Technical terms in British vs. American English

72 posts in this topic

Posted

Hey guys,

 

I am writing an assignment on algorithms and how the representation can make an algorithm seem more ambiguous than it actually is.

 

One of the arguments I am trying to use is the difference in languages and their translations, and I was trying to find any technical terms that differ between the (written) British and American English.

 

Most of you worked on both sides of the pond, anyone got any examples they would like to share? (I will be building an argument around your example after finding an academically approved source to prove the validity of the given example not using it "as is" in my assignment)

 

Thanks

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Posted

we say Router, they say Rooter

 

Sorry - I've really got nothing :(

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Posted

I think you'll need to do a lot of selective googling, wassimk . . .

You haven't mentioned whether you're concentrating on a particular technical field, but the following sources came up when I searched for a while:

 

The aerospace industry

 

 

 

The international language of the aerospace industry is English, and English is the language most used for writing technical documentation. However, it is often not the native language of the readers of such documentation. Many readers have a knowledge of English that is limited, and are easily confused by complex sentence structures and by the number of meanings and synonyms which English words can have.

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AECMA Simplified English was developed to help the users of English-language documentation in the aerospace sector understand what they read, particularly in multinational programs. Since the first publication of the AECMA Simplified English Guide, other non-aerospace industries have adopted the principles of AECMA Simplified English for their own documentation.

AECMA Simplified English is now the Specification ASD Simplified Technical English. It is not only for those who do not have English as their native language, but also for those who do.

 

Far removed from the above, you might find this table of comparative terms for the humble automobile much-loved MG car interesting.

 

As for financial English, check this out

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Posted

Well there are differences in spelling/pronunciation for some things such as:

 

aluminium (BE) or aluminum (AE)

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Posted

Sorry, Sin..( you should know this with your name and extraordinary sexual exploits..that Syrian woman, for example ) ) but..erm.. isn´t it Sodom? As in Sodom and Gomorra? :)

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Posted

 

I think you'll need to do a lot of selective googling, wassimk . . .

You haven't mentioned whether you're concentrating on a particular technical field, but the following sources came up when I searched for a while:

 

The aerospace industry

 

 

Far removed from the above, you might find this table of comparative terms for the humble automobile much-loved MG car interesting.

 

As for financial English, check this out

 

Thanks for the links, very useful and helpful, I will use the one from the MG Experience as a last resort.

 

The technical field here is IT/Computer Science (Database, programming languages, pseudo-code...) , we're at the chapter of Algorithms, and one question among others is to

 

 

Explain the distinction between an ambiguity in a proposed algorithm and an ambiguity in the representation of an algorithm.

, so I thought to mention several examples, language being one of them, and to say not to take the fact that the author is a native speaker as an assurance that all English speakers would understand what he/she is writing about/describing, since terms will differ (sometimes greatly) between British and Americans.

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Posted

Not all that technical, but here are some that come to mind:

 

Petrol vs Gasoline (or just Gas)

interest rates or financial returns with the abbreviation 'p.a.' - or per annum... used by all the Brits I know, but it wasn't common in Canada

'the donkey's nodding' - which was Brit for 'the oil pump is producing'

car boot vs Trunk

 

I think someone above got one list, here is another:

http://www.mgb-stuff.org.uk/termstext.htm

 

financial terms (although with the limited differences, I think most would understand either 'Brit' or 'American')

http://www.englishclub.com/business-english/vocabulary_ft-ukus.htm

 

Try a Google search for 'British financial terms' or 'British technical terms'. Or whatever you are looking for.

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Posted

programme vs program

disc vs disk

tomahato vs tomayto

 

One of the best examples of ambiguity (in measurements rather than language though) has to be the Mars Climate Orbiter debacle... :)

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Posted

It may not fall into your scope but the most obvious difference (was?) measurement units. Here's an absolute classic of mixing metric with US measurements in the space program(me), which led to mission failure.

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Posted

 

we say Router, they say Rooter

 

Sorry - I've really got nothing

 

Year I always found that odd when American's pronounced Router as "Rauter" until I realized that they actually pronounce "route" as in "What is the best route between a and b" as "raut".

 

Now it makes sense. Sure, different pronunciation, but consistent... until I thought of "Route 66" which at least in all versions of the song was pronounced the British way "root". Maybe someone can confirm if route in the US is always "raut" unless it's the highway then it's "root"... which suggests to me the original pronunciation was always the British way but sometime since WWII it changed to "rout"

 

What I found rather inconsistent is how it is spoken in Australia. People there say the British term "root" for road directions and every other use of the word, except in computer terminology where it is pronounced "raut". I found non-techies in Australia didn't understand the purpose of a Router in their home until it was pronounced the British way. Then it's a sudden realization it must be used to "route/root" internet traffic in some way...

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Posted

Also in weights, 'Gimli Glider' was a new aircraft that wanted the fuel in KG but they loaded in in lbs, so it had only half the fuel. All the engines stopped mid flight and it had to make a glide landing at a small airport in N. Canada.

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Posted

 

It may not fall into your scope but the most obvious difference (was?) measurement units.

Especially gallons since a UK gallon is more than a US one.

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Posted

When I think about it, I say "root 66", but the rest of the time I pronounce it raut.

 

Imperial measures are different from metric and from American measures, and certainly saying things like how many "stone" someone weighs, or they are staying there for a "fortnight" can confuse some of us.

 

Tools may have different names too, like a "spanner".

 

How do you say "aunt"?

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Posted

For me aunt = ant and route = root except when I say router. But I am neither American nor British so just ignore me.

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Posted

Love a Canadian accent.

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Posted

You should hear me say "about". To die for.

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Posted

One of my German superiors and I were having an argument over how "quote" is to be pronounced... I would pronounce it as "kowt" with a silent w between k and w , he would insist on pronouning it "kWWoWt" , which , even though it makes sense, but I have never heard anyone pronounce it that way before... is it yet another American/Brit thing as well? or just me? :ph34r:

 

@Moondancer, I tend to pronounce it as "Ant" but one can hear the difference when I say "Aunt" and "Ant" in the same sentence...

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Posted

and while were on the topic, maths has an s

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