Re: UK/US English - What to do?

Subject: Re: UK/US English - What to do?
From: Sheridan-Smith John <john -dot- sheridan-smith -at- BMWFIN -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 09:54:51 +0100

The original poster's problem is one of consistency rather than language,
but I think it's time it's time a British perspective was introduced to
counter some of the comments that have been made about the wider questions
of the use of English in software.

>I feel it is industry standard for both the user interface and user
documentation to be written in US English. Longer term the UI should be
changed to US English.

There is no such "industry standard", merely an American domination of
market and culture. Most software producers and most software buyers speak
and write American. We speakers of English, being an unfashionable and
unprotected minority are quite used to putting up with the commercial
reality that American producers of software are not going to see it as
economically viable to rewrite documentation for an English speaking
audience, still less redesign the interface. Fair enough, in the commercial
world you have to do what is commercially viable, but do not run away with
the idea that that is the same thing as an acceptable and agreed standard
based on reasoned analysis and linguistic logic.

I have taken to using certain Americanisms in documentation (such as dialog
and program) because I'm fed up with being made to appear inconsistent by
developers, including British developers who can't speak their own language
and so don't understand me when I suggest that they write the interface in
English. But this is me being beaten into submission and is not a
principled decision.

The arguments that have been advanced in favour or rewriting documentation
in American seem to boil down to "yes Americans can understand it but don't
like it so it must be changed". Well we could all say that about a lot
things couldn't we?



Regards

John
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John -dot- Sheridan-Smith -at- BMWFIN -dot- COM

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