in my non-English speaking country is called an "e-paper" on an Android tablet/the Ipad 2 or 3 since it's much more convenient.

The way regular people really talk in the States is very accurately depicted in both Hollywood and independent American movies. It is fun to watch and listen to, too, because of its mostly hilarious nature.

I did notice you're a native speaker of (UK) English. I don't really know what to say. Just inhale as much of "how people talk there" as you can. If accents are a problem (I don't think they would though, for a native speaker) go for subtitles, for example "The Conspirator" on the assassination of Abe Lincoln, which is much better than its ratings. That movie is for thinkers.

Some CDs have booklets that have lyrics inside. I do not know any recent one offhand and this could be more diffacult to find out about on Amazon or in your local record store.

I think I do recall that NYU has web-based programs for translators (with enrolment needed). Otherwise, it musta been one of the other large New Yorkan unis. Something like web-based training (e-learning) might be available, with no need to enrol, that is.


 

Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:55
Member
Portuguese to English
Bill Bryson May 22, 2012

Hi Hannah,

Recently read a book by Bill Bryson - "Made in America" - a fun and informative look at the differences between UK and US English.

I work with all variants of English, so this last read was pretty good.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2012-05-22 16:13 GMT]


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Hi Hannah May 22, 2012

I'm in the same situation as you - I migrated to the US from the UK four years ago.

You should just advertise that you do UK and US English. I find writing US English is pretty easy most of the time, and I don't think there's much you can do in terms of brushing up your skills apart from reading and listening a lot.

That said, the differences can be substantial (I once came across a UK-US dictionary of about 300 pages), and you never stop learning. About once a week, I'll say something and people will stare at me uncomprehendingly (two recent examples: "have a lie in" and "sultanas"). When I'm writing in US English, I just use a US spellchecker and get my American wife to check it if necessary. I wouldn't attempt literary translation in US English though - I think my Englishness would show through.

One thing I have found is that there's a good market for US to UK (and vice versa) localisation. I would definitely advertise this as a service in your situation. Another thing I get quite a lot of is brand-name consultancy, telling customers whether their product names would work in the UK or US market. My wife and I work as a team doing this, and it can be quite good money.

Anyway, good luck! Where do you live, by the way? I'm in New Orleans. And have you joined the ATA? It's a good way of getting work, and you don't have to pass any exams.

[Edited at 2012-05-22 17:05 GMT]


 

S E (X)
Italy
Local time: 02:55
Italian to English
Pocket Fowler's May 22, 2012

Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage has a section on differences between British and American English.

Also a subscription to Oxford Dictionaries Pro not only has full access to a digital version of Pocket Fowler's and several other good reference texts, but you can also toggle back and forth in the Oxford dictionary between World and US English - plus the entries in both sides of the dictionary list American and British spelling variations wherever neccessary.

Sarah


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
English to German
+ ...
No, Sebastian, it is not. Sorry. May 22, 2012

Sebastian Witte wrote:
The way regular people really talk in the States is very accurately depicted in both Hollywood and independent American movies.


Try to apply the usually exaggerated lingo in movies in real life, and you will earn blank stares. If you want to hear day-by-day language, go grocery shopping. If you want to listen to day-by-day language covering all the nuances all across the continent, watch documentaries on HBO or History Channel or travel various cities.

NYU: I studied translation GER>EN at the NYU. They encouraged us to subscribe to the New York Times, as their writing style and linguistic level is considered standard American English. http://www.nytimes.com/


 

Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:55
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
THX 4 pointing that out, Nicole May 22, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Sebastian Witte wrote:
The way regular people really talk in the States is very accurately depicted in both Hollywood and independent American movies.


Try to apply the usually exaggerated lingo in movies in real life, and you will earn blank stares. If you want to hear day-by-day language, go grocery shopping. If you want to listen to day-by-day language covering all the nuances all across the continent, watch documentaries on HBO or History Channel or travel various cities.



See the time we spent in Canada and the U.S. was short (4 weeks). I thought back then I did recognize quite a number of memorable constructions and expressions I had heard in movies, and I think I do continue to do so on the Internet these days (just googled a divine line from a Zooey Deschanel film not quotable on U.S. based and surveilled websitesicon_wink.gif despite being very sweet and worth remembering) and got 95 K hits found in all types of contexts).

Well, anyway, thanks for letting me know. You live in the U.S., so you should be able to tell.

[Edited at 2012-05-22 18:34 GMT]


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:55
Italian to English
Some web resources May 22, 2012

http://www.bg-map.com/us-uk.html

http://www.english-zone.com/vocab/ae-be.html

http://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/british-american.htm

http://www.translatebritish.com/


 

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:55
Member
English to German
Comparison of American and British English May 22, 2012

Hannah Burrow wrote:

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if somebody could recommend some resources (books, websites etc) which help translators negotiate their way between UK and US English.


Hi Hannah,

You can find a lot of information and links here:

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

Best,

Marina


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
English to German
+ ...
Question to Hannah May 23, 2012

Where do you live now?
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you will hear nothing but newsreader English. They speak the truest and finest American English in this particular region that reaches from Nebraska towards the West, as my brother-in-law, Professor of English at a Midwest university and my permanent editor, has explained to me.


Edited: region, not area. Sorry.

[Edited at 2012-05-23 00:20 GMT]


 

Lancashireman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:55
German to English
Four points to remember: May 23, 2012

- Use the –ize verb form and –ization noun form (WORD EN-US spellchecker underlines –ise and –isation in red!)
- Upper Case for All Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs in Headlines, but Never for any Articles, Conjunctions or Prepositions. (The parts of speech are taught in all American high schools)
- “Double quotes” and never ‘inverted commas’, even if it’s not reported speech.
- Break up the visual flow of the sentence as often as possible with full stops (“periods”): Ms. Burrow from the U.K. relocated to the U.S.A.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
English to German
+ ...
One point less to remember May 23, 2012

Andrew Swift wrote:
- Break up the visual flow of the sentence as often as possible with full stops (“periods”): Ms. Burrow from the U.K. relocated to the U.S.A.



It is either the "U.S.", the "United States" or the "USA".
The moronic spelling and punctuation "U.S.A." is reserved to clueless tourists, to students who would even flunk 'lunch break' in high school or to ignorant people whose keyboard apparently is faster than their brain.

icon_smile.gif

Edited for typo.

[Edited at 2012-05-23 01:45 GMT]


 

Sam Pinson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
Member (2011)
Russian to English
Insults aren't necessary or appreciated May 23, 2012

Nicole,

You don't need to use insulting and inflammatory words when contributing to the forums.

Sam


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
English to German
+ ...
Sam, sometimes colleagues have known each other for many years May 23, 2012

Sam Pinson wrote:

Nicole,

You don't need to use insulting and inflammatory words when contributing to the forums.

Sam


They are entitled to exchange good humor, tough love and they are entitled to exchange good-hearted mockery. This is all based on deep mutual respect.

What is it these days that each and every word has to be adorned with flowery smileys and how come that you call me "insulting"?

Best,

Nicoleicon_smile.gif


 

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:55
Member
English to German
I don't know you so long, but... May 23, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

They are entitled to exchange good humor, tough love and they are entitled to exchange good-hearted mockery.


Hello Nicole,

Since I have joined ProZ in 2011, you have always been an inspiration for me. I have now wanted to visit your website at

http://www.schnellcreative.com

and landed at

GoDaddy.com

How come?


 
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