Re: UK/US English - What to do?

Subject: Re: UK/US English - What to do?
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 09:35:39 -0400


I've been through this, several times. On my last assignment, I wrote two
versions of two books, one set for the UK and one set for the US. The GUI
was customizsable, so spelling was also localiszed in the software

Anyway, Americans do stumble over British spelling. British spelling is
distracting. I wonder how much the British have to suffer American spelling
in software documentation . . .. Does MS, for example, produce UK versions
of its Windows or Office documentation?

For an American audience, I recommend you write the books using American
English spelling and only use the British spelling when you refer to
something in the GUI.

All the best,

sean -at- quodata,com

>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: Scott Browne [mailto:sbrowne -at- UNICOMP -dot- NET]
>>>Sent: Friday, May 07, 1999 5:38 PM
>>>To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>>>Subject: UK/US English - What to do?
>>>I've searched the archives and didn't find this particular dilemma
>>>discussed anywhere.
>>>Our company has already decided on a course of action, but I
>>>thought I
>>>would throw this out as a new topic for discussion and to give you
>>>something to think about.
>>>We have made a deal with a French software company to
>>>absorb/merge one of
>>>their products into ours and do all the selling, marketing,
>>>and future
>>>development for them. (They were tired of doing it themselves).
>>>The software package, although developed in France, is
>>>designed in English
>>>(menus, dialog boxes, etc.)
>>>British English spellings were used in the interface. No
>>>currently exists for this application.
>>>Because this product will be marketed to an American
>>>audience, should the
>>>docs use US English spellings, or should it use the same UK English
>>>spellings which the user will actually see on the interface?
>>>For example, one item is labelled the "Colours Palette".
>>>Should the docs
>>>"To access the Colours Palette, click Display>Colours Palette."
>>>or should it read:
>>>"To access the Color Palette, click Display>Color Palette."
>>>(even though
>>>it's spelled the other way on the screen).
>>>If the latter choice is made, I sincerely doubt a user will say to
>>>himself, "Hmmm, I don't see the 'Color Palette' option on the Display
>>>menu...all I can find is one called 'Colours Palette' but
>>>that's not the
>>>same thing..." or, "Well the docs tell me how to change
>>>'Window Behavior',
>>>but how do I work with the program's 'Window Behaviour'
>>>function?" You get
>>>the idea.
>>>So, what would you do? Document the menus and functions as
>>>they actually
>>>appear on the screen - with UK spellings? Or use US spellings?
>>>Disregard the option of rewriting the application code to
>>>use American
>>>sbrowne -at- unicomp -dot- net

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