Re: U.S. vs Global Punctuation

Subject: Re: U.S. vs Global Punctuation
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 08:20:12 -0600

Doug writes:

> Today, a prospective client talked to me about my resume. It was, she
> said,
> "Excellent, but." She asked me, "Why did you use U.S. punctuation and not
> global punctuation?"
> My resume doesn't have a period or comma inside a quotation mark (U.S.
> punctuation) instead of outside (British punctuation), so I asked "What do
> you mean by U.S. punctuation and global punctuation?"
> "Why did you use U.S. punctuation and not global punctuation?" she asked
> again.
> So I answered, "I was born in the U.S. I'm a U.S. citizen. I wrote my
> resume
> in the U.S. to be read by people in the U.S. to get a job in the U.S.
> Under
> those circumstances, U.S. punctuation is not only warranted, it is
> mandated."
Methinks the client was trying to impress you with her "knowledge" of the
varying conventions in use. I think her use of the term "global punctuation"
provides enough of a commentary of her real depth of mastery on this
subject. Given the varying conventions from locale to locale, I think it's
pretty safe to say that there isn't a single "global" convention. I think
you responded well. It would be pretentious for you to have used some other
convention given your audience.

David Brown mentioned numeric formats. These, too, vary by locale. Barbara
Karst-Sabin mentioned something about localization using British
conventions. In my experience, this isn't the case. Unless they normally
write using British conventions or unless they are localizing for British
English, writers who write products to be localized follow the conventions
that are appropriate for the source locale.

Bill Burns
Senior Technical Writer/Technology Consultant
ILE Communications
billdb -at- ile -dot- com

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