RE: Capitalization in lists

Subject: RE: Capitalization in lists
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Janice Gelb" <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 14:02:46 -0700

Janice Gelb wrote:

> As others have said, this is largely a matter
> of style. However, I do want to mention in case
> your docs are translated that our localization
> people have told us not to break infinitives
> across a list introduction because many languages
> do not use that construct and it can therefore
> cause difficulties.Therefore, they prefer
> something like:
> Use this feature for the following actions:
> * Eating cats
> * Killing mice
> * Riding horses

Sounds reasonable. OTOH, I've been told to avoid gerunds because
_they're_ hard to translate. :-)

I suspect Peter is correct. Competent translators should be able to
handle such common constructions in their sleep, just as they do
countless common idioms that don't translate literally into one or
another language (and non-idiomatic expressions that _should_ be
translated into an idiomatic one in some language).

Good point (made visually, not explicitly stated) that the list under
discussion should be unordered (bullets), not ordered (numbers).

As for capitalization, since it's largely a matter of style (except when
a bullet item consists of one or more complete sentences), I recommend
saving yourself a lot of grief and potential for inconsistencies by
adopting a simple, uniform rule: start all bullet items with a capital
letter, whether it's a sentence, verb phrase, noun phrase, or whatever.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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RE: A classic warning sign...: From: Monique Semp
Fonts for translation: From: Chinell, David F (GE EntSol, Security)
Capitalization in lists: From: Deborah Hemstreet
Re: Capitalization in lists: From: Janice Gelb

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