British or American English for content

33 replies
For international audience of your site,,,, Will you prefer American or British English / Spellings?

or it doesn't matter in your opinion?

Thanks for all the comments
#american #british #content #english
  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    Originally Posted by datingworld View Post

    For international audience of your site,,,, Will you prefer American or British English / Spellings?

    or it doesn't matter in your opinion?

    Thanks for all the comments
    I think you should write what you speak. The differences are so small, unless you use a lot of slang.
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Originally Posted by RogueOne View Post

      I think you should write what you speak. The differences are so small, unless you use a lot of slang.
      The differences are huge, but many Americans are unaware of them. That's why writing using American spelling - if a significant number of your readers are from the US - is very important.

      Yes, I know it is a generalization (note the 'z') but taking note of it can save your inbox from a lot of complaining emails - and yourself a lot of time having to answer them.

      Americans see 'colour' as a mistake and many will 'helpfully' want to point it out to you. But other English speakers don't see 'color' as necessarily wrong, just different.

      Oddly, slang and other idiom based writing isn't really the problem. I've never had an American complain because I've written English phrases, but I had hundreds of emails from irate Americans 'correcting' my spelling until I started using an American spellchecker.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        The differences are huge, but many Americans are unaware of them. That's why writing using American spelling - if a significant number of your readers are from the US - is very important.
        This. Exactly.

        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        Americans see 'colour' as a mistake and many will 'helpfully' want to point it out to you. But other English speakers don't see 'color' as necessarily wrong, just different.
        And this. Exactly.

        The funny thing is that Americans are actually in the minority when you compare them with all the rest of the English-speaking world (a huge number of countries!), but all the rest of the English-speaking world will tolerate American spelling online far more easily and comfortably than many Americans will tolerate what they often think of as "British English" (which is actually "rest of the world English") spelling.

        So in all cases of doubt, US styles - strange though it seems - are the ones to use.
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        • Profile picture of the author scrunchie
          British English is the original and the best. Don't let them tell you otherwise!
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          • Profile picture of the author RobinInTexas
            Originally Posted by scrunchie View Post

            British English is the original and the best. Don't let them tell you otherwise!
            Right or wrong, xenophobia is alive and rampant in the USA, if a big part of your market is there it's best to pander to the potential customers. The customer is always right...LOL

            Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

            One person's crank is another person's customer. Especially
            if their lack of understanding leads to 'em buying an edikayshun!

            John
            Exactly

            Originally Posted by jacksarloks View Post

            I think you should not care about this unless you're targeting a specific country, after all your visitors come from different countries.
            The diversity of customers does not negate the fact that although British English is arguably the most correct, no one complains about American English, while there are many potential arguably stupid potential customers whose $$ we want.
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      • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        The differences are huge, but many Americans are unaware of them.
        This is an oxymoron.

        Yep, most international readers don't even notice the differences.
        You are over-complicating a nonexistent simple problem.
        Exactly.

        I love America and Americans.... But you have butchered our language
        No. We speak "American."
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        • Profile picture of the author mikeink
          Now let look at the new form called

          Fastfood wantever. igglish.

          Fastfood places have an English of their own.
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      • Profile picture of the author PaulBaker
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        The differences are huge, but many Americans are unaware of them. That's why writing using American spelling - if a significant number of your readers are from the US - is very important.

        Yes, I know it is a generalization (note the 'z') but taking note of it can save your inbox from a lot of complaining emails - and yourself a lot of time having to answer them.
        100% agree. In Aus we learn British spelling but it's only expected in {localized|localised} content. I use American spelling on the basis that many Americans don't {realise|realize} there's an alternative. (not meaning to offend anyone).

        Oddly, slang and other idiom based writing isn't really the problem. I've never had an American complain because I've written English phrases, but I had hundreds of emails from irate Americans 'correcting' my spelling until I started using an American spellchecker.
        I don't agree with this so much, as least as far as Aussie slang goes. Often, the British understand it (as much of it is derivative) where Americans may have no idea what we are talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author kawaii
      Originally Posted by RogueOne View Post

      I think you should write what you speak. The differences are so small, unless you use a lot of slang.
      Yep, most international readers don't even notice the differences.
      You are over-complicating a nonexistent simple problem.
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      • Profile picture of the author datingworld
        Originally Posted by kawaii View Post

        Yep, most international readers don't even notice the differences.
        You are over-complicating a nonexistent simple problem.
        This is not about complicating a simple problem.
        This is about to learn what other think on it and If you read the whole thread, you will see what others are saying on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author butters
    If your target market are Americans, then write it for American readers. It all comes down to what your target market is but there is only one way to know for sure, test it
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  • Profile picture of the author Cyber Star
    I don't see a big different, people can still understand your content and you will not be judged based on what language style are you from. Except maybe your niche is related with tea, you should definitely use British English:p
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    I don't think it matters personally. If you're clearly from the UK, Australia, America then you speak in that way, and people from other countries can generally understand you easily enough.

