Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
US/UK/Int'l? Englishes
Thread poster: Paula Trucks-Pape

Paula Trucks-Pape
United States
Local time: 22:20
German to English
Nov 26, 2007

Hello! Are there any standard references to help clarify usage issues? I've been using the Apple Style Guide as a rough guide for "international" English as well as some single language (read: either British or US American) grammar books, but I'm not happy with the lack of cross-linguistic comparison. I'd be grateful for any suggestions!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:20
Member
French to English
+ ...
Simplified English Nov 26, 2007

I don't believe that an official truly 'international' English exists — but there is an official and well-documented 'simplified English' that is used in certain industries (like aviation!) where it is important for things to be written in a manner that is comprehensible even for non-natives.

I don't have direct references to give you, but maybe that will at least give you some sort of a lead.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paula Trucks-Pape
United States
Local time: 22:20
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Simplified English Nov 26, 2007

Thanks Tony! That's a good place to start. Does anyone know if US or UK English is used as a basis for the sort of Simplified English used in technical settings?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 07:20
English to German
+ ...
Read the EU style guide Nov 26, 2007

Hi Paula,

You can download this style guide for free, it has resolved many of the questions I have been left high and dry with for a long time...

http://ec.europa.eu/translation/writing/style_guides/english/style_guide_en.pdf

For technical translations as well as for general translations you will have to make up your mind if you write in British or American English and be consistent with the spelling...

And it's not just a question of making up your mind...

Idiomatic expressions, grammar, tenses, etc. are often very different in British and American English.

Quite a bit has been written in the forums here, so do take the time to look at that.


Martin


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:20
German to English
book/online dictionary Nov 26, 2007

Do you want to "translate" one form to the other, or just make sure that your text will be understood by everyone/not full of hilarious misunderstandings?

I don't have this book, so if anyone does, I'd be interested in knowing what they think:

British or American English?: A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns http://www.amazon.co.uk/British-American-English-Handbook-Patterns/dp/0521379938/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196073247&sr=8-1

Or perhaps this online dictionary might help?
http://www.peak.org/~jeremy/dictionary/dictionary/dictionary.php


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 22:20
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Stick to US English Nov 26, 2007

Hi Paula,

I see that you are a native American English speaker - my personal recommendation would be to stick with what you know, unless you're really (and I mean really really) familiar with other types of English (British, Australian, etc.). We can always incorporate words like "quid" and "telephone mast" (telephone pole) into our translations, but the differences go way beyond that and are more a matter of familiarity than of style guides. There's a huge difference between understanding other types of English and being able to reproduce them faithfully - also, and after having been on Proz for a while, I've noticed that a lot of people who think they can do any type of English (usually non-native speakers though) are clearly out of their league without even realizing it.

Also, please note that this does not apply to the "simplified English" that Tony is talking about - that's actually worth investigating.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:20
German to English
Mainly spelling and punctuation Nov 26, 2007

Paula Trucks-Pape wrote:
Hello! Are there any standard references to help clarify usage issues?


Not that I'm aware of. Many German clients prefer 'International English' for the target text in the hope that it won't offend or confuse British or US readers, while at the same time being readily understandable to non-natives.

Basically you have to shake 'n bake your own. Most of the Intl. English style guides we've prepared for/with clients contain minor differences that reflect a particular client's wishes and/or prejudices. However, it needs to be emphasised/emphasized that the main issues are those of spelling and punctuation. There is also a general rule that words and phrases that are all too US- or UK-centric should be avoided if at all possible, but sometimes you have to decide one way or the other (e.g. 'petrol' or 'gasoline').

As a rule, 'International' English tends to be closer to New England than to "Old" England, i.e. '-zation' rather than '-sation', '-or' rather than '-our', and so on. The punctuation, though, tends to be more oriented on standard UK practice. Some clients want a serial ('Oxford') comma, others reject it out-of-hand.

As far as specialist vocabulary (LSP) is concerned, the differences between UK and US English are probably overstated in most cases anyway. UK financial markets terminology ('City speak'), for example, has converged substantially with US terminology ('Street speak'), so here you can basically go with the US terms and phrases. In other financial situations, for example IFRS accounting, the terminology is defined by the standards in any case, so all you have to do to get International (or US) English is to tweak the spelling and punctuation. But for legal translations, the client is going to have to make an ex ante judg(e)ment call as to which flavo(u)r of legal terminology it wants (best to let the client sweat over this one...).

In a nutshell: if a client wants 'International English', it makes sense to discuss the relevant style guide in advance with that client, rather than arguing the toss later.

Robin


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:20
Flemish to English
+ ...
Stupid Nov 26, 2007

Tony M wrote:

I don't believe that an official truly 'international' English exists — but there is an official and well-documented 'simplified English' that is used in certain industries (like aviation!) where it is important for things to be written in a manner that is comprehensible even for non-natives.

I don't have direct references to give you, but maybe that will at least give you some sort of a lead.


