American English vs British English…

Which version of English to use on our website? I think American English. Cue gasps of horror from my fellow British  ex-pats, and mutterings of treachery to the mother tongue. But hold on. Who are we writing for? Ourselves, our old English teacher? No, we are writing for the users of the website who, predominantly, will probably have American English as their first or second language. Furthermore, what language are they searching in? They are not using the Queen’s English to search in Google, that’s for sure, if they have American English as their language.

Jakob Nielsen has an article discussing this, where his conclusion is that as many of our students are Asian or American, then using American English is probably the best bet. I discussed this with him at the seminar he refers to, which was extremely useful – I’ll blog more about it later.

English-Swedish Dictionary of University Words and Terms

HSV launched a new English-Swedish dictionary on their website

This is really great, it’s good to have this sort of readily available reference source. But I wonder what they have referenced for this? For example, it’s not that common to see a Master’s Degree in the UK referred to as a ‘Degree of Master in’. That sounds like a literal translation rather than a colloquial (or common) one.

I notice the dictionary uses the word admission (which I confess to using myself) but, when you take a look at Google Trends, it would seem that a lot of people are searching for ‘Application’. When we had Gerry McGovern at the university he commented that ‘admission’ is quite a negative word, with connotations of ivory towers and superiority; whereas ‘application’ is more welcoming and more of a call to action.

Here’s the graph from Google Trends, click on it to see the real version as it looks a bit crappy here. I particularly like the seasonal trend in volume this graph shows.

What is cool is that they say the dictionary will be updated continually, and give the opportunity to leave comments.