John Yunker on Global By Design wrote an article last month about different labels for different English spellings. Apparently the acronym “ENU” was used to mean “English – US”.
Another article raised the question of “International English” versus “American English”. I found this article slightly misleading simply because there are so many ways to use the term International English today: Global English, Universal English.
It does make me smile when an American says that “American English” is in the lead.
This reminds me of the all of trips to Canada, where Canadians would come up to me and say that Canada had been voted the best place to live in the whole world. After two different trips, I asked who carried out the study… well it was Canadian studies. The French go “coccoricco” often enough too.
There are quite a few interesting comments in this thread. I never thought the term “British English” could be considered false. And apparently Adobe uses:
- “International English” (IE) = “American English”
- “Universal English” (UE) = “British English”
Before you get into how you label your choice of English language, let’s look at how to choose the one you want to use.
There are in fact two business decisions to make.
Translations Or Not?
Are you writing for one broad international audience and would like to prepare the work for translating your content into different languages?
If you will need to translate your English language content into more than one language, you will save time and money by learning to write for an international audience.
If you strive for an International English you will also improve communication across a broader non-native English speaking audience.
Are you targeting an American audience or a British, European or former British colony audience? This decision is fairly easy to make.
Although I was brought up with the Queen’s English, I have worked with American companies. I chose American spelling on my blogs because of software. I did not want to continually maintain the Queen’s English on American software. There is no major conflict for my business, so the decision was easy.
I still write in a style that is easy for non-native English readers. It is only a question of spelling and some grammar.
Clarity And Consistency
Whatever spelling you choose, remember to be consistent. This means that you should use the same spelling throughout all of your content, no matter who you are targeting. This makes your communication clear. Everyone knows how to identify you.
Do not create your own acronyms and keep your English labels simple and consistent with what your readers expect.
- “EUS” does not mean anything to anyone
- American English is not International English
- British English is not Universal English
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: culture customized content
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