Re: Writing British English

Subject: Re: Writing British English
From: Yvonne Harrison <yvonne -at- IHUG -dot- CO -dot- NZ>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 14:47:35 +1200

Hi All - -

I read this post and thought - 'You have *got* to be kidding me'. I can only
imagine a company in America thinking that British English is so different
that you have to make it a language. I'm sorry - it's not only weird, it's
almost offensive...

Living in New Zealand I can assure you there are barely in differences
between the British and American use of the language. The primary
differences are:

1) Spelling and use (e.g., colour/color, check book/cheque book)

2) Using 'you' in manuals is sometimes seen as being to direct and
bordering on rude. British manuals tend towards saying 'The user presses the
enter key', rather than 'you press the enter key'.

3) More use of the passive voice.

And that's it. No big deal. And I'm sure the British are quite capable of
reading American manuals, just as we in New Zealand and Australia
are. After all the world has had to adjust to the American way of doing
things, not the other way around.

Yvonne :-)

joy -at- TRIO -dot- COM wrote:

> Dear Tech Writers

> I am a writer in an international software company. We produce documetation in> about 15-17 different languages for our products. We
recently added Bristish> English as a new language. We hired a new writer in
our office over the> Atlantic specifically for this purpose. When I got a
copy of the first manual> that this writer produced I tried very hard to find
major differences in the> writing. The only real thing that I found were
several spelling differences. I> also found that the writing style was not as
clear and consise as I try to make> mine.

> I guess what I want to ask is there a REAL need to have 2 different
> manuals...one for Americans and one for english speakers over the ocean? Do> speakers of the British English language really take offense at the
American> English documentation??? If there is a REAL need, is the spelling
differences> the only difference in these two types of writings. If this is
the case I do> not see why a simple search and replace function could not
transform an> American English manual to a British one.

> Also, if you know of any books or other resources that I may refer to on this> subject I would really appreciate it you could share them with me.

> Any advice would be appreciated....this is an ongoing discussion in this office> and I just want to be educated on both sides of the issue.

> Joy Switzer



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