    However, if there are slang terms you use, make sure your target market understands these or you're not going to get your message across.
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyTorrents
    I also don't think it matters that much. I write articles in American English and no one has complained yet.
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Originally Posted by timbonitus View Post

      I also don't think it matters that much. I write articles in American English and no one has complained yet.
      Exactly!

      But try writing in British English and then see if you can say the same thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
    A few years back, I decided to switch from American English to British English on my websites. Why? Because I'm British.

    Cue the deluge of emails pointing out my spelling mistakes!

    I now speak American English once again and it highlights the point about thinking like your target audience.

    Cheers,

    Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
    The problem for a business online is that using spelling that is seen as wrong by your visitor creates a perception of sloppiness and amateurishness (is that a word?) which can have a negative impact on sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      ...complaints from visitors you know or just cranks who pretty much bitch about anything they don't understand?
      One person's crank is another person's customer. Especially
      if their lack of understanding leads to 'em buying an edikayshun!

      John
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      For those of you who said you'd gotten complaints...are you talking about a lot of complaints from visitors you know or just cranks who pretty much bitch about anything they don't understand?
      For myself I am talking specifically about emails. I write my newsletter in US English as far as I am able, even though the Queen's version is far more natural to me!
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        For myself I am talking specifically about emails. I write my newsletter in US English as far as I am able, even though the Queen's version is far more natural to me!
        She speaks very highly of yours, also.
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        • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          She speaks very highly of yours, also.
          Such a nice woman.
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          • Profile picture of the author Paul Guilfoyle
            Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

            Such a nice woman.
            And now also the most memorable Bond girl
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    • Profile picture of the author kawaii
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      On a personal level, it doesn't make a difference to me as a visitor to a given site. I think that most non-native speakers of English outside the US generally tend to learn British English anyways, so it's to be expected.

      For those of you who said you'd gotten complaints...are you talking about a lot of complaints from visitors you know or just cranks who pretty much bitch about anything they don't understand?
      I fully disagree.
      The US media have such a huge impact on the rest of the world that
      even though they learn British English in school, most non native
      speakers feel that American English is more natural.
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  • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
    Originally Posted by jacksarloks View Post

    I think you should not care about this unless you're targeting a specific country, after all your visitors come from different countries.
    It is true that the Internet is international, but it is also true that the majority of your visitors who are likely to spend money will be American. Economic sense dictates that you should put as few barriers between your product and your buyers as possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
    Originally Posted by fpdeziner View Post

    in online world you can't please everyone. just be yourself.
    And die broke.
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  • Profile picture of the author infoway
    It all depends upon your target audience. If you are targeting to US then you should focus and use American English, whereas a targeting to U.K. people, go for British English.
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    • Profile picture of the author datingworld
      Originally Posted by infoway View Post

      It all depends upon your target audience. If you are targeting to US then you should focus and use American English, whereas a targeting to U.K. people, go for British English.
      The thing is that our targeted audience is international, not specifically from one country... though I do prefer British English
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      • Profile picture of the author Thomas
        Originally Posted by kawaii View Post

        I fully disagree.
        The US media have such a huge impact on the rest of the world that
        even though they learn British English in school, most non native
        speakers feel that American English is more natural.
        I think you're overestimating the impact of US media; if someone learns "British English", then watching US television shows or reading US newspapers isn't going to make them suddenly see the dialect they speak/use as being 'less natural' and, by implication, worthy of abandonment.

        Here in Ireland, the dialect of English in use is called Hiberno-English. It's more-or-less the same as British English, but with grammar and syntax that has been heavily influenced and modified by the Irish language. I grew up speaking it. My better half didn't; she grew up speaking Irish, and only learnt English (Hiberno-English, that is) when she went to school. By now, she has watched more American tv shows than she can count, but the only thing she "feels" about them is wonderment that, after all this time, the Yanks still haven't learnt (yes, that is a word!) to spell simple worlds like "colour" correctly.
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  • 101 Marketing: do not disrupt your prospect's perception of what's "standard and generally accepted practice". So, if the majority of your prospects come from the US, then write/speak in US English.
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  • Profile picture of the author Melodican
    The English invented the language, hence, it should be communicated, shared and written in ENGLISH - As far as I'm concerned the Americans have added nothing constructive to the language... They've taken afew letters out, they've changed the meaning of certain words, but it is no way 'better'.... If it ain't broken, don't fix it !

    BTW - For the record, I love America and Americans.... But you have butchered our language
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  • Profile picture of the author sarahAttkinson
    Banned
    As long as you use a literary and accurate form of English language, I do not think it will matter too much, unless your target audience is from a particular country. After all, a lot of people use English in different parts of the world and differences can be hundreds. But who is counting them? The idea is to send a clear, direct, understandable message.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I think in reverence to Al Gore, the actual inventor of the Internet, it's only proper to use his native language, American English. :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
    It's not just spelling.

    But also vocabulary:
    He majored in psychology
    vs
    He read psychology

    or, Turnover in the US business means something very different from in England.


    And grammar... American English treats (for example) collective nouns differently from British/International English.

    e.g.
    IBM is going to develop a new computer
    vs
    IBM are going to develop a new computer
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