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British to American English Translator

June 17, 2009 3 Comments »

I’ve touched on the topic briefly before, but a recent project led me to further investigate the . A quick Internet search on American and differences provided me with more information than I could possibly digest in a year. This topic is apparently quite the darling of linguists on both sides of “the pond.”

While I did find some fascinating information, some relevant to the project and some incredibly banal (are tortilla chips called tortilla crisps in England, even though they are made from corn and not potatoes?), I would like to leave a bit of information here for anyone who is translating/localizing into their non-native UK English or US English.

A simple tip for those trying to pass their American scribblings off as the Queen’s English is to perform a Find and Replace for the letter Z (pronounced Zed in British English). Very carefully, check all of the instances the letter Z appears in your document and replace your organizations with organisations, recognizes with recognises and characterizes with characterises, etc. You must be very careful not to change your sizes to sises, hazards to hasards, and so on. You can also search for the more well-known words with , such as those ending in -or (color vs. colour) and those ending in -re (theater vs. theatre).

This method is by no means fool-proof and is undoubtedly some form of cheating, but it will serve in a pinch… Of course, you should not accept any projects that involve this until you are extremely well-versed in both formats and canthen use this method as a backup.


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