Yeah, after all, "non-natives" are too stupid to understand the intricasies of and differences between A.E. or B.E, so they need a simplified version of English.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 02:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Writing and translating for the benefit of the reader. Nov 26, 2007

An important - and often neglected - feature of International English is that it is most-often written not for the benfit of authors/publishers seeking neutrality in their output but for the benefit of an international readship composed mainly of people who use English as a second or third language.

Much of my work as former Head of Technical Publications in a bi-lingual (fre-eng) organization in Europe was concerned with the rendering in IE (and International French, too, although this was less of a problem...) of texts authored in English (UK, US and even pidgin), in French (including texts wrtitten in French by Spaniards, Portuguese, etc.), and in any number of other languages that had been translated often by non-specialsts into quasi English or quasi French.

Regardless of the source language and regardless of the author's (or subsequent translator's) level of competence in English we aimed always to make sure all our readers without exception stood a fair (if not an an equal) chance of understanding it correctly when it appeared in print. Much to the dismay (shock horror even...) of some of the UKs and the US's brightest broadcast engineers, we applied the rules to their manuscripts just like anyone else's - and some even owned up to the fact that what we published was far more intelligible than what they had written themselves.

When writing in, or translating into, IE it is always helpful to ask yourself "Will my friends in XXX understand this?" where XXX can be any country where you know you have readers with only a schoolboy's grasp of English.

MediaMatrix

[Edited at 2007-11-26 12:06]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 02:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not relevant here Nov 26, 2007

Tony M wrote:

I don't believe that an official truly 'international' English exists — but there is an official and well-documented 'simplified English' that is used in certain industries (like aviation!) where it is important for things to be written in a manner that is comprehensible even for non-natives.
...


There have been several attempty at producing a 'Simplified English', not only in specific industries but for more general use too. One well-known example is Ogden's 'Basic English' which, it was claimed, could be used to express any idea with a total vocabulary of just 850 words.

But the aim of International English is not to simplify it (where 'simplify' means 'oblige all users to find tortuous circumlocutions to express any idea with a limited vocabulary) but instead to deliver meaningful content in a way that favours correct understanding by the greatest variety of readers - without making it extremely dull or 'artificial' for native English speakers.

Simplifed English is not relevant to this thread, IMHO.

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:20
German to English
+ ...
International German Nov 26, 2007

I'm just wondering if many UK clients prefer 'International German' in the hope that it won't offend or confuse German or Swiss or Austrian readers, while at the same time being readily understandable to non-natives.


[quote]RobinB wrote:

Many German clients prefer 'International English' for the target text in the hope that it won't offend or confuse British or US readers, while at the same time being readily understandable to non-natives.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:20
German to English
Schön wär's Nov 26, 2007

Robin Salmon wrote:
I'm just wondering if many UK clients prefer 'International German' in the hope that it won't offend or confuse German or Swiss or Austrian readers, while at the same time being readily understandable to non-natives.


The mere notion that UK clients might understand that there may be differences in terminology and phrasing between Germany, Austria and Switzerland rather stretches belief, IMHO

But at least a growing number of German clients do appreciate the fact that there is no single monolithic "English", although unfortunately they seem to draw the line at words I personally find quite OK, such as 'outwith' (though of course the English don't approve of it either).

International English certainly runs the risk that "es fällt ins Wasser", but if clients don't like it, they can always opt for US (mainly) or UK (rarely) English.

Robin


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paula Trucks-Pape
United States
Local time: 22:20
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
No silver bullet Nov 26, 2007

Hello again.
What a great discusssion! It seems like the best solutions are to
A. either make sure my client can define or help my client define the text's audience(s)
B. educate my clients re: Englishes
and C. develop a style guide with my client.

The international German question is interesting too. And don't get me started on Neudeutsch-English that has to be back-translated.

I'll take a look at the links as soon as I get a chance.

Thanks again, all (but please keep commenting, if you like...)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Julianne Rowland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:20
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
Thanks for bringing up this topic! Nov 26, 2007

Hello Paula,

I am currently working on my first 'International English' assignment and have found this discussion very enlightening. Thank you for posting!
I, too, was a bit mystified when this job came across my desk, but as it turns out, thankfully, my client provided a very basic style guide that I am trying to follow. In this case, I am generally supposed to use UK spellings, except for words like 'internationaliZation', but (to complicate things) not for 'analog'.
As for the terminology, I am basically following the termbase provided, which includes a smattering of UK terminology ('earthing' instead of 'grounding', for example). The general style, however, seems to have more of a US-English slant to it.
I do feel somewhat in uncharted territory, but I am trying my best to follow the guidelines, at least.

It is my impression that we German-to-English translators will be seeing more of this type of thing in the future, but as Robin says, only time will tell.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:20
Italian to English
+ ...
International English Usage Nov 26, 2007

I have a very interesting book called "International English Usage" by Loreto Todd and Ian Hancock (ISBN 0-415-05102-9). Despite its name it doesn't actually deal with "International English" as I understand you to mean it, but instead compares the different varieties of English in use by native speakers all over the world. The edition I have dates from 1986 - I'd imagine they'd've produced an updated edition by now, given how much English has changed over the last 20 years.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

US/UK/Int'l? Englishes

Advanced search







SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
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, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search