British vs American English
> The can of worms is, of course, the differences between British andAmerican
> English.Dear Todd,
Your last message sounded very wounded. I'm concerned that I may
inadvertently have said something that you interpreted as an attack on
Americans/American English. I certainly had no intention of attacking or
offending anyone. I don't mean to imply that Britain is superior owing to
the fact that it has village greens(!); nor do I blame Americans (but rather
"officialdom") for this expansive use of the word monument. So, no offence
intended! I'm certainly not one to proclaim the superiority of British over
any other form of English: I use it, and it's the form that looks most
natural to me, but that's simply because I was brought up there, not because
it's innately superior.
As far as the differences between American and British English are
concerned; I, too, enjoy them. I like the fact that when an American reads
"Mr Jones puffed out his chest and stuck his thumbs into his braces" it
sounds like he's picking his teeth, not stretching his suspenders.
Or when a British reader sees
"Since this was a very formal occasion, John decided to wear a vest over his
the comical image of a man wearing an undershirt outside his shirt comes to
My own view is that the nationality of the end user ought usually to be
taken into account. My partner (who has dual American/British nationality
but was educated in Britain) works for a translation company run by an
American. The company's policy is to translate everything into American
English, but to translate a report on a certain Czech football club using
the word "soccer", when the report is destined for the club's British
backers, is in my view somewhat ridiculous. I don't have anything against
the word itself, but in Britain "football" is the most commonly heard term.
For a US readership, of course, soccer is the correct word to use, since
football there refers to what British people call "American football".
Where the translation is destined to be read by people of various
nationalities, (eg the translation of a website, to take just one example) I
see no reason why the translator shouldn't use whatever form of English
comes most naturally: as you say,
> Let each one use the common language as he or she knows how!No offence taken.
> This perturbs me about conducting this conversation by mail - I don't want
> to offend you or anybody, or push anyone else's ire buttons.
> Just this: no to language hegemony.I agree.
How do the others on this list feel about this discussion? I'm concerned
that it might be felt that Czechlist is the place for Cz <> En translation
problems, not En<>En ones! If that's what you think, please say so!